Eco New Year Resolution - 5 Zero Waste habits you can keep

Eco New Year Resolution - 5 Zero Waste habits you can keep

Are you making any new year resolution this year? Did you know more than 50% of the resolutions fail.

A lot of these resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. A resolution has a much higher chance of success if you can adopt it sustainably, and make it into a habit.  

How to make changes that works for you

The most important thing of all is to start. Living a sustainable life does not mean you have to be Zero Waste on Day1. One of my absolute favourite quote fro Maya Angelou:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou, Poet

Don’t start with the hardest, adopt one small change at a time. Perhaps focus on a habit or routine that you feel most connected to, and start from there. For example, if you are a passionate cook, how about focusing on reducing food waste or start compositing? You don’t have to start on all these habits at the same time. Start with one or two, and focus on it until it becomes second nature. 

5 Easy Zero-Waste Habits To Start 

Reduce Food Waste

Plan your meals before your grocery shopping and make a list on what you need. Did you know that 

63% of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten, and for the average Canadian household that amounts to 140 kilograms of wasted food per year – at a cost of more than $1,100 per year! Here is the break down of what are the most prominent waste:

  • Vegetables: 30%
  • Fruit: 15%
  • Leftovers: 13%
  • Bread and Bakery: 9%
  • Dairy and Eggs: 7%

Ignore the dates on the package. Best-by, sell-by, and use-by are NOT expiration dates. There's no scientific way to predict the exact day something is going to expire so use your best judgement with smell and taste. Wrapping diary, vegetables and fruit in beeswax wraps can prolong their shelf life considerably.

If you do end up with waste, have a designated bin for food scraps. 35% of the average household bin is made up of food waste. Diverting food waste to compost is better than sending for landfill. While it’s true that food breaks down, but food that end up in the landfill take significantly longer to do so because landfills are anaerobic environments. When waste breaks down in the absence of oxygen, this creates methane gas instead of carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent.

Grocery Shopping - use reusables

A plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes but will remain in the environment for 1,000 years before it decomposes. Remember to keep your reusable shopping bags somewhere obvious so you will remember to bring them next time you go shopping. I also keep spare ones in the car, and in my hand bag, in case for any last minute unplanned shopping. 

One thing I find really useful is to write “bring shopping bags” on the top of the grocery list as a constant reminder.

Reduce paper usage

Be as digital as possible.  Reduce physical mail or magazine subscriptions. Ask for SMS or email receipts wherever possible.

Did you know paper can be recycled only six times. After that, the fibres are too weak to hold together.

Before you print, always ask yourself this question: “Do I need to print this?” I don’t own a printer at home, and with the self-printing services available from Staples, I really have not missed it and it has greatly reduced the paper waste for me. 

Paper towels are contaminated waste therefore they all end up in landfill. Switch to a greener alternative such as reusable unpaper towels or Swedish dishcloths or bamboo towels. 

Switch to Energy Efficient Lights

Lighting accounts for 15% of global electricity use. Switching to LEDs will use 90% less energy and last far longer than with the use of incandescent lights.

Say no to freebies

Resist the temptation to freebies, collectables or flyers. If you don’t need them, just say ‘No Thank You’. By taking these freebies, we encourage this type of marketing. If we refuse these items, we send a clear message to these companies that we do not need these products. If no one takes them they will stop producing them.

Pick the right resolutions and stick to them

Choose the most impactful and personal ones for yourself, and keep at it. Don’t do it because someone else (or society) is tell you to change, but do what you want to do, and there is much higher chance that you will succeed.

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