• 101 Eco Friendly Resolutions That Will Make You Happy and Not Cost a Cent!

    January 11, 2018 • ECO HOME, GUIDES, LIFE

    Eco Friendly New Year Resolutions

    By Biome Founder, Tracey Bailey

    There’s something about the start of a fresh new year that inspires us to wipe the slate clean, and commit to some degree of transformation toward our “ideal life”.  Many of us tend to set quite lofty goals, only to let them go within weeks and then feel defeated!  And yet, there are so many small actions we could take over the year that will bring us feelings of joy by doing good for the planet.

    Rather than big goals, I prefer small, concrete resolutions that are easily achievable!  So, here’s my list of 101 eco friendly resolutions that I know will give me happiness and I hope will help you too – and even better, none of them involve buying anything new or spending any money! In fact, many will save you money.

    These are simple, painless adjustments or actions will add up to you living a more sustainable, compassionate and rewarding life. There are many more resolutions that I could have included for sustainable switches to make when purchasing a product, but I wanted this list to include nothing that you had to buy (except for food and pantry staples).

    Keeping track of your accomplishments helps motivation, so you are welcome to copy and paste this list into a document and then prepare your own list of resolutions to tick off during the year.  If you have a go at number one, you’ll hopefully be including many of these actions as something to be grateful for.

    Here are 101 ideas for eco friendly resolutions that can bring you happiness without spending money.  I’m so excited about this list that it’s hard to choose favourites, but 10 are listed first – why not start with those!

    1. Daily Gratitude Practice. Since ancient times, philosophers have agreed that one of the best ways to increase happiness is gratitude, or, being happy that you have enough, and that you are enough. I will start or end each day writing down in a journal three things that I am grateful for.  And if I miss a few days or weeks, I’ll just keep coming back to it when I can.
    2. Grow some of my own food. There are plenty of web tutorials on growing vegetables from kitchen scraps such as spring onions, celery, lettuce, potatoes and pineapple.
    3. “Zero My Pantry”. In other words, eat down everything already in my pantry before I buy anything more. You’ll need to get creative with meal ideas!  And if you’re not likely to use a non-perishable item, give it away.
    4. Go free camping for a night or two. Keep it simple and take as little as possible. If you don’t own a tent, borrow one.
    5. When I see a Frangipani flower on the ground, pick it up and wear it behind my ear (Being from NQld, I’ve done this since I was little).
    6. Find one free community event to attend every few weeks. Most local Councils organise a program of free music and concerts, fitness and recreational activities. It will make you feel more connected, which is a proven source of happiness.
    7. Switch off the light every time I leave a room.
    8. Order my coffee to have in. Rather than a takeaway on the run, find the time to sit for 10 minutes and daydream while I sip.
    9. Declutter by selecting just one item per day to give to charity.  We all struggle to find time for a “big clear out”, but this way, I’ll be 365 items lighter by the end of the year.
    10. Start a compost heap in my garden.

    Empower and Nourish

    1. Read four books this year on a sustainability or simple living topic, such as “The 100 Thing Challenge” by Dave Bruno, or “No Impact Man” by Colin Beavan.
    2. Enjoy a “news detox”. Stop reading the newspaper or any news source on social media for a period of time. Mostly, it is unhappy news over which we have no control. Use the time to look inwards and focus on the things you can influence.
    3. Meditate for 5 minutes every day.  I admit, “Meditate” has been a recurring daily reminder on my phone since last year’s resolutions, and I did it once!  I’ll have another go this year, but I  will need to start with a 5 minute baby step.
    4. Make it a habit to read the ingredients list on all food, cleaning and beauty products that I buy.  If I see an ingredient that I don’t recognise, research it online.
    5. Look up the list of alternative names for palm oil derivatives and then don’t buy any food, cleaning or body products with those palm oil ingredients.
    6. Learn how to make my own natural skin care products.
    7. Learn how to make natural home cleaning and laundry products.
    8. Wake up to watch a sunrise.
    9. Install a free app on my phone that limits time spent on social media.
    10. Watch one film documentary each month on a planet-conscious topic.
    11. Eat lunch away from my desk preferably in the fresh air.
    12. Email my local Member of Parliament, the Prime Minister or Minister once a month to tell them about an issue that matters to me.
    13. Make this the year of “NO PVC for Me”. PVC has the plastics symbol three, so it all rhymes making it easy to remember.  Avoid all products containing PVC.
    14. Build a daily and weekly routine.  Predictability and consistency will help to reduce waste, reduce stress, and ensure time for working on these resolutions!

