5 Green New Year’s Resolutions to Reduce Waste

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Start the year off right & commit to supporting the planet with these 5 green New Year’s resolutions to help reduce waste around the home…

Welcome back! We took a little break last year, but we are excited to be back in action here on the blog, and ready to share more helpful tips and resources for living a greener and more sustainable life!

The start of a New Year is a great time to make positive changes in your life, and one good way to do this is by resolving to live more sustainably this year. This doesn’t mean you have to move back to the land or give up all of your creature comforts. Indeed, there are hundreds of small habits you can implement in your life that won’t take up much of your time (or money), but over time, can make a big difference for the planet.

For example, the 5 simple green habits below will get you started down the path towards sustainable living by helping you reduce waste in several areas of your life.

1. Kick the paper towel habit 

Instead of using paper towels, make cotton rags from worn-out clothing, towels, blankets, sheets, or cloth diapers. When making rags, remove zippers, hems, and other obstructions; save buttons for later use; and cut fabric into roughly 18-inch-by-18-inch pieces.

Beware of using synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester, as they are not as absorbent. These fabrics, however, may come in handy for use as rags that are too soiled to wash, from activities such as painting or auto maintenance.

TIP: To save energy, line-dry rags whenever possible.

2. Stop stocking disposable food packaging

Plastic wrap, sandwich bags, wax paper, and aluminum foil may be convenient, but they also leave a trail of waste and can be difficult to recycle. The best way to kick the habit is to stop stocking the kitchen with these items and to have a supply of jars and other reusable food containers on hand.

3. Extend the life of your kitchen sponges

Although it is not obvious, kitchen sponges are often saturated with disease-causing bacteria from uncooked eggs and meat. Many people put sponges in the dishwasher, but this isn’t highly effective in killing germs. Instead, microwave your sponges to sanitize them, thus extending their useful life.

A 2007 study found that this practice can kill 99% of living germs and bacterial spores, including E. coli. More recently, a 2020 study supported these findings.

  • To effectively kill germs, moisten the sponge and put it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  • Beware of microwaving the sponge while it is dry, and exercise caution when removing the sponge from the microwave, as it can be very hot.
  • Old kitchen sponges can also be reused for less-sanitary purposes once they are no longer fit for use on dishes.

4. Compost organic waste

In my household, our compost bin easily diverts more than half of our waste from landfills. Simply chop food scraps into 1-inch pieces so they can break down more easily, and aerate your compost pile weekly with a pitchfork. Incorporate yard waste as well to help maintain the ideal brown-to-green ratio and to divert even more waste. If yard space is limited, a worm bin may work for you.

5. Make homemade cleaning supplies

In addition to reducing the prevalence of toxins in your home and saving money, this tip can also significantly save on packaging, especially when you purchase the ingredients in bulk.

Glass cleaner, laundry powder, laundry stain remover, and natural disinfectants are all simple and good choices to make yourself. Check out these DIY recipes to get started.

Find More Green New Year’s Resolutions at Earth911.com


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