Can you believe 2023 is here? Where did the time go? I seriously feel like 2022 went by in the blink of an eye. In any case, I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions – specifically zero waste resolutions. How about you? Admittedly, I like to view resolutions more as goals you strive towards (and they don’t need to have a set date necessarily). Still, it’s nice to have a fresh start at the beginning of a new year. What are some sustainable goals you’d like to hit this year? I for one, would love to host a zero waste webinar/meetup/workshop. I’ve hosted a webinar and a workshop before and I’d love to do it again this year – even better if more than once! If you’d like to make 2023 a more sustainable year too, here’s 23 zero waste resolutions to inspire you. I’ve listed both individual actions and collective actions you can take – and yes, these are all resolutions I’m striving for myself in 2023! Will I complete them all? Who can say. But I hope they motivate you to take a more sustainable approach in the new year ahead.
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Zero Waste Resolutions for 2023
- Divest from fossil fuels and switch to banking with Ando. They invest 100% of customer deposits into green initiatives like renewable energy that fight climate change. Sign up and get $15 to start using this link – then refer your friends to earn more!
- Get better at sewing. Mending and repairing clothing helps keep them out of the landfill longer. Learn how to sew a button, darn a sock, do simple stitching to mend a tear, and sew on a fabric patch.
- Take whatever clothes I cannot mend to someone who can, like a tailor or a shoe maker. Zipper not functioning right? Shoes falling apart? Get them fixed before replacing them by someone who specializes in repairing. Same goes for technology!
- Upcycle more. Find uses for empty jars and metal tins beyond simply recycling them. Use them to store pins, needles, jewelry, buttons, etc. Or make more DIYs to house them in like body lotion, perfume, dry shampoo, hair spray, lip balm, etc.
- Craft more. Spend time creating things that are both useful and enjoyable to make. I believe crafts should be functional as well as beautiful so they don’t contribute to more clutter. Some items I’d love to craft include beeswax wraps, natural dye gift wrapping, beeswax candles, DIY hand warmers, seasonal wreaths for the front door, repaint my water bottle, homemade bookmarker, reusable paper towels and more.
- Thrift more, buy less. Go through your old clothes and pass down any clothes you no longer want or need to loved ones who may want them, before considering donation. Lots of thrift stores get overwhelmed with clothing donations and not all clothing drop off bins are legit. Friendly reminder: You don’t need more clothes – you need more of the right clothes.
- Practice more green cleaning. Your home is no place for toxic cleaning products that contribute to indoor air pollution. I like to use rags as well as microfiber cloths to wipe away dust and grime because I can just wash them. Also, I find myself reaching for Veles all-purpose cleaner when I’m not using my DIY citrus infused vinegar cleaner. I’m also a big fan of dusting hard to reach places with this plastic-free duster! I also love having air-purifying plants around like pothos and snake plants.
- Spend more time in nature, less time plugged into technology. This can be done through hiking, foraging, or a simple walk in the park. Take the time to connect with this amazing planet in all its glory. Personally, I want to take another trip to upstate New York and I hike more trails there!
- Participate in a No Spend Month. Overconsumption is a serious problem in our society that leads to a lot of waste. Why not use up what you have instead? I’m making January a No Spend Month for me – obviously this excludes necessities like food, drink and essentials. But it’ll help me avoid impulse buys, save money and reduce waste all at once! Will you join me?
- Write to brands and businesses about their waste. Have you noticed a particular brand loves sending you stuff in hard to recycle packaging? Or maybe a local grocery store dumps out more food than they should? It’s okay to get angry about these things but the best thing to do is turn that anger into action. Here’s how to write businesses about their packaging. Nothing will change unless we take a stand so if you can get more people to write in to these businesses, all the better (share my post with them to make it easier)!
- Go meat free at least once or twice a week. Due to health issues, I can’t be fully vegan at the moment. That said, I like to cut down on my meat consumption (and animal byproducts) where I can. I’m actively dairy-free at the least (dairy doesn’t sit well with me). Meat has a higher carbon and water footprint than a plant-based diet. So reducing it, or completely eliminating it, is a great way to help combat climate change!
- Use less paper towels and paper napkins. Have you considered ditching single-use paper products? My folks have a bad habit of buying a lot of them. I bought reusable paper towels and cloth napkins for us to use to cut down on the waste, but I have to get better at reaching for them myself. If you’re looking for inspo, check out my post about having a paperless kitchen.
