Sustainability for the New Year
A new year also means a new beginning and a list of resolutions to make! Kick off the new year by incorporating small habits to help improve air quality. To get started, here are some small, easy, and sustainable resolutions that you can include:
Carry around a tote bag or reusable grocery bag. Plastic bags are the second most prevalent form of litter found in landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), landfills receive 26.8 million tons of plastic. Generating plastic is also harmful to our atmosphere since it is made up of chemicals such as benzene and vinyl hydrochloride. Always keep reusable and foldable reusable grocery bags in your vehicle, bicycle, backpack or purse. That way, when you are running errands, you don’t have to remember to bring a tote bag with you.
Start cooking from scratch. This new year try to cook more at home and order less takeout to reduce the amount of fuel emissions typically used to deliver food. Reducing takeout also reduces the amount of plastic and Styrofoam containers used in packaging prepared foods. Get your groceries at your local farmers market instead of a chain store. Shopping locally also reduces the amount of harmful emissions that are released when trucks deliver food from place to place. Cooking from home also allows you to be more conscious of the ingredients that were used. Say goodbye to preservatives/add-ons and hello to fresh food!
Incorporate No Meat Mondays. Along with cooking at home, consider incorporating “No Meat Mondays” in your routine. According to the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, livestock farming contributes 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emission worldwide. This is more than the emissions coming from cars, ships and trucks. Need ideas for some delicious vegetarian recipes? Click here to find out how to create your next vegetarian meal.
Walk, bike or take public transportation. Transportation alone is responsible for over 55% of NOx total emissions, less than 10% of VOCs emissions and less than 10% of PM 2.5 emissions in the U.S, according to the EPA. Before you reach for your keys, consider taking other transportation methods such as walking, biking or public transit. Try Parking It is a program that rewards users who take alternative ways of commuting. You can get points to redeem at local restaurants, store discounts, free food and more!
Shop sustainably. Big fashion chain stores have a cheap price tag, but it comes at a price. The fast fashion industries produce 10% of carbon emissions. Air pollution is emitted into the atmosphere from factories that produce these clothes, and even more is released into the air due to transportation. Before going to the mall for new clothes, consider going to consignment shops or thrift stores to find an outfit.
By incorporating these small habits into your new year’s resolutions, you will be saving money, starting your health and wellness journey, and improving air quality along the way!