New Year’s resolutions have a bad rep, but for a good reason. Most of us fail to stick to them and most of us end up sitting on the sofa, annoyed that we couldn’t become a runner or lose weight once again. At Spruce we are not fans of these kinds of resolutions, they are punishing and don’t do us any good. What we believe in, however, is the power of small changes. This year we challenge you to make only 1-2 simple swaps in your day to day life, to lead a slightly more eco-conscious lifestyle. And before you know, you will become a sustainability guru. Here are some suggestions for sustainable New Year's resolutions for 2022 from the Spruce HQ!
Buy local and from small businesses -there are many benefits of buying locally made products!
“I am going to try harder to eat food that is in season and buy from local markets instead of supermarkets” Eleni, wordsmith at Spruce
“I am going to try and shop from more small businesses / zero-waste refill shops, instead of the big chains.” Steph, Social Media guru at Spruce
Buying your food locally is excellent for the planet. It reduces your food miles - it has been recorded that the average item of fresh food travels 1,500 miles to arrive on our plates. Buying food from local markets will reduce air pollution and fuel consumption significantly. It's also easily accessible to get to local markets for most people, as easy as it is to get to a supermarket. The products you source locally are usually fresher and organic. But it's always important to check with the person you are buying off, but local markets usually sell fruit and vegetables that are free from toxins such as pesticides.
Small, local businesses tend to adopt more green practices than large chains, such as limiting single-use plastic and selling items / food which is sustainably sourced. Shopping at them helps your local community, it helps build local jobs, it boosts the local economy and you will find higher quality products. There are so many low-waste shops springing up around the country that you can pay a visit to. Don’t know where your package free shop is? Check out this guide to the best local refill stores around the country.
Take up cycling as your New Year's Resolution
It is the best way to travel around cities, so why not give it a go!
“I am committing to cycling to places instead of getting the tube” Sofya, Chief Marketer at Spruce
There are tons of benefits of cycling, including to our health and the environment. Cycling helps to reduce the risk of illnesses such as depression, heart disease and obesity. It also increases your energy and lowers stress levels. The planet will love you if you decide to cycle or walk places when possible. Greenpeace states that cycling is ten times more important than electric cars for reaching the goal of net-zero in cities. Walking and cycling don’t emit ANY greenhouse gases, which helps to reduce air pollutants and reduce the impact of climate change. In a lot of cities, schemes are popping up, so you don’t even have to commit to buying a bike.
Switch out disposable razors for safety razors
Did you know that you have an environmental impact when shaving?
“I am going to cut out as many unnecessary disposable products (for example, razors) from my life and replace with them reusable options” Alex, top Salesman at Spruce
Disposable razors are usually made up of many materials such as plastic and rubber, which make them impossible to recycle. This causes them to end up in landfills and pollute our water systems. A safety razor is made out of planet-friendly materials such as metal or bamboo. These razors are long-lasting and all you have to change every few weeks is the metal blades. Don’t worry, contrary to popular belief safety razors aren’t actually hard to use, there are tons of tutorials online. Simple swaps like this are the best for New Year resolutions, as they are easy to stick to and are highly impactful at reducing unnecessary waste.
Try some stylish plastic-free period products as your New Year resolution
“I’m going to make the switch to sustainable period products as it’s one small change that will have a massive effect each month” Helena, Social Media expert at Spruce
It is estimated that 2.5 billion tampons, 1.4 million pads and 700,000 pantyliners were flushed down the toilet in the UK each day. 200,000 tonnes of menstrual waste goes into landfills each year in the UK. Tampons and pads also contain toxic chemicals such as chlorine, rayon and dioxin. When these products are disposed of and sent to landfills, these chemicals are released causing air and water pollution. Aim to get plastic-free, toxic chemical free, reusable and biodegradable period products.
Food waste is a problem in the UK, but don’t worry, there arefood waste solutions!
“I am going to make more of an effort to reduce my food waste such as meal planning and making compost in my garden.” Zara, Content Writer at Spruce
Food production requires lots of resources such as water, land and energy. A study by WRAP found that the UK was responsible for 9.52 billion tonnes of food waste in 2018. To reduce your food waste you can write a meal plan for the week, freeze leftovers and defrost when ready to eat, make a compost in your garden, use some foods to make decorations, make fermented foods, freeze your vegetables and fruit if you think it will be going out of date soon and don’t buy more than you need for the week. (As they say, don’t shop when you are hungry.)
Commit to buying second hand clothing, good for the planet and affordable
“I want to only buy from vintage shops, second-hand shops or do clothes swaps” Liv, sustainability policy at Spruce.
Greenpeace has highlighted how bad fast fashion is for the environment. They state that fast fashion is the world’s second-largest polluter after the oil industry. The production alone releases the equivalent of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2.We have an article on our blog explaining what fast fashion is, the environmental benefits of buying second-hand clothing and how to get started with it all. If you are joining Liv on only shopping second hand, it is important to remember that it is okay to slip up. You can’t always find essentials in second hand shops.
Opt foreco-friendly cleaning products
Our favourite NY resolutions ever! Switching your cleaning products in your home for more sustainable ones, is one of the easiest eco-friendly swaps you can make. You get the eternity bottle once and plastic-free refills get delivered right through your letterbox. Hassle free, eco-friendly and Made in the UK (+free shipping!)
How to stick to your new resolutions:
Don’t choose lots of resolutions, just choose one or two so it's not overwhelming
Take small steps and pick resolutions that will bring you joy to your life (it makes them easier to stick to)
Put them into a diary to fit into your schedule or write a to-do list, but don’t worry if your schedule changes or you need a break sometimes
Remember that it's a process and things take time
Do some resolutions with family or friends such as a new hobby, they can support you and encourage you along the way and visa versa
Write a list of the reasons why you are doing these resolution and refer to the list on days that you are feeling unmotivated
Write about your progress when you can - it's nice to see how far you have come
We hope this guide on sustainable NY resolutions for 2022 gives you some inspiration. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Spruce!
Written by Zara Huxley
More on the blog: Visit a Zero Waste Shop Near You