A new year—and a new decade!—is nearly upon us.
Synonymous with a new year is the resolve to lead happier and healthier lives. So we make our resolution lists: more gym, more cooking from home, less screen time, more books, more family and friends.
If you’re looking to build habits in the new year that the earth will thank you for, I hope these 6 ideas for sustainable New Year’s resolutions will inspire you with your own list!
1. Make recycling a regular part of your routine.
Recycling is one of the biggest ways we can live sustainably in the new year.
If your community offers curbside recycling, find a list of acceptable materials. Print this and put it on your fridge or in another noticeable location.
If you don’t have access to curbside recycling, find a local drop-off location and learn which materials they accept. Get a trash bin or other designated container specifically for your recyclable materials to easily store these recyclables until you are able to bring these to the drop-off location.
Building eco-friendly habits involves creating an environment that makes the decision-making process as easy as pie. By having lists and containers ready, you are more likely to commit to recycling on a daily basis.
- A Guide to the Real Rules of Recycling
- The Life Cycle of Trash
- 11 Ideas for Replacing Single Use Items with Reusable Items
2. Replace your single-use items with reusable items.
Did you know that Americans along produce 250 billion TONS of trash each year?
As individuals, we contribute 4.43 lbs of trash to that total every day.
But so much of what we toss in the trash bin every day—to go cups, plastic bags and utensils, paper towels, straws, plastic water bottles—can be replaced with reusable items.
This year, let’s all commit to reducing our daily trash output by avoiding single-use items whenever possible.
You can get started with these 11 ideas for replacing single use items with reusable items.
3. Donate your excess food.
Planning a spring or summer garden? Dedicate part of your garden’s bounty to a local organization that collects extra produce to feed those who are in need.
If you are in the Middle Tennessee area, check out this blog post which lists organizations that will collect produce donations.
4. Find a new creative hobby.
Studies show that tapping into your creative side can benefit your brain. In one particular study, Participants who engaged in artistic activities were shown to be less likely to develop cognitive issues.
The new year is the perfect time to find a new creative hobby. Not only does the overarching attitude of a new year invite you to try new things, but the colder weather is generally conducive to staying inside—an ideal atmosphere for discovering a new creative activity.
Some ideas include painting, quilting, drawing, playing music, pottery, and knitting.
Not sure where to begin? I recommend finding a class in your area, as it’s an excellent way to learn a new skill AND meet new like-minded folks. I’m a part of an art group that meets every week; I love being able to create and support the other group members!
5. Commit to locally-grown and produced grocery items.
Supporting local farms not only helps your community’s economy, but it also makes you healthier! For one of your New Year’s resolutions, consider committing to locally-grown and produced grocery items.
We recommend making friends with farmers in your local community! So how do you meet them? Attending your local Farmers’ Market is a great starting place. Most farmers will come with business cards or other contact info that you can keep on hand for future orders.
While we generally associate the Farmer’s Market with summer months, some cities and communities still hold winter markets.
If you are local to Middle Tennessee, the Nashville Farmers’ Market offers a winter market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, providing a great place to get your locally-grown meats, eggs, and produce.
We get our meat from our friends at Taylor Family Farm. In addition to meat, you can find fresh honey, eggs, bread, and dairy from their farm store. Stoney Creek Farm is one of the pickup points you can choose when placing your order.
- How Local Honey Can Benefit You
- Why Locally-Farmed Eggs Are Healthier for You Than Store-Bought Eggs
- Why Pasture-Raised Meat is Better for You
6. Add disease-fighting foods to your diet to prevent chronic disease.
When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, 71% of us set goals revolving around getting healthier in some capacity—whether that’s eating better, exercising more, or losing weight.
Let’s make “prevent chronic disease” a part of that list by adding more antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods to our diets like berries, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
And for us? Our New Year’s resolutions are pretty simple this year:
- Serve others more
- Stay healthy
- Increase our cardio exercise
- Take time just for us
- Practice gratitude
- Keep the faith
- Share with others
We wish you all a blessed, sustainable, and happy new year!