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12 Actionable and Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s do a fresh start and take actions to save our earth. Here’s a list of sustainable New Year’s resolutions to lower your carbon footprint — sorted from easy to hard.

It’s getting close to that time of year when you should be looking for New Year's resolution ideas. And while health-related ideas are always important, in today’s climate change crisis, it’s time to consider sustainable New Year's resolutions. 

I would also be the first person to admit that I have broken more of these resolutions than I have kept in the past. And that’s why a few years ago, I started taking a different approach. 

Rather than make a pledge to myself to make one huge change in January, I made a list of small eco-friendly ideas that I could gradually implement each month. 

Eventually, these sustainable resolutions became normal habits, and they have made a massive impact on our carbon footprint. 

Let me show you how to do this. 

12 Sustainable New Year's Resolutions To Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Here are my 12 New Year's resolutions that you can plan for each month. What I would suggest doing is setting up a reminder for each one on the first of every month of next year and adding a link to this blog. 

That way, you’ll have a simple reminder to keep starting your next sustainable resolutions.

#1: Use Less Water — Difficulty: Easy

One of the easiest ways to create a more sustainable life is to reduce your water consumption

While this is a hugely important thing if you live in drought areas of California, Arizona, and many others, it’s also a good idea in places where there aren’t any water shortages. 

The reason for this is that there is a carbon and energy cost in purifying water and pumping it to your home. Every time you turn on a faucet, it costs a small amount of energy, and those small amounts add up to a lot. 

The first thing you should look at is how you do laundry. Make sure you have a modern energy and water-efficient machine, and then always fill it for every wash. And think twice before putting clothes in the wash that you might still be able to get another wear out of. 

The other area to make changes is in your bathroom. Set your toilette water tanks to fill to a lower level and reduce the flow rate on your shower. These are the two areas where small changes will make the biggest difference in your water usage, and you only need to make two small adjustments to keep delivering results. 

New Year's Resolutions to save water

#2: Minimize Vampire Power — Difficulty: Easy

I know this sounds like a crazy term, but vampire or phantom power use can make up a huge amount of your overall electricity consumption. 

So, once you get to the 1st of February, start taking inventory of everything that is plugged into a socket. TV, cable boxes, and chargers are some of the most common devices that use a tiny amount of energy even when they are turned off. 

As part of your New Year's resolutions, make it a habit to unplug these devices when they are not in use. 

And to make this process even easier, consider investing in sockets that have a switch on them to completely stop any electricity flowing. It won’t do any damage to your devices and can save you up to 20% off your energy bills. 

New Year's Resolutions to stop Phantom Energy loss

#3: Donate Your Old Stuff — Difficulty: Easy

One way to lower the amount of greenhouse gas emissions is to ensure that anything you’re no longer using doesn’t end up in the landfill. What you should be doing is donating any electronics, furniture, books, and especially clothes. 

Fast fashion is actually one of the biggest problems in modern life as people simply buy cheap clothes and then throw them out after a couple of months to replace them with new fast-fashion items. 

First of all, unless the clothing is no longer usable, bring it to a charity or second-hand store. And if you’ve been buying sustainable fashion, then the chances are high that it’s still perfectly wearable once you’re done with it. 

You’ll also find that most charity organizations will take in old and working electronics, even if they are a few years old. Not everyone can afford the latest smartphone or TV, and there are plenty of people who will be more than happy with a device that’s a few years old. 

New Year's Resolutions to donate

#4: Use Reusable Products — Difficulty: Easy

Here is the next one of the sustainable resolutions for April. Single-use items, from plastic packaging to coffee cups, are a huge drain on the environment and contribute to the climate crisis. 

So, rather than fill your recycling bin with plastic bottles, buy a reusable water bottle that will last for years. And replace those paper napkins with cloth napkins that you can wash and use hundreds or thousands of times. 

I would also recommend buying a reusable cup for your morning trip to a barista for your daily coffee. 

One of the big problems to work out as well as all the single-use plastic wrapping that your supermarket food comes in. What I have been doing for a few years now is bringing reusable containers to my local farmer’s market to ask them to simply put the produce in my containers. 

I’ve now seen dozens of people do the same thing by following my lead. 

It’s also one of the most important of the New Year's resolutions to get right, embrace reusable paper towels in your day-to-day life. 

New Year's Resolutions to use reusable products

#5: Recycle Your Old Electronics — Difficulty: Easy

We’re already into May, and now it’s time to check your home for old electronic devices that you could recycle. Especially those old and broken phones from 10 years ago or the VHS player that you never use. 

When electronic devices end up in landfill, it adds to plastic waste, and many harmful chemicals can seep into nature as well. 

Even products that list eco-friendly “plastic-free plastic” will likely contain many metals and harmful chemicals that could do damage. 

One of the huge benefits of recycling electronics is that it reduces the number of raw materials and metals that need to be mined, which makes a huge difference for our fragile planet and ecosystems. 

New Year's Resolutions to reycle electronics

#6: Eat Less Meat Or Go Vegan — Difficulty: Medium

I’m not saying that by June, you need to eliminate your meat consumption completely and become vegan. But as part of your New Year's resolutions, you should be looking at how your diet is impacting the environment. 

