Green resolutions you can keep
For many, the New Year means a new you! Often it means cutting your waist size, but at CalRecycle we’d like to help you reduce your waste size. Whether you’ve vowed to buy fewer bottles of water and carry a reusable container instead, eat locally to reduce your carbon footprint, or donate your gently used items instead of tossing them in the trash, we salute you. Here are some additional ideas and some tips to get started and stay motivated.
Reusable bags are trending right now, and for good reason! Even if you do forget your reusable, stores usually have them for purchase at the counter. Also, given that numerous cities have instituted local bag bans, many stores now require customers to pay for single-use plastic bags–those flimsy sacks cost 10 cents apiece. So, if environmental reasons aren’t enough, you can think about the money you’re saving while you’re building your plastic bag-free habit. If you have kids, make them responsible for reminding you. It will be a little lesson in environmental responsibility and take one more thing off your busy mind.
While we’re on the subject of food, you may know that 1 in 3 Americans suffer from food insecurity, and food waste makes up 18 percent of the landfill waste in California alone. These are two of several great reasons to reduce your food waste. This may be a tricky one, especially given U.S. portion sizes, but if one of your other resolutions is to lose weight you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. One of the best ways to prevent food waste and save money is to do a little meal prep. Creating a menu and following recipes can help minimize or even eliminate the amount of food thrown away (not to mention, focusing on your nutrition can help you get healthier.) How to make this resolution a habit? Do it with your family and/or friends. Exchange recipes and go shopping together–you can remind each other to bring your reusable bags, too.
You may have washed away 2015, but you may also be considering reducing your water consumption. Since California has been resembling the sun-scorched deserts of Jakku these past four years, you’re probably trying to figure out the best way to make the most of your H2O. Unfortunately, the Force can’t help with this—only good old-fashioned scrimping and saving will work. Make your daily routine like showering and getting ready in the morning competitive: Time yourself, your friends and/or family, and compare times to see who takes the speediest shower. It’s also a great way to save time and get out the door more quickly. And instead of having “me time” in the shower, you can use it to focus energy on your other resolutions, like reading more, picking up that old hobby, or practicing yoga.
With all that being said, remember it’s important to recognize a balance. You can’t save the whole planet in 365 days, but you can make a difference over time. If you accidentally forget your reusable bag or had a hard day that requires a relaxing (tiny bit longer) shower, that doesn’t mean you have to throw away your entire resolution. Missteps will occur here and there, but you can make a comeback. Good luck and happy New Year!