As the end of 2021 rolls around, we all start thinking about the same thing — new year’s resolutions. You may make the same ones each year, because, let’s face it, some are hard to maintain, but what if, for 2022, you try something different?
Instead of resolving to fall in love, learn a new skill, or even make more money, what if you thought about a different topic?
Over 141 million adult Americans think that following through with a new year’s resolution is possible, so how about making one that helps everyone?
Looking toward sustainability
A new goal for this new year could revolve around ways we can live our daily lives in a more sustainable way. This generation is more concerned than ever before with the environment, and shifting new year’s resolutions away from personal goals to more sustainable life choices can make an impact that goes outside yourself.
The small things you do could also influence the actions of others, creating a ripple effect of even bigger change in your community.
Taking recycling seriously
Many of us recycle as much trash as possible at home. We’re limited though by our city’s recycling policy. Each area has its own unique rules, so the first step to taking recycling seriously, is to follow them.
It’s not enough to just toss your recyclables into a bin. One bad apple can ruin the bunch, and one recyclable your local center won’t take could mean your whole bag goes to waste.
Don’t stop at your trash
Another facet to taking recycling seriously is thinking outside the box, or in this case the recycle bin. Maybe this is the year you begin composting, to recycle food waste into usable materials for your garden. You could also pick this year to make better, more informed decisions about product packing to ensure you’re only buying items in recyclable containers, avoiding things like styrofoam and cutting down on plastic.
Look for sustainable packaging options in your favorite places to shop, like your local grocery store. At Stop & Shop, sustainable practices mean working toward the elimination of problematic/unnecessary plastic packing.
Using utilities wisely
Having set a goal that makes taking out the trash a more sustainable practice, the next place to turn your attention is to your home. What goes on inside, when it comes to how you use electricity and water, can provide a perfect opportunity to craft some sustainable goals.
Try using less of both, while also using them in smarter ways. You’ll not only meet your sustainable goal, but most likely lower your monthly bill.
Some options include:
- Unplugging phantom power suckers when not in use. This includes things like TVs, gaming consoles, and even your computer.
- Turning off lights when you leave the room. Don’t forget about lamps in addition to overhead lights.
- Swapping out bulbs for more energy efficient choices.
- Taking shorter showers.
- Waiting until the washing machine and dishwasher are full before running a cycle.
- Using dryers either early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s warm out.
- Changing the temperature on your thermostat by going just one degree higher in the summer and one lower in the winter.
Little changes make big differences when it comes to setting new year’s goals at home.
Planting something green
Now, on to the yard. Setting a goal related to planting something green can lead you in two different directions. You could plan to plant a tree. You could plant a vegetable garden. Both offer opportunities for sustainable practices.
Trees give us shade and make our green spaces greener. They also sequester carbon dioxide and never let it go. One mature tree can absorb around 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Since this harmful element is doing a lot of damage in our atmosphere, having one more tree out there is always a good thing.
Creating a vegetable garden not only means a variety of new plants in your backyard, but an easy way to eat locally. None of the produce from your garden went through any kind of packing or processing. It never got loaded onto a truck and driven to the store. You’re saving all that energy and eating something you grew yourself.
Using your car to help the environment
One of the remaining areas where sustainable goals work is in transportation. The last year has changed the way we shop for stuff. Curbside pickup is now offered almost everywhere, from restaurants to grocery stores.
Many of us are still picking items up from a majority of the places we frequently shop, which means more time sitting in the car while it idles.
One goal in the new year could easily be to remember to turn the car off while waiting for our items at curbside pickups. Another related goal could be to be mindful of time spent in the car overall.
Consider planning out a route for errands so that you’re going from place to place in the most efficient way, or even parking and going indoors when it feels right.
And remember, you can also make sustainable choices so that the driving you do isn’t as harmful to the environment. By filling up your tank at Stop & Shop, the Restore program offsets your tailpipe emissions through investments in carbon reduction projects. You’re using gas, but buying it responsibly, which makes all the difference when your new year’s goals all have sustainability in common.
Thinking about what you can accomplish in the new year
Setting goals, and sticking with them, isn’t easy. But, understanding the impact your sustainable goals could have on the world around you can serve as the perfect inspiration to make this new year the one where you really make a difference.