It's that time of the year again. You know, the new year, new me one?
Every year, we pledge to a fresh start with grand resolutions, hoping that this time it will be different. If the past few year have taught us anything, it's that nothing ever goes as planned.
How long do New Year's resolutions last?
Valentine's day. Research shows that's exactly how long most people's new year's resolutions last.
You're not alone, most people struggle to stick to their resolutions. The more drastic the change, the shorter-lived it will be. The most popular one of getting in better shape and shedding the extra Christmas pudding weight lasts for just a few weeks and only adds to unused gym membership fees.
The good news is that it's not because humans inherently struggle to change their habits. It's because people typically set unrealistic goals that are too hard to keep. Instead of radical lifestyle alterations, we recommend adopting small, sustainable changes.
While the pandemic resulted in some environmental gains and lower greenhouse gas emissions, it has also resulted in increased use of single-use plastics. We totally get the hygiene concerns, but we must realise that we're running out of time to save our precious planet.
Here is our quick guide to sustainable new year's resolutions aka small lifestyle changes that'll have a long-lasting impact on addressing the climate crisis and set you on a path to zero-waste living.
1. Buy less-plastic produce
Commit to buying plastic-free veggies from your local farmers market or subscribe to an online package-free fruit and veg box delivery. You'll soon realise how easy it is. We can promise you it will motivate you to buy less plastic-packaged items regularly.
Greenpeace estimates that leading UK supermarkets produce more than 1.2 billion plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. Hardly any get recycled. Most end up polluting our soil, oceans and eventually contaminate the very vegetables we purchase with microplastics. Talk about going full circle. A small change of buying produce at your local farmers market can reduce that impact drastically and in many cases, save you money.
2. Switch to a reusable water bottle.
In the UK, you can drink tap water. Thankfully, water refill stations are also popping up everywhere. Using a reusable water bottle is the simplest way to reduce your plastic footprint.
You might think that this is an obvious one, but the UK is still buying approximately 38.5 million plastic bottles a day. Less than half of those get recycled. Switching to reusable water bottles will save money, the planet and keep you hydrated.
3. Adopt simple zero-waste swaps
Beeswax wraps can seem pricey, especially when compared to the price of single-use plastic clingfilm. But it will help you save money in the long run and reduce your plastic waste dramatically. Beeswax wraps keep the food fresh and will last for years at a time, especially if you refresh them once in a while.
You can help reduce the 1.2 billion meters of plastic cling film used by British households every day. Shocking, isn't it?
4. Go for Meatless Mondays
Research says that a vegan diet is one of the single most impactful change that you can make to help our ailing planet. However, it's not easy to adhere to drastic lifestyle changes. Some claim that if every UK family ditched meat for a single meal a week, it'll have the same environmental impact as taking 16 million cars off the road.
As a bonus, you'll end up trying new recipes and cuisines that no doubt will become staples in your home.
5. Unsubscribe from fast fashion
Fast fashion brands are wreaking havoc on the planet with their cheap, mostly plastic-based, clothing with built-in obsolescence. That means these clothes are made with the purpose of becoming obsolete after one or two wears - the concept of single-use clothing. Blegh!
These cannot be easily recycled or donated as they are barely reusable. Fast fashion brands rip off original designs, offer cheap quality clothing and also treat their workers extremely inhumanely akin to modern-day slavery.
We recommend unfollowing their accounts on social media and unsubscribing from their email updates, so you can purge your mailbox and Insta feeds of the virus that is fast fashion.
6. Switch to single-use plastic-free cleaning products
Pretty much all cleaning products come in single-use plastic bottles, most of which don't get recycled due to the toxic, heavy-duty chemicals that come inside. With Spruce, you can make an easy switch without leaving your home and upgrade your cleaning game to a new level. We’ve taken the hassle out of eco-friendly and refillable cleaning products, so you find it easy to switch to a low-waste home.
The overall theme of these small lifestyle changes is clear. We’ve got just this one planet. Recycling is a myth. The fate of Planet Earth and that of our future generations is in our hands. And most importantly, we shouldn’t wait to do things perfectly or for someone else to fix it for us. Just get started.
You get the vibe.
Words by Sofya Zakharova