    Connection and Community

    1. Offer to sit a friend’s pet to give them a chance to go away and rather than the pet going to a kennel.
    2. Find a charity to give a few hours of my time, possibly beach or creek clean ups, a charity store, or helping refugees learn English. Volunteering or helping others is a great source of happiness.
    3. Invite a friend to catch up over a walk instead of a coffee!
    4. Stop buying books and use the library instead, or swap with friends.
    5. Help my workplace put in place an effective “break room” recycling and composting system.
    6. Share a post on Facebook each month about an important sustainability issue with positive comments about what can be done.
    7. Learn more about Aboriginal bush foods and medicines using native plants.  The world’s oldest living culture contains ancient knowledge of the relationship between humans and the environment.

    Reduce Waste

    1. Drink water from the tap instead of soft drink. It will save money, calories and greenhouse gas emissions and waste of bottles.
    2. Add some fresh fruit to my reusable water bottle.  It will make me drink more and less tempted to buy a drink
    3. Make a weekly menu and only buy what is on the list to help reduce food waste.
    4. Cook for leftovers and put them aside before we eat.  Weekday lunches will be sorted!
    5. Pack my lunch for work each day without using plastic wrap or throwaway paper.
    6. If I buy lunch out, take my stainless steel container and ask the shop to put it in my container.
    7. Commit to a “Buy nothing new week” (except consumables like food).  Once I’ve conquered that go for a fortnight!
    8. Participate in a Swap Meet. Take items that I no longer want and swap or sell them.
    9. Stop buying commercial packaged bathroom and kitchen sprays or cleaners, use bi carb and vinegar instead.
    10. Remember my reusable cup. You don’t have to buy one, surely there’s an old one in the cupboard that will do.
    11. Say no to a plastic bag, every time!
    12. Don’t throw any clothes in the landfill rubbish – give them to a friend or charity.
    13. Create my own “waste free shopping kit” with three reusable shopping bags, five reusable produce bags, and five stainless steel containers or glass jars.
    14. Stop buying anything “throw-away” such as wipes, paper towel, napkins, picnic plates and cutlery.
    15. Reduce the amount of waste coming into my home by reducing processed foods in my shopping basket.
    16. Pick one ‘store bought’ item a month to learn how to make the old-fashioned way, for example tomato sauce.
    17. Replace bottled face cleanser with coconut oil.
    18. End my junk mail once and for all.  Put a sign on our letterbox “no junk mail please” and contact every organisation still sending mail to our address.
    19. Practice FIFO in my fridge – First In, First Out.  When the groceries come home, put the new things at the back of the fridge.
    20. Learn how to make one pickle or preserve from in season produce – start with a goal of one and see where it leads.
    21. Do a better job of managing left overs.  If they are not eaten the next day, freeze them and write on the container what it is and the date.
    22. Stop buying single-serve convenience food such as small packets of chips, small yoghurts – buy bulk and put in my own snack size reusable containers.
    23. Take my reusable produce bags to the supermarket or markets to avoid plastic bags.
    24. When I am out and about, if I can not find a recycling bin for my recyclables, take it to the bin at home.
    25. Stop buying plastic cling wrap.
    26. Enjoy a takeaway free month. Dine in if we eat out.

    Appreciate Nature and Animals

    1. Take a dog for a walk and stop whenever the dog wants to.
    2. Fall to sleep looking at the stars (whether in my back yard or camping out).
    3. Cook dinner over a camp fire – again, it could be in the back yard.
    4. Swim in a freshwater river or lake.
    5. Commit to “Take 3” pieces of rubbish home every time I am out in nature, whether the beach, park or bush.  Checkout take3.org for more info.
    6. Contribute to a Citizen Science monitoring project to help gather data on plants and animals. Check out the Atlas of Living Australia ala.org.au to find a project in your area.
    7. Surround myself at home and in the office with more indoor plants. Ask friends for cuttings to grow my own.
    8. Create a wildlife friendly garden in our backyard (or even on your balcony) to attract birds, bees and other animals.  Basic elements include fresh water like a bird bath or water low to the ground (change regularly to stop mosquitos); rocks, logs and scavenge materials to build shelter and nesting places.
    9. Take advantage of my local Council’s program to give away free native plants.  Search “free native plants” and your Council name to find out more.
    10. Make pest spray for the garden from soap and garlic.
    11. Stop using a leaf blower to save pollution (not that I use one now!).  Rake the leaves and retain them as mulch on your garden beds.
    12. Discover new bush walks or nature trails close to home and invite family and friends to join.
    13. Learn about some species of animals that I never knew existed.

