5 Green Resolutions for the Not-So-Green

Every time a new year rolls around, we’re asked to make resolutions that will help us become better individuals. However, year after year, a lot of us bite off more than we can chew. From vowing to go to the gym every day, to eating only organic food, to never buying anything plastic ever again — they’re great goals, but for a lot of folks, they’re just not always realistic.

So, for those of us who wish we were eco-warriors, but resemble something more like eco-weaklings, here are some green resolutions that don’t require heavy lifting:

1. Cut back on bottled water.

Reusable water bottles are in these days — pick one up if you don’t have one, or, if you do, commit to making that bottle your sidekick. Bottled water isn’t necessarily cleaner or better-tasting than the tap (learn more from this video by The Story of Stuff Project). Also, it’s far more expensive for both you and the planet. A reusable bottle won’t only save you money, it’ll also give you that hip, eco-conscious air you’ve secretly been wanting to cultivate.

2. Remember your reusable shopping bags.

We’ve all been there — on our way into a store, passing through the doors and oh-so-excited to tackle our list, when we realize we forgot something — our reliable canvas tote. Bags at the store now cost at least 10 cents a piece, so bringing your own just makes good business sense. Make a habit of keeping one or two in your car at all times so they’re ready to go when you’re on your way home from work, or decide to skip the gym in favor of a shopping trip.

3. Drive less.

We’re not saying, “Stop driving.” It’s not like we live in Manhattan. But driving a little less isn’t that hard. Ask around to see if your friends know anyone who takes the same route to work as you do, and see if you can merge schedules enough to carpool a couple times a week. Fill the air in your bike tires and have it ready to go (short distances, that is) on good weather days. Take the bus when it’s direct and you have a good book or podcast at hand. And group your errands so that you don’t have to make several trips, several times a week — one bulk run to one area is far more economical.

4. Buy less stuff.

Similar to the above sentiment, we don’t advocate fashioning everything you own from fallen tree branches or junkyard scraps. At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to simplify your lifestyle. Take some healthy space from “fast fashion,” which encourages compulsive overspending. Try to repair items before deeming them truly broken. And consider the lifespan of an item before making a purchasing decision — you don’t want to be bogged down by unnecessary replacement shopping. After all, an uncluttered life leads to an uncluttered mind, right?

5. Recycle more.

Now this one is easy. Not sure if something can be recycled, or how? Look it up in our recycling guide. Then, subscribe to our weekly collection reminders to make sure you never forget recycling day, and you’ll get weekly recycling tips, too. Just keep in mind that reducing and reusing come first — recycling is a last resort.

Now, wasn’t that easy? Remember: Every little bit helps. You don’t have to be an eco-warrior to make a difference.