First thing’s first: Happy 2019, everyone!
While we’ve been super busy thinking about ways to better ourselves in the New Year (surf more! eat better!), we couldn’t forget about our resolutions to make our planet better, too. And just in case that’s on your mind, too, we came up with 12 simple strategies—one for each month—to make 2019 your greenest year yet. You can take our approach and choose one strategy to adopt each month, or go big and bold by starting all 12 ASAP!
January: Make your own non-toxic cleaning products
Have a big mess to manage after all the holiday chaos? Kick off the year by making your own non-toxic cleaning products instead of using the standard chemical-filled products. Click here to check out 10 all-natural and effective homemade cleaning solutions.
February: Watch your thermostat
In most places across the country, February can be downright chilly. But instead of cranking up the thermostat, try to keep your energy usage (and utility bills) low by only turning on the heat while you’re home. And while you’re at it, forego heat altogether by using your fireplace instead, or toss on an extra layer or two to fight off the cold. After all, what’s more romantic than cozying up by the fire?!
March: More veggies, less meat!
A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the production, processing and distribution of meat requires huge amounts of pesticides, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water, while also releasing greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water. Yuck! That’s why cutting back on your meat consumption goes a long way toward helping the environment. Can’t go vegetarian? Opt for organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat and dairy products when possible, or try Meatless Mondays in March as an easy way to make an impact!
April: Clear the clutter
’Tis the season for spring cleaning! So this April, go the Marie Kondo route and get rid of excess items in your home and closet that you simply don’t love or use. Adopting a more minimalist lifestyle won’t just help your stress levels; it also reduces the amount of products you use that eventually end up in landfills!
May: Walk & bike more, drive less
As the weather starts warming up in May, try walking or biking to work at least once a week to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from your car. It’s not only better for you, but also for the environment!
June: Eat local
It’s officially farmer’s market season, and there’s no better place to find delicious and fresh local foods than at your local farmer’s market! You’ll not only help lower transportation emissions (since your food isn’t traveling quite so far), but you’ll also boost your local economy. Total win-win!
July: Use reef-friendly sunscreen
Hot July weather = sunshine, beach time and sunburns (bummer!). Although wearing sunscreen is vital for protecting your skin from the dangerous effects of the sun, many sunscreens contain ingredients that are damaging our ocean’s coral reefs. Luckily, there are great, reef-friendly alternatives, like this Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion from Sun Bum.
August: Save some water
While we love sunny August days, this time of year can often lead to hot, dry weather in many areas of the country, meaning the chances for a water shortage are much higher. Try your hand at conserving water by taking shorter showers, turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, and always waiting until you have a full load before using your washing machine or dishwasher.
September: Freeze food while it’s in season
As the weather starts to cool down in September, head to your local farmer’s market and stock up on all the fresh, local product while it’s still in season, then freeze it for the winter! New to freezing? No worries! Click here to learn how to properly store and freeze your food!
October: Opt for reusable mugs and straws
It’s October (aka pumpkin-everything season)! This year, try bringing your own reusable mug or straw when ordering your favorite drink. We promise your pumpkin spice latte will taste sooo much better knowing you saved another cup from ending up in a landfill!
November: Be mindful of food waste
Even though we have a habit of overindulging at Thanksgiving, there’s still a ton of excess food that gets thrown away each year. How much exactly? According to one study, about 204 million pounds of turkey can be thrown away over Thanksgiving. This is not only a huge waste of money, but also a waste of all the natural resources needed to get that turkey to the table. Another study estimates that the amount of discarded turkey requires more than 100 billion gallons of water—enough to supply New York City for 100 days! This year, try to plan your portions and leftovers accordingly to reduce the amount of waste.
December: Recycle your cards & wrapping paper
Sure, the holiday season can be hectic, but taking the time to recycle your cards, wrapping paper and Christmas trees can seriously reduce the amount of waste ending up in our landfills. Try purchasing plain wrapping paper instead of anything metallic or glittery so it can be recycled. Better yet, use old newspaper! Same goes for cards: Plain paper cards can easily be recycled, buy the shiny ones on photo paper or versions with metallic embossing have to be thrown away.
We love our planet, and are proud to do our part!
Do you have any other green resolutions for this year? If so, comment below! We’d love to hear them!