Happy (almost) New Year everyone! With a new decade rolling in, we wanted to think of some goals and resolutions we can set for 2020 and what better time than now?
The idea of starting fresh and shaping the upcoming year by creating accountability and sharing our goals is something we are very excited about. With our sustainability journey picking up, we have so many new intentions for the future, and hopefully we can inspire you to think of some sustainable goals for yourself!
On this blah December morning (not sure what time or day of the week it is), I will be grabbing a cuppa joe, some leftovers from the holidays, and sinking into the couch while I start to brainstorm some ideas. However, start with something small. I find myself always trying to think of monstrous changes that I want to make, and I often get overwhelmed. Focus on things that you can keep up with and work consistently towards. What actions can you take now that will bring you closer to the result you want? Whether you begin by looking at the areas you generate the most waste or thinking of a daily habit that will be easy to change, you’re on the right track.
“The people who make the biggest difference are the ones who do the little things consistently.”
But, hey, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with some ambition in these resolutions! So, in this blog, we are going to focus on specific goals that we are setting for ourselves and ideas for other resolutions you can take on as well so we can all be more sustainable in 2020!
Although Caitlyn and I share a lot of the same goals for the New Year, we also have some different intentions as our lifestyles also differ. For example, Caitlyn has been a pescatarian for four years where I still consume all types of meat, Caitlyn’s hometown has a composting program where mine does not, etcetera, etcetera. So, bear with me as I try to cover each of our goals and make sense while doing it.
Embrace Minimalism & Buy Less
One of our main intentions for this year is to buy less. It is not a secret that the two of us enjoy our shopping trips. Buying new outfits for the upcoming season or heading to the mall for our annual shopping day with our mamas was something we both loved (like a lot a lot), so this may be a challenging goal but we’re rolling up our sleeves and diving in. Before heading out to find that new (insert trendy item here) that everyone is raving about, we are going to dig deep into our closets, borrow from a friend, or shop second-hand. And we are not just talking clothes here either when we say we are going to buy less. We are focussing on buying less of everything - eat what we have in our fridge/freezer before we buy more, repair household items before replacing them, and using all of our personal care products to the last drop before buying new ones. When we do decide we need to buy something, we are going to do our best to thrift it or purchase it from a local, sustainable brand. I am quite excited to find some thrifted treasures. We will be sharing our finds along the way and writing blogs about sustainable brands we love, so stay tuned!
Refuse Single-Use Plastics
This goal may seem like a basic, obvious one, but it is paramount! We are not perfect when it comes to saying no to single use plastic items. Sometimes we forget to ask for no straw or accidentally leave our reusable bags at home and are stuck trying to fit as much as we can in our arms. Therefore, one of our core focuses will be to adjust our mindset so we are constantly aware of our surroundings. One easy way is to have a to-go bag ready for anytime I leave the house that contains sustainable alternatives like bamboo cutlery, reusable water bottle, coffee mug, metal straw, and a reusable bag. You never know when you’re going to want that extra caffeine boost or that quick, last minute grocery run. It is key to always be prepared and don’t be afraid to say “NO”. Although our first step will be to eliminate single-use plastics from our lives, we will also just try and avoid plastic in general.
Start My Own Composting Bin
I am very excited for this one! Since the small town I live in only accepts yard waste, I have decided to take on my own project and start my own backyard compost bin. By composting, you can divert about 30% of your household waste from landfills and reduce methane production. Methane is also almost 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas contributor. Since organic matter breakdown in landfills usually occurs anaerobically (by microbes in the absence of oxygen), methane is produced. But because aerobic fermentation occurs during composting, we are preventing the release of methane. I am also planning to start to grow some of my own spices and vegetables so the compost will be a perfect nutrient-rich addition to the soil down the road. I have a bit of research to do before I start this project, but I will make sure to share the outcome.
Stop Eating Red Meat
For my entire life, meat has been an essential in all of my family’s home cooked meals. However, now that I know that meat-eating is one of the biggest environmental hazards to the Earth, I put more thought into what goes on my plate. Of course, I do not think that it is practical or healthy to all of a sudden cut meat completely out of my diet. Currently, my meals generally include a serving of chicken or fish, so I have decided to cut out red meat to slowly work towards the goal of a fully plant-based diet. I will be flipping to the veg sections in my cookbooks and getting creative with some ingredients.
Avoid Products Containing Palm Oil
Before starting our sustainability journey, we would never have thought twice about products containing palm oil. You would be surprised at how many of your daily household essentials contain this ingredient that comes at a tremendous cost to the environment. Palm oil plantations have contributed highly to deforestation and animal extinction. From instant noodles to laundry detergent to packaged bread, palm oil is one of the most widely used vegetable oils. Our goal is to be more aware of the products we are buying and avoid items with crude palm oil. Our main focus will be to buy products that are RSPO certified. A blog discussing more on palm oil will be coming to you in the next week or so!
Organize a Beach Clean-Up or Other Volunteer Event
What better way to start the conversation or build a community than to host a beach clean-up or other local volunteer event? Stay tuned for dates in the near future to come hang and connect!
When living in a small town with limited public transportation, I find myself driving almost anywhere I go. I also make frequent trips to London, Toronto, and Northern Ontario so my goal this year is to try to take public transportation when I can (& when it makes sense financially) and to take the heel-toe express when it’s doable (even if it means lugging my groceries home in my arms. I suppose this will help me stop over shopping at the g-store???).
Now that I have listed a few of our main goals for the New Year, here are some ideas for you to make 2020 a little less trashy, along with what we have already listed!
1. Eliminate chemical cleaning products from your home and try some eco-friendly DIY’s
2. Say no to fast fashion brands
3. Switch to natural cosmetic companies
4. Buy local and seasonal produce
5. Grow your own food
6. Shop at your local farmers market
7. Bring your reusables everywhere
8. Stay away from packaged food and buy in bulk
9. Eat less takeout
10. Start the conversation around sustainability & ask questions
11. Make the switch to plastic-free products (safety razors, toothbrushes, etc)
Alright folks, I hope you have enjoyed this read and have found it helpful while thinking of your own goals for 2020! Let’s kick this decade off with some great intentions (along with actions to stand behind those intentions). We would love to hear what sustainable goals you have for the New Year! Let us know in the comments below!!