With the new year here, you might be wondering what resolutions you should adopt for the coming year. While I’m sure you’ve got a few personal goals you’ll be striving for this year, why not add a few zero waste resolutions to your list? Here are 10 easy zero waste New Years resolutions you should consider striving for. You don’t have to pursue each one, but consider adopting at least one or two!

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

1. Remember to bring your reusable bags

It may seem like a small ambition, but we all know what happens when we forget our reusable bags. Miles of plastic bags take their place. The worst part is most cashiers will put only a few items into one bag, which just leads to more plastic bags being used. Do the planet (and yourself) a favor by making it a goal to remember your reusable bags. A good way to do that is to stash a few in your purse, car, work bag or even attach a fold up reusable bag to your key chain. You can also remind yourself by saying “keys, wallet, phone, bags” before leaving your home to make sure you have all your important items on hand.

2. Hit up the farmers market more

The farmers market doesn’t just have to be a summer thing, or a once and a while visit. If you have one available to you year round, support it by going every weekend! Not only will you be supporting a small business, but you’ll also be lowering your carbon footprint. Think about it: Farmers markets support local farmers. Their food is grown locally and with few to no pesticides. It takes less time to get to you, which results in a smaller carbon footprint (meaning it doesn’t need to sit in traffic and spew out emissions for days upon days). Plus, it’s generally easier to shop plastic free at the farmers market. Most items will be sold without packaging. Just remember to bring your reusable totes and reusable produce bags! You can get a surplus of veggies and fruits at the market year round. Most markets also sell dairy, meat, and bread.

3. Start composting

If you aren’t already composting, make it a goal to do it this year. You don’t have to have an actual compost pile in order to compost either. I personally live in an apartment so I don’t have the room for that either. Instead, I have a stainless steel compost pail I put all my food scraps in. Then, come Saturday, I take it with me on my weekly farmers market visit and dump the food scraps off. They collect them there and turn them into fertile, rich compost for me. It’s very hands off and I highly recommend you do the same. See if your local farmers market has a food scrap drop off you can participate in. If not, you can try to find a local community garden that will take the food scraps off your hands. Share Waste is a great resource that can help you find someone near you who will be willing to take the scraps off your hands. This will divert so much waste from the landfill!

4. Reduce food waste

Being zero waste isn’t just thinking about plastic waste, after all. It’s reducing waste in all forms. Food waste is a big problem: 40% of food in America is wasted. Plus, that food waste just ends up in a landfill where it produces methane emissions that contribute to climate change. Not to mention the average American family loses $1500 to food waste every year – isn’t that insane? Join the fight against food waste and give my ebook, How to Reduce Food Waste, a read this year. You’ll become a food waste warrior in no time and save yourself hundreds of dollars!

12/31/2020 8:44:39 PM

If you don't like the article, don't read it. After that.... Just hush.

12/29/2020 11:29:07 PM

Well this article was entirely useless and the peak of "written by out of touch middle class white lady". It falls back on those same old myths of the 90s and early 2000s of the individual consumer as a driver of waste and pollution. These suggestions aren't new, and they're pushed by large corporations that do the majority of the damage as a way to put guilt back into the population they lock into their destructive systems, with no real attempt to understand the causes or cycles. By far, individual impact on a personal level is negligible, especially if you're living in a "developed" country. Your time would be better spent pushing for companies to adopt biodegradable and efficient packaging that uses less plastic in the first place. Oh and the plug for a reducing waste book in there? CUTE! /s. If this article is anything to go by I wouldn't WASTE your money. The line about meat is based off an incredibly flawed study that pits the entirety of costs including shipping and infrastructure for the meat industry but fails to examine to environmental impact of large scale modern monocropping or any of its assorted bloody bodies under the rug. It's also extremely wealthy colonialist centric; there's no consideration for food deserts, cultural impact, traditional native land use... Knowing your source of food is far more valuable than vague hand waving about "less meat." Create zero waste laundry routine... I admit I'm stumped here, my normal Laundry doesn't usually create that much waste in the first place? Especially when you compare the contributions of one family against, again, the literal billions of tons from industrial waste and fishing by-catch. This seems less like salient advise and more like an OCD nightmare of fussiness to create the illusion of having Done Something. No, sorry, adding 6 extra steps to your laundry routine isn't going to significantly impact your waste. Just buy bulk sized detergents and softeners, and rinse them thoroughly and recycle when you're done. Sure, definitely get energy and water efficient appliances if you can afford them, and use sulfate and paraben free products, but no, you don't have to go back to being a 17th century laundry maid toiling over every step of washday. Composting. Hey if you garden you should be composting anyway, that's just a great way to get free, beautiful, fertile garden beds, but if it will compost in your bin, it will also compost in the county landfill too. That's not really something to sweat or feel guilt over. I like to feed my food waste to my chickens and compost their manure, get more out of it that way. Mmm donating unwanted but good items to charity... HA! You ever researched what happens to 90% of that stuff? It gets thrown out as unusable anyway. Not to mention that in most cases the major thrift "charities" are actually profit mills or religious fundie fronts exploiting your good will (get it? Good Will?) for their pockets. Instead, take your items and gift them directly to friends and family, and learn basic repair skills, or upcycle skills like sewing, quilting, or crochet and knitting (love to unravel old sweaters and making something new out of the yarn) You can also just plain avoid buying things not made from plastic, but again: your individual waste is not anywhere near the scale as that of the factory that grossly underpays it's workers- often children- to slave for hours in horrible conditions to churn out more of those things than the "developed" world would ever actually buy in the first place. If you want to do your part, then support local action groups that fight for better policy, holding the corporate giants responsible, and incentivize switching to more sustainable widescale resource management and preservation practices and energy sources. There is a very real psychological effect that's been getting attention through studies lately. It turns out that its very easy to lull the consumer into thinking they're doing something positive and impactful by giving them meaningless busy tasks that FEEL like something is being accomplished. Don't be tricked by articles like this one that make you feel nice about yourself. Do the research and find out what things you can do for our environment that are actually impactful. Most of it starts with making phone calls and writing letters to your representatives, and voting in policies that regulate the big industry culprits.

1/23/2020 7:12:28 AM

I have been practicing zero food wastage for a while. i cook what is just enough for me. and when i visit someone and they offer me food and it is too much, i as them to reduce. i'd rather take a second helping than waste a food that has been served

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