Environment

How to promote a green planet in the new year

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Image: Quick Shot/Shutterstock

A new year is always a perfect excuse to get into some new habits. Even if you try to live green, you can always renew your efforts and potentially add some more ways to promote a green planet. By focusing on adding a new habit or two to your routine at the beginning of the year, you’ll build a more sustainable lifestyle for the rest of the year, and years to come.

Different numbers abound about just how many days it takes to officially build a habit: generally you’ll see everything from 21 days to 66 days at the moment. Whatever the case, when you’re cooped up inside for the winter, it’s a good excuse to spend the time building some healthy and productive habits. So below are several ways you can promote a green planet this new year, whether you need to renew those habits or add some practices you hadn’t thought of.

Sell or donate your stuff

A great habit to get into in the new year is to clean out what you don’t need or use. It’s a great way to clear out all the old psychological junk along with the physical junk. Think of it like a rebirth in the new year.

Donate your junk to charities or reuse stores. You can also try selling your stuff on eBay or Craigslist to make a little cash. Money is always a good motivator to get cleaning.

Plus, right off the bat in the new year, you’re learning to live happier with less. That will set a good mindset for the rest of the tips.

Think of what you can reduce in waste

The new year is always a great time to sit down and assess where you are in life in general. Or more specifically, just what can you reduce in waste. To get started, here are some questions you could ask yourself:

  • Are you completely failing to eat leftovers? Was 2016 the Year of the Thrown Out Old Pizza?
  • Could you be using more washable towels instead of blowing through a roll of paper towels in a week?
  • Are you on some junk mail lists you could get off of?
  • Do you not recycle everything you could?
  • Is buying used something you could do more often?
  • Could you learn to upcycle your old stuff instead of buying new?

Honestly assess your life with questions like these, get creative and set a goal to only have one garbage bag or less each week. Think of it like a game.

Calculate your carbon footprint

Along the same lines, it’ll be easier to reduce your waste and carbon footprint if you have a number to be going off of. There are tons of ways online to get scores on how green or sustainable you live. A couple of examples include the National Geographic Greendex score and The Nature Conservancy’s carbon footprint calculator.

Try to do with nothing—just for a little while

This exercise will really get you thinking about just how little you can live with and probably still be happy. For anywhere between an hour and a day, try to be completely resource free. Don’t use electronics or appliances, keep the lights off and don’t purchase anything. Just for a little while, don’t consume. Read a book, go on a walk, do some exercises that just use your own body weight or whatever doesn’t use resources.

Try to see if you can up how long you do this. It’s obviously not always an option, but it’s a way to see what you can really cut out of your life and help you slowly build to a less wasteful lifestyle and a green planet.

Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer living in Southeastern Wisconsin. You can find out more about her at https://www.clippings.me/michellelovrine.