January first is an easy day to start anew. There’s something about rolling into a new year that inspires us to do something to improve ourselves.
But what it we all viewed January first as an opportunity to make our world a better place?
Making a few eco-friendly changes to the way we live is one way to improve the world with the added benefit of improving our lives since the health of the planet and our personal health are so undeniably intertwined. Something as simple as buying better quality food, or eating a little less meat, can have positive repercussions that extend way beyond your waistline.
As with any new resolution or habit, starting with bite-sized changes and adding to them bit by bit is a good way to build positive momentum. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Buy local as often as possible.
Diverting just 10 percent of your shopping dollars will make a huge difference in our local economy. Remember that small businesses are the engine of our local community so if you want our region to continue to grow and be a vibrant place to live you need to support small businesses.
Take advantage of our safe drinking water and stop buying bottled water.
If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, buy a simple carbon filter for your tap or use a filter jug in your fridge. Buy a good stainless steel water bottle and free yourself from plastic when you’re on the go.
Buy less pre-packaged processed foods.
Bit by bit replace the boxes and jars with homemade versions of your favourite packaged foods. Cooking more from scratch means you’ll be eating fewer additives, you’ll reduce the GMOsthat you ingest and you’ll probably feel better.
Eat your leftovers and compost more.
It’s estimated that up to 40% of all food goes to waste and half of that waste occurs in the home. Get creative with your leftovers and keep track of the food in your fridge so it gets eaten before it goes bad.
Go beyond redeemables with your household recycling.
Recycle all rigid plastic that has a recycling symbol on it and recycle soft plastic. Recycle your tin cans too. Remember they can all go in the same blue bin now.
Wean your home off of harsh cleaners.
The most popular, heavily advertised cleaning products are also the most toxic to you and your family. Swap your bathroom and kitchen cleaners for eco-friendly options that are EcoLogo certified, or choose safe alternatives like microfiber e-cloths or simple baking soda and vinegar. Click here for more tips from the Queen of Green.
Buy less, get more mileage out of what you already have and send everything you’re finished with to its rightful place. It’s the old “reduce reuse recycle” adage. Keep in mind that “recycle” is the “R” of last resort, meaning “if all else fails...recycle it.” If you want to change the world put more energy into the first two “Rs”.
And finally, don’t forget to compost your Christmas tree.