As the New Year approaches, lots of us are reflecting on what we’ve achieved this year, as well as thinking about ways to improve our lives and the world around us in the year to come. For some of us, this might involve setting sustainable New Year’s resolutions for 2023 — and you wouldn’t be alone. In 2022, 21% of Britshad the resolution to be more environmentally-friendly, with that number expected to grow next year.
Want to join them and looking for some inspiration? Here’s our top sustainable New Year’s resolutions for the year to come.
1. Swap Single-Use for Reusables
Single-use plastics, such as shopping bags, water bottles, straws and food containers, contribute to plastic pollution and waste. By using reusable alternatives to otherwise single-use items, you can reduce the amount of waste you generate and help to protect the environment. This might mean beeswax food wrapsinstead of cling-film, bamboo cutleryinstead of plastic utensils, and reusable produce bagsinstead of plastic fruit and veg bags. If you can name a single-use item, there's almost always going to be a more sustainable alternative.
With 57% of consumersagreeing that they would pay more for environmentally friendly products, there seems to be a willingness to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle — even if it is a bit more of an initial investment.
2. Reduce Water Usage
The average household in the UK uses around 330 litres of water a day. As well as the obvious water from our taps, showers and toilets, there is also a “hidden” water in the products that we purchase— it takes 713 gallons of water to grow the cotton needed to produce just one cotton t-shirt, 2,000 gallons of water to create a single pair of blue jeans, about 37 gallons of water to grow and process the number of beans needed for a single cup of coffee, and more than 3,400 gallons of water to manufacture a smartphone. And the list goes on.
Take it upon yourself to reduce your water usage as part of your New Year’s resolution. Start by fixing leaks, turning the tap off between uses, and taking shorter showers, and then consider investing in a water-saving device for your toilet cistern, fitting a more efficient shower head, or collecting rainwater off your roof (you can use this to water your garden, clean the exterior of your home or flush your toilet). You'll also cut down on that "hidden" water usage when you switch from single-use to reusables.
3. Drive Less
The majority of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions – a huge 27% – come from transport. Reduce your carbon footprint by driving less, and walking, cycling or using public transportation more. Alternatively, you can carpool with friends or colleagues to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
If you have to drive, electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and fuel-cell vehicles are the best for the environment. These are the most fuel-efficient, with lower greenhouse gas emissions than their counterparts.
Meatless Farmreports that if every household ate just one more plant-based meal per week, this would help cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million tonnes. That’s the same as taking 16 million cars off the road, or a reduction of up to 8.4% in the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. This is huge, and it’s a simple change to make — there are heaps of plant-based alternatives available in supermarkets, and even more recipes online, to help you “vegan” your favourite dishes, as well as discover new ones.
If it isn’t possible for you to plant your own garden, support local agriculture by purchasing produce from a farmers market, which helps to support your community and reduce transportation emissions.
6. Buy Second-Hand
When you buy second hand, you're giving new life to gently used items that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Check vintage and charity shops in your area, or online marketplaces like eBay and Depop, before you buy new.
This tends to be more affordable — second hand clothes, furniture and appliances are often significantly cheaper than their brand new counterparts — and helps combat some of the negative impact that the fashion and home industry has on the environment. You’re also more likely to find unique and one-of-a-kind items than if you’re shopping brand new.
7. Use Natural Cleaning Products
Almost all traditional cleaning products are made from single-use plastic, which contributes to the non-recyclable waste that ends up in landfill. In addition, most single-use cleaning products contain chemicals that are bad for the environment and our health.
In 2023, set yourself the goal to use natural cleaning products. You can make your own all-purpose cleaner using vinegar, salt, lemon and sodium bicarbonate, or invest in planet-first cleaning refills.
With your money or your time, endeavour to donate to sustainable charities in 2023. Support organisations that work on environmental issues, like theMarine Conservation Society orSea Trust, or donate to environmental causes. If you’re one of the average4% of people who set to volunteer as part of their New Year’s resolution, this is the perfect way to do it.
Happy New Year! By focusing on environmentally-friendly goals, we can work towards a brighter future for ourselves and for the planet. We hope this article helps you to set and stick to some sustainable resolutions in 2023.
Got more sustainable resolutions that aren't featured here? Feel free to share yours below.
Wild & Stone'smission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our eco home & lifestyle products on our website.