5 SUSTAINABILITY GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR
For many of us, it’s feeling like 2021 is just a continuation of 2020. Most places are in some sort of lockdown, and the state of the world is feeling pretty unsettling overall. I mentioned in my last post that I’m feeling hopeful for the new year, and that’s still true. And while I’m optimistic, I also understand that this means my goals and how I measure success and personal growth in the new year might look a little different than normal.
In the last few months, I’ve really taken notice of all the plastic and waste that we’ve accumulated because of the move and lockdown. The packaging of food and products in the UK involves A LOT of plastic, and it’s something that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. As I mentioned in my first thoughts about Scotland, recycling isn’t as much of a focus here as it was in Sweden (though there does seem to be an initiative to improve it), and waste in general is something that has been a little difficult for me to navigate lately.
So, with this in mind I thought it would be good to put together a post not only to inspire myself – but also you! – to be a bit more sustainable in the new year. “Sustainability” and “zero-waste” can be buzzwords that often feel daunting and a lot to take on. But making small changes doesn’t have to be scary! If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start, try picking one or two tips from this post and implementing them into your life. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about making changes that feel manageable and right for you and your lifestyle. A little bit can go a long way!
1. Start in your bathroom
Between makeup wipes, q-tips, shampoo bottles, and razors, a large amount of plastic and single use products we buy tend to accumulate in the bathroom. Looking to make your bathroom more sustainable? Start out small!
Take inventory of all the products you currently own, and be sure to use them up before replacing with a more sustainable option. When it’s time to re-buy, start with single use products – I find these the easiest to replace. Reusable makeup wipes, q-tips, and razor blades have been the easiest for me to replace. (A word of warning to start slow when using a safety razor 🪒 – they are VERY sharp, so make sure to be careful and maybe watch a YouTube tutorial before your first try. That being said, I love mine once I got the hang of it!)
2. Sort that recycling!
This will vary greatly depending on where you live, but make an effort to find out how and where items are recycled in your area. When we first moved to Scotland, I didn’t know where to toss my food waste, so I emailed the Edinburgh City Council, and got a prompt response letting me know the location of my closest recycling points and a promise to send over a small food waste caddy for us to use.
I know it can be easy toss things in any old trash bin, especially on the go, but make it a goal to sort things as best as possible!
3. Bring that takeaway coffee mug
This time of year especially, I have a desperate need for a piping hot oat milk latte in the mornings. If I’m out and about and need that caffeine hit, it’s easy to be caught unprepared and without my takeaway mug. Plan ahead, especially if this is part of your morning ritual. With all the cute and practical options these days, this can be an easy switch!
*Keep in mind this might not be feasible at the moment as some coffee shops won’t allow you to bring your own for sanitary reasons!
4. Shop local
A great way to reduce carbon emissions and support your local economy! Many local producers who rely on farmer’s markets, storefronts, in person interaction etc. are especially hurting during this time. Help your neighbours by buying from farmer’s markets and small online shops (bonus points if you bring reusable bags and containers to your local market!).
Though nonessential shops in the UK are closed at the moment, some are still able to deliver! Earlier this year we had a plant delivery by bike from our favourite plant shop, Grow Urban.
5. Research sustainable, ethical brands
Online shopping has gone through the roof in the last year, and this means that it’s become easier than ever to find brands that emphasise sustainability and ethical practices. Buying from sustainable brands is something that I personally am really trying to focus on in this upcoming year, and I’ve been doing so little by little. For me, this has meant when it’s time to buy something new (lately it’s been underwear, candles, and a yoga mat!), I take a little extra time to look for brands that align with my values rather than what’s quick and convenient on the high street. Good on you is an app that I’ve discovered in the last few months that will tell you about new ethical brands and also gives insight as to how your favourite shops measure up.
I hope these tips have given you some inspiration for simple, manageable ways to be more sustainable in the new year. If you’re interested in more ways to reduce waste, check out my post here.