“New year = new me.” That is the mantra many repeat to themselves when they transition from one year to another. Whether it’s committing to actually using that gym memberships we sign up for, promising to call our parents more, or even endeavouring to be less hostile when we get behind the wheel – we all use the new year as a refresh button. New year’s resolutions are often seen as an opportunity to improve yourself. You reflect on the life you’ve lived for 365 days to see what you can tweak in order to put your best foot forward for the coming 365 days. How about we take that a step further? Why not add a few eco-friendly resolutions to your 2019 list? Let’s try change ourselves AND our planet for the better this coming year. Are you up for the challenge?

LESS SINGLE-USE PLASTIC

Yup we’ve said it 100 times but we won’t stop until this unnecessary form of consumption is no longer a thing. Did you know that after cigarette butts, plastic bags are the most littered item in the world with almost 4 billion carry bags polluting beaches, rivers, lakes and forests every year? Did you know that a plastic bag has the lifespan of roughly 127 years?

We can reduce the amount of plastic that is weighing our planet down and damaging our water sources if we simply reduce our use of single-use plastic.

And guys, it’s so easy. All it takes is that little consciousness when you step out the door to go shopping. Take a shopping bag with you. And if you don’t? Try do without any bag (make your shop less or save the big shop for another day). Plastic bags is not only about the waste they produce but also about what it takes to make them on a daily basis – from the carbon footprint to the CO emissions. We’re going blue in the face with this messaging, but you wouldn’t believe how many good people still don’t make this a policy in life.

Buy glass water bottles that you can reuse because BPA isn’t leaking from the bottle into your water every time you fill up a plastic one.

Change the subscription of your favourite magazines from printed copy to online edition so you’re not unwrapping a plastic sleeve you discard almost immediately.

Cook from scratch so you don’t have to get a sandwich wrapped in clingfilm from the canteen downstairs.

You might not be able to give it all up right away but starting somewhere counts for something.

SHOP CRUELTY-FREE

If you have a pet at home, you’ll appreciate why cosmetic companies testing on animals is cruel. You shouldn’t have to subject bunnies to pain and suffering if you are confident the ingredients in your products aren’t harmful to humans, and there are many cosmetic companies who stand by their products. Hey Gorgeous, Juice Beauty, Lula Fox, Breathe Make Up Therapy, Inthusiasm and Benecos are all cruelty-free brands that we list on the site.

BUY LOCAL & SEASONAL

One of the simplest ways of reducing your carbon footprint is by supporting local businesses. When you consider the amount of petrol used transporting some of your exotic foods to you, it makes sense to get what you can from local producers. As well as what is in season that time of year. There is the added benefit that the less time spent getting your food from the farm to the table means you get to enjoy food with more nutrients. As well as your body being able to absorb the nutrients from different foods at different times of the year. A varied and exploratory diet will grow your body’s nutrient intake and overall strength.

Buying local also improves the local economy, as the chain of income remains in your community as opposed to going to a bigger food conglomerate.

Visit your nearest farmers market for fresh produce, or even make use of the grocer around the corner.

WALK, BIKE OR CARPOOL

The daily commute to and from work is a great source of frustration for many people. Carpooling is a great way to make friends and meet people. If you can’t find interested people at your place of work, there are apps like CarTrip that can help you find people who work in the same area that you can travel with.

The toxicity of petrol contributes to air pollution, acid rain amounts other illnesses that affect the human body. Less cars on the road means less petrol poisoning the earth.

GROW IT AT HOME

We all know how rewarding it is to work hard at something and see it come to fruition, so to speak. Gardening offers that feeling of accomplishment and pride. Whether you want to start out growing a few heads of lettuce, or trying your hand at cultivating herbs and spices, growing your own food ensures the freshness and quality of the food you are eating – and it was all by your own might.

And in creating this little haven of healthy soil and plants you are creating a patch on healthy soil somewhere on the planet. Take that corporations responsible for deforestation! Along with growing your own comes the ability to decompose your own organic waste, thereby lessening your waste footprint and starting to create your own agricultural system at home.