Making resolutions for the new year is a 4,000-year old tradition, so if you’re hoping to make 2014 the year you get healthier, fitter, or happier, you have about four millennia worth of company. To help you on your way, we’ll be posting 10 science-backed action steps for a popular resolution every day through January 10. Be sure to check back for hints and tips to kick off your best year yet!
Be more environmentally-friendly
Resolving to take better care of our environments isn’t just great for Mother Earth. It benefits us, too, by making the places we live, work, and play healthier and safer. Check out some tips below for simple, easy ways to be more eco-friendly.
1. Clean greener.
By making your own cleaning products, you’re saving a few bucks while doing your part to save the planet. These solutions get the job done minus the toxic chemicals that can leech into our waterways, which is healthy for you and the environment.
2. Treat the planet well while traveling it.
From the way we pack to our mode of transportation to where we stay, there are many ways to leave a smaller footprint when we travel. Many of them are as simple as turning down the thermostat, unplugging appliances, and suspending newspaper delivery while we’re away.
3. Carry a reusable water bottle.
Pick up a BPA-free bottle for your water and you won’t have to buy disposable bottles anymore. Bonus: One dollar from every purchase of this bottle provides clean drinking water for one person in need for an entire year.
4. Eat fewer animal products.
The environmental resources that go into animal agriculture are considerable — around 2,000 gallons of water go into raising a single pound of beef, for example. Ease into vegetarian dining slowly by starting with Meatless Mondays.
5. Ditch paper coffee cups.
Over 14 billion paper cups are used each year to serve coffee. Invest in an awesome travel mug that will keep your brew piping hot without adding to that massive paper cup pile. Bonus: Most coffee shops offer a few cents off your order for bringing your own mug.
6. Make your effort social.
Join others trying to make a difference for the planet by accepting a challenge on carbonrally.com. You can commit to turning off the lights every day for a week, eliminating drafts in your home, giving up meat for two days, and lots more. Compete, socialize, and rally others to join.
7. Let there be (more efficient) light.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs use between 60 and 80 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs. This is an easy, quick way to make each room in your house more energy efficient.
8. Learn to love towels.
Paper makes up one third of municipal landfill waste, so now is a great time to cut down on our paper towel use. Luckily, there are far greener ways to wipe and dry in the kitchen, like cloth towels made from recycled materials and/or organic cotton.
9. Bag plastic bags.
Start packing groceries and other items in reusable bags that can be easily to carried around for whenever you might need to grab groceries, pack a snack, or run errands.
10.Close the (fridge) door.
It turns out that knowing what you’re reaching for before you open the refrigerator door can help you can save a significant amount of energy. Poor “open/close habits” waste the same amount of energy that could run a dishwasher 20 times or a washing machine 50 times. Plus, when the fridge is running efficiently, it keeps food fresher, reducing opportunities for food waste.
Which tips above will become part of your routine in 2014? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us on Twitter.