New year, New (Eco- Conscious) You

WRITTEN BY Hannah Byrne

January 14, 2023

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New year, New (Eco- Conscious) You

Hannah Byrne

14 Jan, 2023

Now that the 2022 recaps are over and the tiktoks to Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars have been posted, that brings around one thing… new year’s resolutions. Love them or hate them, they are the hot topic on everyone’s lips in January. 

It is also the time of year when many people decide to make sustainable and eco-conscious changes in their lives. For instance, if your Instagram timeline is anything like mine, you will have seen countless ads for “Veganuary”, one of the newest eco focused resolutions to gain popularity, pop up. While it is a great idea for people who are dedicated to the idea and can sustain it, the pressure to make big life changes like this can seem daunting to many. It can also be discouraging to start a new year feeling downtrodden about not making resolutions, or with resolutions that you cannot sustain. 

If you feel like you want to make some eco conscious changes to your life in 2023 and don’t know where to start this year, fear not! Below are a list of small changes that you can make over the coming months in reducing, reusing, and recycling, that will benefit both the environment and be sustainable for long periods. So here is a list of some sustainable resolutions you can make this year. 

 

Reduce your food waste

Nobody likes throwing out food, not only is it bad for the environment, but it is also wasting your hard-earned cash. MyWaste.ie stated that the average Irish home is responsible for 117kg of food waste per year, totalling between 400 and 1000 per year! This year, make it your resolution to cut down on how much food ends up in your waste bin. According to a study done by the Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland generated 770,300 tonnes of food waste in 2020. They state that this is a significant contributor to climate change. So, what can you do to help? 

Reducing your food waste may sound like a difficult task, especially for people living busy lives, but really all it comes down to is a few minutes of planning each week. Before you go to the supermarket each week, take some time to sit down and plan what meals you will make that week. Alongside that, write down what ingredients are used for each dish. Seeing this visually on a page can help you to quantify how much of each foodstuff you need to purchase regularly, and in what quantities. And while you are in the supermarket, pick up items with less plastic packaging, reducing both your food and nonbiodegradable waste.

 

Find a reusable bag

Who said being eco-conscious can’t be fashionable? Gone are the days of torn plastic shopping bags, enter 2023 with a fashionable new tote ready for any adventure. Make it your resolution to pick up a stylish tote bag and reuse it each time you buy something. Keep near the door of your house or folded up inside a handbag so that it will be with you whenever you need it. Alongside helping the environment and cutting down on the number of plastic bags that are being used and sent to landfills, you are also adding a cute accessory to any ‘fit.

Even better, if you are feeling crafty you can make your own tote bag out of old clothes. Repurposing old clothes into something new can develop your sewing skills, boost creativity and save you money, all while being environmentally friendly. A quick google search will bring up many tutorials for people with different sewing skills about how to repurpose old fabric into different sized bags. A resolution and an activity for a dreary January day rolled into one.

 

Recycle your waste both at home and while out 

This one may seem like a small change, but when done consistently it can make a big difference. Although many people do their best to recycle when they are at home, when they go out into a shopping centre, park, or airport they dump everything in the closest bin. So, in 2023, make an extra effort to locate recycling facilities when out and about, walk those extra few metres to a recycling bin, or if there are none, write an email to the manager of the location and request the addition of recycling facilities. The few extra steps, or extra minutes to separate your waste, can have a big impact.

Take some time this January to learn about what can and can’t be recycled, some products don’t have a recycling symbol but can still be safely recycled. Another small change that goes a long way is to remember the harm in ‘wishcycling’. ‘Wishcycling’ is when a person puts something into a recycling bin that cannot be recycled, and although they feel as though they have done their bit for the environment, in reality it does more harm than good. Many of us are guilty of this from time to time, despite somebody’s best intentions it is an easy mistake to make – so this year do a mental check before placing something into a recycling bin. If you have a product that is recyclable but has food residue on it or it is wet, it cannot be recycled. Adding it to a recycling bin can contaminate other items. So, if in doubt, check it out!

You may want to start small with one of the ideas above, or you could dive in the deep end and try them all! What matters is doing what feels right for you and will help you step into 2023 with your best foot forward.

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