Welcome to 2020! It’s a new decade and the perfect time to make some meaningful resolutions that you’ll want to keep well beyond this year. Here at GlamCorner, we’re passionate about sustainability and reducing our impact on the planet, so we’ve compiled a list of 20 environmentally-friendly New Year’s resolution ideas that you might like to try!
1. Eat more plant-based meals
Research suggests1 that greenhouse emissions from the production of meat and dairy produce are set to surpass those of the oil industry within the next few decades. By increasing the amount of plant-based food you eat, you’ll be contributing to the reduction of these emissions, and you could improve your physical health as well.
2. Start composting your food scraps
Every year in Australia, around five million tonnes of food ends up in landfill2, where it decomposes and generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide for trapping heat in the atmosphere. Composting is an anaerobic process that, when done properly, doesn’t produce any methane. As an environmentally-friendly way of getting rid of food scraps, you could create a worm farm or try Bokashi composting which pickles food waste in an airtight container.
3. Eat seasonally and shop local
The further away a product originates, the larger its transport-related carbon footprint. By choosing to eat only in-season fresh fruit and vegetables in 2020, you can buy produce that is grown at home, and at the same time, you’ll be supporting local suppliers and businesses.
4. Find an alternative to cling film
As single-use as it gets, cling film is virtually indestructible and takes decades to decompose fully. Thankfully, there are plenty of reusable or compostable alternatives you can try this year, including stretchy silicone bowl lids, silicone sandwich pouches, beeswax-infused cotton wraps, and good old-fashioned waxed paper bags.
5. Plant a fruit tree
Fruit trees are fantastic for the environment on three fronts. They lock up carbon as they grow, they provide flowers for pollinating insects to feed upon, and they grow food that requires no transportation or packaging to get onto your plate. If you’re short on space, you can always grow a small one in a pot on the patio.
6. Get an organisation to plant a tree for you
If you don’t have a green thumb, or any space to grow a tree at your place, you can opt to do it through any number of charitable organisations that will plant one on your behalf - either here in Australia or deforested wild animal habitats around the world.
7. Don’t throw away your old clothes
Like food, clothing releases harmful gasses (as well as dyes and chemicals) when left to decompose in landfill. With the devastating bushfires currently happening in Australia, now is the best time to support organisations like our partner Moving The Needle with your preloved clothing.
Our Partners are committed to making a difference, changing the conversation on what we do with our textiles at the end of their life with us. This is just the first step in our journey, and together with your help we can build the future of the fashion industry.
8. Stop buying “fast fashion”
The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest polluters3. Buying cheap items that only last one season (or less!) helps to fuel the enormous amount of fashion waste that is generated each year.
Consider purchasing only timeless, good-quality pieces that will mix and match with your existing wardrobe, and buy second-hand rather than new if you can. If you need something for a one-off event, you can borrow or hire it.
9. Ditch the single-use beauty products
Make your daily beauty regime more environmentally-friendly by replacing throwaway items with reusable ones. Consider a stainless steel safety razor or a bamboo toothbrush over their plastic counterparts, or replace your single-use cotton wipes with washable organic cotton facial rounds.
10. Use environmentally-friendly biodegradable laundry products
Some of the chemicals in laundry detergent are toxic to aquatic life, can persist in the environment and even break down into other toxic compounds. Using a biodegradable washing powder or liquid means that your greywater is less likely to negatively impact your local waterways.
11. Wash your darker clothes in cold water
Washing your darker clothes will not only consume less energy but keep your clothes from fading. Colder washes will use around 75% less energy than a warm one, which is better for the environment as the majority of Australia's electricity is unfortunately generated from non-renewable resources like coal and gas4.
However, for your whites and lights, washing it at a lower temperature can cause grey looking clothes unless used with a detergent specifically formulated for cold temperatures. Therefore, it's not necessarily more environmentally-friendly to be washing everything in warm water, as your clothes may appear dirty but in actuality, it's just grey!
12. Reduce micro-waste in your laundry
Did you know that when you wash synthetic fabrics, they shed tiny plastic micro-fibres that make their way into lakes and rivers and eventually into our food chain? You can reduce this by choosing clothing made of natural fibres or washing your synthetics in a specially-designed micro-fibre filtering laundry bag.
13. Replace your lightbulbs with LEDs
While we’re on the subject of electricity, you can further reduce your household power consumption by swapping your incandescent and halogen lightbulbs to LEDs, which use around 75% less electricity and last much longer.
14. Go paperless
There are loads of ways to reduce the amount of paper you consume and discard. You can sign up to receive all your bills and catalogues by email and swap your magazine and newspaper subscriptions for digital versions that you can read on your desktop or mobile device. If you regularly borrow books from your local library, check if they have an online service for e-books – most Australian libraries offer digital options through apps like BorrowBox, Libby, or OverDrive.
15. Check the label before you buy
Many industries have an official set of environmental standards that they adhere to, and they will display a logo on their packaging to confirm they are operating sustainably. If you’re buying seafood, look for the ASC or MSC logo, or you can download the GoodFish app. For paper products, look for the FSC or PEFC logo. Products displaying the RSPO certification are using responsibly-managed Palm Oil supplies. While the Smart Approved WaterMark shows when a product is water-efficient. A full list of eco-labels for Australia can be found here.
16. Choose organic furniture
If you’re buying a new piece of furniture for your home this year, you might want to look at an organic option. Organic furniture isn’t coated in paints or varnishes that contain volatile organic compounds that can “off-gas” into the air we breathe. Organic furniture doesn't contain highly-flammable foam made with petrochemicals. It uses non-toxic organic latex.
17. Swap your 2020 holiday for a staycation
Try a staycation holiday instead of hopping on a plane for this year. Become a tourist in your own town and visit local attractions and eateries that you can get to by public transport or on foot. Or just set up a deck chair and a paddling pool on your back lawn and relax with a borrowed e-book from the library! It’ll be kinder to your wallet as well as the planet.
Here is a list of some fun staycation ideas to you could try:
- Go for a spa day - decompress physically and emotionally from your everyday life.
- Tour a local winery - a great way to support local businesses and a learning experience on wine-making processes.
- Go hiking - get some fresh air and best of all; it's free!
- Go camping - there's nothing like driving out away from the city and light pollution to get the full star viewing experience.
- Take a day cruise - unwind and relax on a cruise and fit in as many activities as you can!
18. Invest sustainably
If you have an investment portfolio (or are thinking about creating one), choose companies that combat climate change and environmental destruction, or those who promote responsible corporate behaviour. Many investment services have managed funds that are specially constructed for sustainable or socially-responsible investing.
19. Talk to businesses about their packaging
Have you ever purchased something and boggled at the amount of plastic packaging it came in? Take a moment to email or phone the manufacturer and raise the issue with them. The chances are that if it’s bothering you, it’s bothering other people too. Enough complaints might encourage a company to adopt more sustainable packaging practices.
20. Share your environmentally-friendly ideas on social media
Spread the good word! Found an environmentally-friendly option that you love? Commit to letting everyone know so they can get on it too!
Environmentally-friendly new year goals to follow