- Buy less packaged foods – or at least find a way to recycle what can’t be avoided. My mom and I have been going to Trader Joes a lot for our groceries because the farmers market closed for the holidays. And lets just say its resulted in a lot of waste. Plastic film runs rampant in that place from the lettuce mixes down to the cucumbers. Plastic film isn’t easy to recycle in NYC – but if you can find a plastic film drop off location, you can take it there to be recycled. It CANNOT go with the rest of your recycling. So I’m going to try and be better about saving my plastic for drop off locations this year, and reduce needing it when I can. Here’s where to find out more about plastic film recycling. In general, I recommend reaching for plastic #1 (PET) or #2 (HDPE) as those are the most easy (and most likely) to recycle.
- Grow your own food. This is a huge one for me. I want to rely a lot less on food in plastic packaging, or the farmers market for that matter. I love eating with the seasons but sometimes, I crave lettuce in the dead of winter and it can’t be helped. To reduce the plastic I encounter, and keep things as local as possible, growing my own is the best option. I live in an apartment though, and I have access to a community garden – but that’s only in the spring/summer/fall. That’s why I’ll have to settle for indoor container gardening come winter. I recently bought an Aerogarden for my mom for Christmas and I cannot wait to put it into use – totally recommend checking it out if you have limited gardening space too!
- Read more – especially books on sustainability. Do you enjoy reading? I’m always reading – articles and blog posts that is. I very rarely get time for fun reading nowadays. In 2021 I read Braiding Sweetgrass and that book was hands down the best book I’ve ever read (have you read it yet?! You should!). But I really want to read more this year, especially on books pertaining to climate change and sustainability. I have a goal to read, at the least, All We Can Save by the end of 2022. Wish me luck! Any eco book recs? Leave ’em in the comments!
- Donate books no longer needed, or already read. I’m sure you can relate if you’re a bookworm, but picture this: You have a bookcase stuffed with so many books the shelves are about to collapse on themselves. That’s me. I really need to thin out my books and if that means gifting some to my friends or donating some to a thrift store/library, so be it!
- Install a bidet. I’ve always wanted to try a bidet, but to be honest, my parents are probably not thrilled about that premise. So, I’ll likely wait until I move into my own place with my fiancé later in the year (we’re getting married in the spring of 2023, eeek!!!). Still, super pumped to try one out – they help reduce the amount of toilet paper you use and are great for menstruating humans. Just saying. I’ve heard good things about Tushy so I might go with that brand when the time comes.
- Volunteer. See what eco groups are in your vicinity and donate your time or money to them whenever you can. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time now, but I really want to volunteer somewhere in the spring or summer. Even if it’s for a brief amount of time – once a week or on the weekends. I love the idea of volunteering at Project Hospitality or with Billion Oyster Project. It’s so important to take care of our local community.
- Commit to unsubscribing from junk mail. I NEED to do this. I get so. much. junk mail. It’s insane. And where does it all end up? The trash! Our junk mail requires 80-100 million trees to be cut down every year. Yeah, no thanks. I need to create a whole separate blog post on how to do this, but one fix I’ll be looking into is DMA Choice – they can register you as a do-not-mail list for 10 years!
- Host a zero waste webinar/workshop. If you consider yourself a zero waste expert, or at least have a skill akin to zero waste (like sewing, composting, bread-making, etc.) you should consider hosting one! These skills will help others cut back on their waste too, so they should be shared. I did both at least once now and I got to say I loved it! I’d love to host another zero waste webinar or in-person workshop. Maybe at a local café or library. A webinar is online so anyone would be able to attend that – yourself included. 😉
- Contact local representatives about sustainability related topics. I have to get better at this, admittedly. I need to start calling/emailing local reps and voicing my opinion more on things regarding the environment. I’d love to talk with one about setting up a park/beach cleanup or creating a drop off for hard to recycle items. You should absolutely do the same too if you notice something in your community that needs to change. Always use your voice for good. We need more of that!
- Create a printable PDF of local recycling laws for your town/city. This can be just a one-pager that helps people recycle better and more efficiently. Example: Don’t put plastic bags in with the recycling, rinse out your recyclables, etc. Share it in local Facebook groups, on Next Door, or email it to your neighbors. Maybe even print it out and hang it in your local community center or apartment lobby.
- Save all that Christmas packaging! Did you open a bunch of gifts this year? You probably noticed a bunch of bows, tissue paper, and boxes, right? Save them for next year! One of the best things you can do is reuse these items to prevent more waste! And, throughout the year, make sure to save any packaging paper you get from shipments, as you can also use this to wrap gifts for birthdays and the holidays next year!
What do you think of these zero waste resolutions? Which will you be trying for 2022? Let me know in the comments!
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