Chelsea Burns, Content Editor
December 22, 2022
Setting goals can feel overwhelming, so can the state of the planet. How we like to think about it: progress over perfection. The start of the new year inspires many people to make positive changes in their lives and if you’re a part of the community of Blueland then you’re likely thinking about the planet and how you can make a more sustainable difference in the next year.
Though getting our planet to a healthy place is a long road, there are still daily decisions you can make that can have an impact because we all play a part in making the planet a better place. Not sure where to start or how to get started? Below are some ideas we’ve pulled together and the difference it can make for the planet. Our tip: Just pick one and try to just make a pact to do it for the month of January. The reasoning? You’re more likely to keep a goal that actually feels achievable, so better to just pick one thing you can tackle and stick to it rather than several things that you end up not sticking to.
Switch to reusable produce bags.
Plastic produce bags can take 20 years or more to decompose. We love ditching produce bags all together and letting veggies and fruits free roam in the basket, but for those wet veggies or others that need a little more wrangling (hi, broccoli), invest in some reusable produce bags. Be sure to store them inside of your grocery tote bags so you’re never left without them on a last minute grocery run.
Choose vintage over new.
According to an article by Columbia, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, 20% of global wastewater, and uses more energy than flying and shipping combined. Of course, the most sustainable option is to use what you already own, or in this case wear what’s already in your closet. But, when you do need to buy something new, look to your local thrift store or online vintage retailers before going to a big name brand fast fashion company that has become commonplace. Bonus: They’re usually higher quality and made with natural materials rather than plastic materials like polyester and nylon that most fashion fashion and athletic material is made of now.
Try meatless Mondays
The UN estimates that livestock makes up more than 14% of all man-made greenhouse gasses, including methane. A simple swap: Eat more veggies! On average, emissions from plant-based foods are 10 to 50 times smaller than those from animal products, according to the Science study. These stats may have you wondering why we’re not recommending going totally plant-based and that’s because for most, that’s not a feasible change. Making a pledge to swap out just one day of meals for plant-based foods is a little easier to swallow—mentally! We love the easy, plant-based recipes on From My Bowl.
Unplug countertop appliances when you’re not using them.
About a quarter of all residential energy consumption is used on devices that are “off”, according to a study of Northern California by the Natural Resources Defense Council. According to the New York Times, that means that devices that are “off” or in standby or sleep mode can use up to the equivalent of 50 large power plants’ worth of electricity and cost more than $19 billion in electricity bills every year. The simple answer for most things is to only plug in appliances when you’re using them (i.e. coffee maker, toaster, blender, etc.), and for larger appliances you use more often, try plugging them into a power strip that you can simply switch off all at once at the end of each day.