    Save Energy, Water and Resources

    Our last section of eco friendly resolutions because there is no “planet B” when we use up everything on this one!

    1. Cook with residual heat. Turning off the oven or saucepan five minutes before the food or pasta is ready will allow the food to continue cooking while also saving some energy.
    2. If you don’t have a water filter, leave a jug of tap water without a lid overnight and the chlorine will evaporate leaving much better tasting and healthier water.
    3. Go meat and dairy free for at least one day every week. Meatless Mondays is a movement that is easy to remember. I personally am meat free every day of the week.
    4. Take the stairs instead of a lift.
    5. Stop buying wrapping paper. Re-purpose or make my own from other printed materials and paint.
    6. For all parties and picnics, use proper crockery, glasses and cutlery that are washed up, not thrown away.
    7. Pick one of the regular routes that I normally drive, and work out a public transport solution instead.
    8. Unplug your clothes dryer (I’ve never had a dryer.  There has been the occasional stressful moment with kids leaving home in wet socks or a wet uniform, but they survived.)
    9. Make extra effort to clean out all the contents of plastics that I send to recycling.  Plastics need to weigh as empty for the recycling machines to pick them up correctly.  Remove all lids also.
    10. Wash my clothes less often.
    11. Try to choose fruit and vegetables grown close to where I live.  Ask the grocer to add this information to their shelf-signage.
    12. Research the options for recycling responsibly in my local Council area. There are options for electronics waste, paint, light bulbs, batteries, all sorts of things.
    13. Donate unwanted but still decent bras to Project Uplift via the Biome stores. Please note that we are not taking donations of bras at the moment, as Project Uplift has put a temporary hold on the program.
    14. Take all defunct pens and pencils to the Biome stores for recycling via TerraCycle’s recycling program.
    15. Take all empty beauty, hair and cosmetic containers* to the Biome stores for recycling via TerraCycle. *Please note, they must all be completely cleaned out of contents.
    16. Switch my computer completely off each night.
    17. Switch my TV off at the wall when I finish watching.
    18. Reduce the number of times we eat out each week by just one meal to save a whole lot of resources and money.
    19. To reduce wasted food, buy exactly what I need for the recipe – for example, two carrots, not a whole bag, and 100 grams from the bulk bins rather than 1kg of flour.
    20. Make a point of eating in season fruit and vegetables only.  Most shops tell you where the produce was grown, and if the oranges are from the USA that means they aren’t in season in Australia right now!
    21. Cut my shower time by 1 minute.  With a water-efficient shower head, we use around 10 litres of water a minute. 10 litres x 365 days = 3650 litres per year saved.
    22. Arrange for any paper bills I am still receiving to be switched to paperless.
    23. If I really need to buy something, make a commitment to think through first whether I can borrow it instead.
    24. Let all my friends and neighbours know that I have a new year’s resolution to share things and invite them to borrow from me.
    25. Commit to a “Paper Free Home”. Get creative so as not to not buy any more new paper and only use once-used paper in our printer and for making notebooks, use a digital organiser, and make cards from scrap paper; stop buying paper towels (and for toilet paper, at least make it tree free).
    26. Read newspapers at my local library or coffee shop instead of buying.
    27. Refuse ‘freebie’ giveaways, promotional items and flyers that are offered to me.
    28. Save the water that I use for washing fruit and vegetables to water the plants.
    29. Keep the heating off for as long as possible in Winter by wearing more layers.
    30. Get back on my push bike.
    31. Have a “power detox” once a week where for one or two hours, I use no lights, no phone, no TV, no computers, nothing electrical!

    Best wishes from the Biome team for a happy and harmonious 2018!

    Do you have any ideas for eco friendly resolutions to add?  Please leave your comment below.

    Photo credit:  Ladies Bay, near Port Arthur, Tasmania. © Tracey Bailey.