I’ve never been very good at New Year’s Resolutions. Partly because I’m terrible at long term planning, but mostly because climbing the never-ending arbitrary mountain of “eat healthier” or “read more” or “be better” always seems so…. daunting. This year however, instead of picking vague self-improvement resolutions, I thought I would try looking for goals everyone can get behind.
SO, in the spirit of sharing, I offer the following …
Resolution #1: BYO!
Bring your own shopping bags, coffee cups, and containers anywhere you go. Cutting down on plastic bags, polystyrene cups, or non-reusable containers uses less resources, sends less waste to the landfill, results in less litter, and can even save money!
Resolution #2: Walk, Run, Bike, Carpool, Train, Trolley, or Bus
Depending on where you live, this resolution may be varying degrees of reasonable (or applicable). Here in Philadelphia, I have (almost) no excuse to take anything but a trolley, bus or train to get around the city. Yet often I find myself heading for the car because it’s “easier” or “faster.” This year, I vow to re-think my transportation and opt out of solo car-rides whenever possible. Check out your own local transportation; you may have more options than you realize.
Resolution #3: Fight Phantom Power
I am very guilty of leaving things plugged in all day, every day. Toasters, blenders, phone chargers. After attending a presentation on home energy usage a few months ago, I learned that even when not in use, these electronics and appliances are sucking power, sometimes up to 40 watts per device! Do an inventory of your outlets to see what you can unplug (or switch to a power strip) to cut back on your usage!
Resolution #4: Cut down on food waste
Whether it’s food scraps from our plate, mystery leftovers from the back of the fridge, or produce that didn’t wait for us to get to it, we can all do better to reduce the amount of food we’re wasting. Consider buying un-packaged produce to better control the amount, brush up on the proper way to freeze or preserve foods, and read up on the environmental cost of the food industry to better understand the impacts.
Resolution #5: Re-commit myself to recycling EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, EVERYDAY, NO EXCUSES
For many of us, recycling is second nature. It’s something most of us learned in school and do without thinking. But I’ll be honest … I often find myself getting lazy when faced with even the slightest recycling obstacle: there’s no recycling receptacle immediately available, I’m too afraid to open the old yogurt container to clean it out, or a handful of other various excuses. This year, I vow to recommit myself to recycling everything I can, whenever I can, wherever I can.