Month by Month New Year Resolutions
It’s that time again- the time to reflect on the past year, to think about the future and come up with New Year resolutions. What are your goals? Who do you want to be? These are the questions we ask when coming up with New Year resolutions.
This year I wanted to look at the waste I was bringing home. Zero waste was such a broad, unreachable goal, so I broke it down into months. Each month I would try to approach one wasteful area of my life and find a way to do better. It would give me a whole month to make a new habit that would be then carry over for the rest of the year. Join me on this journey and replace each wasteful habit with one that’s better for you and the Earth.
January Resolutions – Declutter
Declutting should not be a habit. If decluttering is a ritual it means you are habitually bringing things to your home that you don’t need, use or have space for. However, for this year, we need to get rid of these things, so we can start fresh. Once these things are out, our other monthly resolutions will help us stay on track.
If decluttering sounds like a big bore, like it often does to me, check out these creative tips to declutter your home.
February Resolutions – Start a Garden
Before you freak out, I want to clarify a few things first.
One, by start a garden, I mostly mean just try to grow a few things. Two, by start a garden, I do not mean have a whole acre of raised beds or rows and rows of produce growing.
Food is a huge obstacle for a zero waste lifestyle. The average vegetable travels about 3,000 miles to reach your plate. That alone is a good reason to grow your own food.
Also, plastic is a huge problem. For every plastic-free solution we come up with there is another corporation trying to convince plastic is the answer for everything.
The good news is anyone can garden. Whether you have a large space or live in apartment, you can garden. You don’t need anything fancy, just some plastic containers or toilet paper tubes to start seeds. Then you can transfer the seedlings outside or to larger plastic containers such as milk jugs if you plan to compost indoors.
If you live in Oklahoma take a look at this gardening schedule. If you live in another state, check your local State Extension office for a gardening schedule and plan accordingly.
March Resolutions – Start a Compost
This is another new year resolution that might make people squeamish, but it can be done. Even if you live in an apartment.
Composting is beneficial for our land, gardens, landfills and overall environment. When we put nutrients back into our land instead of letting it waste away in a landfill it’s a win-win for everyone.
April Resolutions – Zero Waste Bathroom
This one can be one of the tougher zero waste new year resolutions to follow through on, but again it can be done.
You might not find solutions for all the plastic found in the bathroom, here are some easy zero waste resolutions you can start.
Swap your shampoo and conditioner bottles with shampoo and conditioner bars.
Use a safety razor instead of a a plastic, disposable razor. Or at least get a razor where you can replace the blade, though the blades come with their own mountain of plastic packaging.
Use a bar of soap and a luffa, which you can grow right in your backyard.
Bamboo toothbrush and hair brush instead conventional brushes. Not that you need to throw out a perfectly good hair brush to replace with a bamboo brush. However, if you’re like me and you periodically have to replace the hairbrush because all the bristles fell out then replace with a bamboo brush.
As much as I hate to say it toilet paper is another zero waste hurdle. It takes 37 gallons of water to make one roll of toilet paper! A lot of toilet paper companies are using virgin forests and are completely unsustainable. Here are some zero waste toilet paper options you might consider. If you’re feeling particularly hardcore, learn about family cloth.
May Resolutions – Buy in Bulk
Not everyone has access to bulk bins and that’s OK. Just making a decision to buy one 10-lb bag of dried beans instead of 10 1-lb bags of beans is a huge step to reducing plastic waste at home.
However, some grocery stores have options you can buy in bulk from bins. This allows you to bring your own container, purchase the amount you need and take it home almost waste free. This option also allows you to save money in most cases.
Learn more about how to shop in bulk.
June Resolutions – Zero Waste Kitchen
This can be another tough resolution to follow through on. Zero waste kitchen.
First things first- get rid of or put away for a rainy day single use items. Yes, all of them.
The good news is you have the composting down. You also have the buying in bulk down. There’s just a few more things we have to cover.
- Use reusable beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap or bags.
- Use glassware to store leftovers and to use at the bulk bins.
- Use veggie scraps and bones to make bone broth or stock.
- Bring your own produce bag to the store.