But if you significantly reduce how much meat you eat, your dieting habits will become a lot more eco-friendly. Everything from the feed for animals to the greenhouse gases they emit can have a huge impact on the environment when you compare it to locally grown and in-season fruit and vegetables. 

And when you do decide to have some meat or fish, make sure it comes from organic and sustainable farms and ideally source it as locally as possible. That means talking to your butcher and finding out what farms they buy from. 

You’ll probably find a lot of them work directly with small local farms. 

Check out this quick guide to some vegan ideas that are very tasty. 

New Year's Resolutions togo vegan

#7: Try Meat Alternatives — Difficulty: Medium

And since you have reduced your meat intake in June, why not continue in July by further replacing animal meat with meat alternatives? It’s one of the easiest ways to reduce the carbon emissions associated with your meal plans. 

And when you prepare these alternatives properly, then you’ll surprise even the most carnivorous of your friends and family. 

To make this one of your ongoing eco-friendly New Year's resolutions, start paying more attention to meat alternatives while grocery shopping. 

I have found that in the past year, there are more and more new brands and products available. And that gives you a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to planning your meals and keeping your family happy with what you’re preparing. 

New Year's Resolutions to eat meat alternatives

#8: Start Composting — Difficulty: Medium

Another major carbon footprint impact in all households is the amount of food waste that ends up in the trash. The problem is that food waste that ends up in a landfill will break down through processes that release a lot of methane. 

What you should aim to do in August is set up a composter for all your organic and non-animal food and garden waste. 

It’s one of the eco-friendly New Year's resolutions that will take a bit more planning. But there is a wide range of solutions for setting up a composter in your yard, on a patio area, and even indoors in your kitchen. 

You can buy fully sealed composters that won’t release any smells, and that means you can even compost your waste if you live in an apartment with no access to an outside area. 

New Year's Resolutions to start composting

#9: Start Your Own Garden — Difficulty: Medium

Next up on our eco-friendly New Year's resolutions is the August plan to get you started with a small vegetable patch. 

August is actually a great time to do this, as you can grow a few late-harvest vegetables and also have things fully set up for the next year’s growing plan. 

If you have a garden or small backyard, then I would recommend investing in a small greenhouse, as you’ll have a lot more flexibility on what to grow and how early and late in the year you can harvest food. 

But even if you only have a small patio area or just a windowsill in your kitchen, then you can still set up your own containers for growing fruit and veggies indoors. This can work very well for almost year-round food production. 

Check out this guide on winter gardening tips to see how easy it is to get set up. 

New Year's Resolutions to start gardening

#10: Use An Electric Vehicle For Commutes (Car or Bike) — Difficulty: Hard

Now we’re getting to a sustainable New Year's resolution that will require a lot of planning and money. 

If you live in an urban environment, then consider switching to an e-scooter for at least the warmer times of the year. Not only is it a lot more eco-friendly than driving a car or even using public transport, but it can get you from A to B in record time. 

No more getting stuck in traffic, as you can simply drive around cars that have come to a standstill. 

And if you need to drive longer daily distances than you can safely manage with a scooter, then it might be time to invest in an EV. 

When you choose the right electricity company to supply you with mostly renewable energy and plug in your car at home, then you can get around with practically zero emissions and save a huge amount of money at the same time. 

Check out this EV buying guide to see what you need to keep in mind when searching for a suitable vehicle. 

New Year's Resolutions to buy ev

#11: Avoid Food Waste Completely — Difficulty: Hard

In November, before Thanksgiving and in preparation for Christmas, it’s time to start thinking about your food waste. You should be composting at this stage, and that will give you an indication of how much food ends up in there. 

I’m not talking about banana skins and apple cores. But how much food goes bad or isn’t eaten during meals?

To reduce waste in this part of your life, I suggest taking a new approach to meal planning. Most of us are eating way more than we should. And if you simply make better plans for smaller meals and buy just enough ingredients, then you should end up with a lot less waste. 

What I now do is keep a few non-perishable snacks. So, if anyone is still hungry after a meal, there is something to bridge those hunger cravings.  

New Year's Resolutions to stop food waste

#12: Use Renewable Energy — Difficulty: Hard

And the final sustainable New Year's resolution for December is to start switching to renewable energy. 

First of all, shop around with utility providers and find out which ones provide the largest percentage of renewable energy. That won’t involve upfront costs, and you could even get a better electricity unit price deal. 

You could then consider investing in a small solar generator to see how effectively you can produce your own electricity. It won’t disconnect you from the grid, but it’s a great way to start your progress toward becoming greener. 

Also, it's great idea to take a step further and start investing in a proper solar panel system. You could make this a highlight of all your eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions. 

New Year's Resolutions to use renewable energy

Make A Monthly Sustainable New Year's Resolution 

Making sustainable New Year's resolutions and breaking them down into 12 different things you can gradually introduce will make your home significantly more eco-friendly. 

And if you’ve already taken care of some of the above, then why not come up with some new ones and share them in the comments below? 

If you get into the habit of constant changes and improvements, you’ll make every day earth day, and it will inspire others to do the same thing. 

You’ll also quickly figure out that having a lower impact on the environment will also save you a ton of money in the process of wasting less. 


Chris is one of GreenCitizen’s writers who has been a long-time advocate of individual responsibility when it comes to the environment. He shares GreenCitizen's passion for making the world a better place every day of the year.


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