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New Year’s resolution: leave a lighter footprint

New Year’s resolution: leave a lighter footprint

It’s a wonderful time of year. A time when we celebrate new beginnings and fresh hope. A time when we’re enjoying the outdoors and the sun shining down on us. So what better time to make a commitment to walking more lightly on our planet.

With Christmas now behind us let’s draw a line under the excesses of packaging and wrapping and food wastage. 2021 is an opportunity to do things a little differently – a little better.

After all COVID has taught us that we’re actually pretty good at being agile and changing habits when we need to. Just as wearing masks and standing 2m apart became a new normal, we can adapt to reusing goods and refusing packaging. Let’s make sustainable habits this year’s “new normal”!

Buy once, buy right

You don’t have to go looking for the best stuff at higher prices; but beware of low price items of marginal quality. The misery of poor quality soon spoils the pleasure of a low price. So surely it’s better to own few things but good things!

  • Shed some baggage by having a clear out and donating your used goods and clothes to your local hospice or charity shop.
  • Buy a reusable drink bottle that you love and quit buying bottled water or drinks on the run.
  • Use reusable cloths or rags for home cleaning and do away with the disposable wipes.

Conserve energy and water at home

Start at home and bed down some great habits that you can then share with your workplace or take on the road with you as you travel.

  • Kiwi summers are great for drying clothes on the washing line so unplug the dryer.
  • Don’t let used bath water escape down the rain – use left-over water on plants and gardens.
  • Turn the air-con off and let the breeze in.
  • Store left-overs correctly – invest in silicone wraps or use compostable cling wrap to avoid food wastage.
  • Don’t let left-overs go to waste – challenge yourself to come up with another meal idea (like omelette featuring last night’s roast veggies or burritos stuffed with the roast chicken).
  • Switch to a low-flow rate shower head.
  • Turn down your hot water system to 60 degrees if it’s too hot.
  • Revisit your insulation – improvements here will save you on heating come winter.

Progress, not perfection

Vincent van Gogh once said “great things are done by a series of small things bought together”, and this concept applies absolutely to sustainable living. Imagine what we could achieve if everyone just made a few minor lifestyle adjustments in favour of the planet. It would add up real quick!

  • Make it easy to remember your resuable bags – keep them in your car boot or by the door.
  • Trial meat-free Mondays (check out meatfreemondays.com for inspo).
  • Try taking public transport or your bike to work. Could you make that work just one day every week?
  • Start collecting your green waste for home composting (we have caddies and liners to get your started).

Eat locally and seasonally

As consumers we have massive power in influencing what retailers stock. And unfortunately consumer demand in the past has led to high rates of imported foodstuffs and fresh food grown out of season with heavy interventions to make it possible. Growing some of your own food, being aware of food miles, and sourcing food locally, in season, will make a huge difference to your carbon footprint.

  • Plant a veggie garden. If you don’t have much room, start with a herb garden – it’ll help you want to eat more fresh food too.
  • Preserve or share what you’ve grown.
  • Plan your dinners for the week and buy only what you need – you’ll save money and cut down on food waste.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a green future!

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