- Buying direct from local farmers or meat market helps reduce plastic packaging and miles the food makes to get to your plate.
July Resolutions – Buy Nothing
This is one of the new year resolutions that saves not only tons of packaging, but money too.
There are so many benefits to not buying things. In the past, I’ve tried to do a buy nothing day of the week. I took one day to assess my budget and purchases for the week. Are these things I really need or that you have money for? Yes, there was probably a good sale, but when you stop and think that you could actually save 100 percent by not buying anything at all, it really is a no-brainer.
For me, buying nothing for a day, week or month is also about showing solidarity to the workers who make it. Especially in the electronics department, there is so many human right’s violations that went into making those products.
I try to live a simple life so that others might simply live. Buying less and letting go of the mentality of keeping up with the Jones’ is so freeing. I can focus on saving up for a house or investing my money, instead of living paycheck to paycheck for things I don’t really want or need.
This challenge really helps get your focus on planning ahead and only buying what you need, instead of whatever catches your attention.
August Resolutions – Buy Nothing New
Instead of getting new products made, you can purchase used products from thrift stores, Craigslist or maybe even check into a Buy Nothing New Facebook group or site. Finding a new sale is always exciting, but so it the liberation of not buying things you don’t need. The hunt can go the opposite way. You can hunt at thrift stores or around your local stores and find the cheapest option.
September Resolutions – Make Homemade Cleaners
Homemade cleaners aren’t just a go-green sustainable living thing. They’re perfect for a variety of reasons. People who live a zero-waste or minimalist lifestyle prefer homemade cleaners because instead of buying several different cleaning solutions, they can buy products in bulk and make their own.
Other people enjoy using homemade cleaners because they’re less harsh. This makes them better for us and the environment.
For September, dedicate the month to finding homemade cleaner recipes and getting into the habit of cleaning with them.
October Resolutions – Find Zero Waste Beauty Products
It’s getting easier to find responsible, non-toxic, beauty products, but it can be a bit tough to find zero waste beauty products that work for you. Check out these 6 beauty companies that reusable or recyclable containers.
OR you can do something way better and make your own. I huge a proponent for making your own stuff. You can usually bulk ingredients in bulk or use stuff you already have. If you’re up for it, Going Zero Waste has a huge amount of resources for making your own beauty products.
Because this is a zero waste topic, I have to mention there is a third option. Refuse these products. Not only will it save you a ton of money, it will also save you time. There is nothing wrong with putting effort into our appearance, but the time could be better spent putting effort into other areas of our life.
November Resolutions – Refuse Plastic Packaging
By this time many of our new year resolutions have helped in our fight against wasteful plastic packaging. In this last month before December keep practicing saying no to any plastic before it comes into your home.
December Resolutions – Make Christmas Gifts
This is the final step of these 12 New Year resolutions. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Before we celebrate too much, we have one last zero waste goal to accomplish. Zero waste Christmas gifts.
There are several components to a zero waste Christmas, but they go in line with the goals we’ve accomplished all year.
We’re limiting extra packaging, reusing the packaging that we have, and being extra careful of what we bring in the house.
You can skip the wrapping paper, use repurposed paper bows, or use old paper sacks or newspaper to wrap your gifts in.
In you’re looking for gifts for co-workers or some other large group, mason jar recipes are a great gift that people can eat and make at their leisure. I love to make gifts, such as upcycled ornaments, crochet creations, any other handmade gift that personal to the receiver or gifting experiences.
Let us know in the comments, your zero waste New Year resolutions from last year. What were your successes and pitfalls-we want to know!
Looking for more New Year resolutions, check out these sustainable living posts:
Sustainable New Year Resolutions – Zero Waste Wisdom
16 Ways to Save Money Every Month – Little Sprouts Learning Garden
New Year Resolutions for the DIYer – Curbside Overhaul
Tips to Find Vintage Books – Pink Paper Doll
Sustainable Goals for the New Years – The Good Life with Amy French
Sustainable New Year Resolutions – Design Life Hacks
Green Sustainable Resolutions – Skip the Bag
Don’t forget to pin these Zero Waste New Year resolutions for later!