Posted on January 09 2021
2021 is here and the turbulent year 2020 is finally behind us – the coming months will show what the new year brings. We are confident that it will be a good year – with the following tips you can start the new year 2021 sustainably.
We can all agree that 2020 has been a year for the record books. From shutdowns to travel bans, mandatory masks, social distancing, and more, so many aspects of our lives have changed. As a result, we’ve learned a lot about who we are and what lengths we'll go to keep each other safe. We’ve realized just how precious our health is, and that we have just one health and one planet, inextricably tied.
And so we emerge from 2020 changed, looking at the world with fresh eyes and recognizing things that were harder to notice before. The word essential has taken on a whole new meaning, healthcare workers are recognized as the heroes they've always been, and the many thankless jobs that keep our lives moving have taken on new significance.
Here’s 10 tips to make the new year more sustainable
1. Use less plastic
From gloves to masks and hand sanitizer, we’ve all had to use more plastic last year to keep us safe during the global pandemic. But when restrictions begin to ease in the new year, we should also ease up on our plastic use, narrowing it down to what’s necessary to stay safe. So bring a reusable bag like our TreeShopper when shopping, carry a refillable water bottle like our TreeBottle, and consider bringing a sustainable straw and your own to-go containers when you go out to eat.
2. Eat less meat
After living through a year dominated by a zoonotic disease, it’s impossible to ignore the connection between our health and the health of the planet. Besides its hefty carbon footprint, agricultural deforestation brings us deep into wild places that were previously inaccessible. This dramatically increases the risk of coming into contact with new diseases. So give veggies a chance and get your animal products from a local farmer if you can.
3. Walk more
Most of us have been traveling a lot less last year out of respect for COVID-19 safety guidelines and restrictions. But as the world begins to safely open back up, we know it will be very tempting to hop into the car and drive off into the sunset. Consider walking, biking, or (when it’s safe to do so) taking public transit instead. Every kilometre you don’t drive reduces your carbon footprint. Think of it as a chance to save money on going to the gym!
4. Support local businesses
Small businesses have taken a huge hit last year, with many struggling to keep the lights on or closing their doors for good. This is a big loss for local economies and, by extension, the local governments that depend on the tax money they generate. So the next time you have a purchase to make, shop around locally first. You’ll be putting food on a local table and reducing your own carbon footprint by not shipping something from far away.
5. Reduce your electricity usage
Phantom energy can tack on up to 10% of your monthly electric bill and dramatically increase your carbon footprint over time. So invest in some smart strips or unplug your electronics when they’re not in use, turn off the lights when you leave a room, and keep your thermo-stat below 20°C when you’re awake and lower when you’re asleep or away from home. These simple changes will add up for the planet and keep more money in your wallet!
- Kaufe Bio, wann immer möglich
6. Shop organic whenever possible
Organic farmers must adhere to strict standards for pest control, but they also generally use fewer resources, have less resource-intensive farming practices, protect bees, don’t pollute the air and groundwater, and promote local biodiversity. And with the many unregulated chemicals produced and used in the agriculture, we all carry a toxic chemical body burden. Choosing chemical-free, unprocessed food is just one way we can take control of our health.
7. Minimize waste in one area of your home
Going completely zero-waste can feel like a lot of work, but try focusing on one part of your home, like the kitchen or bathroom. Minimize plastic, make DIY cleaning and body care products, and swap out the unnecessary items like paper towels &mdash according to studies, paper is the #1 item going into the landfill, so try out some absorbent, reusable towels that can be thrown in the laundry and reused again and again.
8. Read green
If reading more books is one of your resolutions, add some awesome climate and environment books to the list. Choose if possible sustainably produced books made of recycled materials or borrow it from your local library. OneTreePlanted created a wonderful list of great books about nature and sustainability. Check them out here.
9. Shop consciously
In times like these, we spend a lot of time shopping online. Since many shops are closed due to the crisis, we are forced to do a lot of our shopping online. Everyone knows the great joy when the postman arrives with a new delivery, but it also tempts us to buy too much and, above all, completely unnecessary and often unsustainable things from faraway regions. Before every purchase, think: How is it made, where does it come from? And most importantly, do I really need it? If you still want to shop online, you can find great sustainable products in our shop, such as the Treeanie, the perfect companion in the cold months.
10. Plant lots of trees
OK, so you probably knew this one was coming. But seriously, trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, provide habitat to over 80% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, and so much more. So consider planting trees with us and OneTreePlanted to reduce your footprint and create a positive impact that will last for generations to come. This can mean donating, getting to a planting event, or even becoming a tree ambassador to spread the word throughout your community.
We hope this list gave you some inspiration as you step off of the 2020 rollercoaster and into the new year. We wish you a healthy, successful and hopefully a bit more sustainable year 2021!
© This blog was researched, written and published by our partner organisation OneTreePlanted. The content was adopted and translated by NIKIN. The blog may contain some variations from the original. The original blog and more information can be found at OneTreePlanted. Since 2016 we work together with the renown non-profit organisation from the USA – so far, we’ve planted over 1 million trees all over the world.