Reset Your Resolutions For A Greener New Year

Who can resist making at least a few New Year’s resolutions? Like buying school supplies in September, it’s exciting to feel like you’re getting a fresh start. This year, add a twist to your resolutions by making changes that lead to a healthier home, a healthier you and a healthier planet.  

Start with your cleaning routines and products. You’ve seen the warning labels on conventional cleaning products: Flammable! Toxic! Do not ingest! Yikes. It’s easy to see how 90% of poisonings happen in the home. And the majority of those happen in kitchens and bathrooms. If cleaning products are this dangerous to our bodies, they can’t be good for the planet, right?

This winter, think about how you can swap toxic cleaning products for those with more planet-friendly ingredients. Or make your own. The power of baking soda, lemon juice and white vinegar in cleaning is pretty impressive. Reconsider your routines, too. Simple changes like using washable rags instead of paper towels can also have a real impact. 

Next, think about how, where and what you eat. Believe it or not, meal planning and cooking at home has a positive environmental impact. The production and transportation of processed convenience foods generates an enormous amount of wasted oil, energy, water and trees. Shopping local, planning meals to reduce food waste and cooking in batches to reduce trips to the store are all ways to eat healthier while also reducing harm to the planet. If you’re intimidated about making changes, apps like Real Plans can help you get started. 

Another super simple resolution? Hang your clothes out to dry, even if you only do it a few times a week. According to Project Laundry List, clothes dryers use a whopping 15-20% of domestic energy in the US. Put up a clothesline to save energy and also get that “fresh linen” smell so many candle companies try to recreate. 

Finally, donating things you’re not using interrupts the environmental impact of consumerism. It’s literally recycling, even though we don’t always think of it that way. The environmental impact of the fashion industry is significant, emitting more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Giving away your unused clothing and home items makes for a more peaceful home environment, gives your items new life and helps the planet at the same time.

Not sure where to donate? Here are some resources for donation centers in the Great Lakes and Grand Canyon regions.