14 Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions Worth Sticking To
At Wild Clouds, we think sustainability starts at home. Whether that’s making greener choices or using your voice to demand better, we all have a part to play in protecting our planet.
One quote we live by is that “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly” - and it’s true! Individual actions can have a powerful, accumulative effect and drive wider change. Besides, if we only accepted anything but perfect, nobody would be able to join the sustainability movement. We’re all welcome here.
With only a quarter of people sticking to their New Year’s resolutions, it’s better to start small and slowly introduce new habits into your everyday routine. It’s also important to remember why you set these goals in the first place as a source of motivation.
If you’re after some inspiration, here are 14 small steps we can all take to make the world a better place to live in, in 2022.
1) Cherish what you already own: It’s a common misconception that sustainability is something you buy. After learning about fast fashion or plastic waste, many of us rush out to buy sustainable alternatives and chuck away old purchases out of guilt - which inadvertently creates more waste! It’s a cliché but the most sustainable garment is the one already hanging up in your wardrobe, and this applies to all of our belongings. Sustainability starts with cherishing what you already own and using up what you already have. Maybe that’s finally getting around to taking your need-to-be-altered clothes pile to the tailors or vowing to store your electrical goods properly.
2) Put secondhand first: Speaking of pre-loved, why not challenge yourself to say no to new this year Shopping second-hand is ultimately the most sustainable way to shop because you’re giving a new lease of life to an unloved item. In the fashion world, this prevents unwanted clothing from going to waste and joining the 13 million items of clothing that end up in UK landfill every week. By prioritising stuff already in circulation, your purchase helps to offset an item’s environmental impact and reduce the demand for new. These days, there’s so many places to find new-to-you items, like swapping and rental platforms, resale apps, vintage stores, charity shops, car boot sales and local selling pages to name just a few!
3) Use your voice: As consumer citizens, we have a collective power to call brands and governments to account. This can take many forms, like supporting labour rights campaigns, signing petitions, donating to climate change funds, sharing infographics, lobbying MPs for stricter regulations, reporting violations of the Green Claims Code to the ASA and asking brands #WhoMadeMyClothes. Reserving just a few hours a month to advocate for change can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects.
4) Cut back on plastic waste: The world produces an estimated 300 million tonnes of plastic waste yearly, of which a mere 9% has ever been recycled. Plastic pollution is harmful to the planet, threatening ocean biodiversity, wildlife habitats and human health. Carrying reusable utensils - like straws, cutlery and coffee cups - and cutting down on single-use household waste is an affordable and admirable resolution for 2022.
5) Cook more plant-based meals: With Veganuary in full swing, there’s no better time to cut down on your meat and dairy consumption. With benefits for the animals, the environment and even your health, a global shift to plant-based eating can help reduce greenhouse gasses by up to 70% and preserve water and land. So, why not take the Veganuary pledge to eat vegan for 31 days and beyond. When you sign the pledge, you’re guided along the way with tasty meal plans, nutrition guides and daily coaching emails. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could next try to veganise your toiletries cupboard, makeup bag or wardrobe. P.s. we’re a 100% vegan clothing brand!
6) Go natural: Did you know that household cleaning products are some of the most toxic substances we’re exposed to in our everyday life? From ammonia and chlorine bleach to aerosols and toluene, many household brands contain toxic chemicals that are linked to health problems such as dermatitis, headaches and cancer. Switching to natural products this year is a no-brainer. Made from common kitchen ingredients like water, baking soda, coconut and white vinegar, you could even make your own!
7) Buy organic, seasonal produce: When you opt for organic, you’re buying food you can trust. Organic produce is grown without pesticides, additives and genetic modification, contains more vitamins and minerals and creates healthy soil. Some researchers estimate that large-scale organic farming could even reverse insect decline. Plus, by shopping seasonally, your produce is more nutritionally dense and likely travelled less air miles to reach your basket. If you want to take your resolution one step further, you could even grow your own!
8) Take more public transport: Increased use of public transport can lead to a significant reduction in carbon emissions, air pollution and road congestion. In fact, by switching from a 20-mile commute alone by car to public transportation, you can reduce your annual CO2 emissions by more than 48,000 pounds per year - the equivalent of a 10% reduction in greenhouse gases produced by an average two-adult, two-car household. If the bus or train isn’t for you, cycling is even better for the planet and your health.
9) Avoid palm oil: Found in food, cosmetics, cleaning products and fuel, palm oil is linked to environmental and human rights abuses. Palm oil production is greatly responsible for habitat destruction and the endangerment of orangutans, having caused 8% of the world’s deforestation between 1990 and 2008. Among its 3.7 workforce, the palm oil industry employs thousands of child labourers in poor working conditions. While tricky, cutting down on palm oil sends a clear message that your values and spending align.
10) Switch banks: When you trust a bank with your money, the last thing you expect them to do is use it to invest in fossil fuels. Sadly, that’s the reality for many UK banks who finance fracking sites, coal mines and oil pipelines. HSBC alone has spent over $100 billion on fossil fuels since the signing of the Paris Agreement. If you’re looking to put your money where your mouth is, this guide gives you the lowdown on switching to an environmentally friendly bank that funds new renewables in the UK. Once you’ve made the switch, remember to use this handy letter template to tell your old bank exactly why you’re switching
11) Reduce food waste: A staggering 4.5 million tonnes of edible food is thrown away by UK households every year. That’s a lot of meal potential going to waste. The good news is that reducing food waste can save the average family of four over £60 per month. To achieve this goal, a good place to start is meal planning, meal prepping and buying the exact amount of ingredients you need. Storing food correctly, using up leftovers and composting scraps are also useful tips. When you’re eating out, don’t be afraid to ask for a doggy bag!
12) Rethink your laundry routine: Committing to a more frugal washing cycle is not only good for the planet, but also for protecting your clothes. Taking the time to read the washing instructions, visit your local dry cleaners and hanging clothes up to dry can go a long way in maximising their wearability. You can also save money with a low-energy wash by lowering the temperature and using eco-friendly detergents. If you wash lots of polyester-derived garments, it may be worth investing in a guppy bag which captures shedded microfibres otherwise destined for local waterways.
13) Switch browsers: The internet is as popular as ever but this popularity comes with a hidden cost. Ever-growing traffic requires ever-growing servers which account for an estimated 3.7% of global carbon emissions. Switching to an eco-friendly browser like Ecosia helps offset this impact. Ecosia use income generated from search ads to plant trees. They are entirely transparent in their reforesting mission, publishing monthly financial reports and tree planting receipts.
14) Support small, local businesses: After multiple lockdowns, small businesses need our support more than ever. We’re big believers in shopping small and local all year round and it’s easy to see why. Small businesses are the blueprint for sustainably-made, ethically-produced items and giving back to the local community. Your purchase helps fund a dream and vision for a better world.