By Christa Adams
Delete your social media. Get a gym membership. Cut out alcohol. Perfectly attainable goals — ideal for that New Year’s Eve to-do list. Help save the world from plastic pollution, climate change, and mass extinction? Maybe not so much. Which is why broad-reaching, non-specific goals — especially ones that can feel overwhelming — tend to be discarded and forgotten by the middle of February.
So, if you want to make a difference for people and planet alike in the year ahead, it’s critical to identify your intentions and set goals that feel attainable. Any — or all — of these 10 sustainable New Year’s resolutions for 2023 are sure to make a positive impact.
1. Bring a reusable cup
Whether it’s your morning coffee from your favorite cafe or water on your lunch break, bring your own reusable cup for a more sustainable 2023. You can get specific about this goal to best fit your lifestyle. Some ideas for making a reusable cup part of your New Year’s resolution?
- Never use a single-use coffee cup in 2023.
- If you forget your reusable mug, sit in, and ask for your beverage to be served accordingly.
- Bring your reusable water bottle to work every day. This cuts down on those flimsy plastic cups a lot of offices use for water.
- Carry an extra reusable cup for your forgetful friend or coworker. Making 2023 more sustainable is all about spreading the message.
2. Don’t buy fast fashion
Stand against the environmental impact of fast fashion by passing it up completely in 2023 (and beyond). It’s hard to live sustainably and still support fast fashion after all. From its waste, excessive water consumption, microplastics, carbon emissions, and treatment of its workers, fast fashion brands need to be held accountable. While signing petitions and raising awareness is excellent, the best thing you can do is stop supporting these brands and encourage your friends and families to do the same.
3. Build a capsule wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a smaller selection of interchangeable clothing pieces that complement each other to maximize the number of outfits. This is one of the best sustainable New Year’s resolutions to pair with quitting fast fashion. This helps you change the way you look at fashion and shopping while encouraging you to hone your personal style. If you need some inspiration for creating a capsule wardrobe, check out this awesome guide.
4. Switch out household products for more sustainable ones
Resolve to give up toxic products in your home in 2023. Take inventory and be conscious about what is in your house. Find a natural alternative to room spray, introduce eco-friendly laundry strips instead of toxic liquid detergent, and use a natural alternative to surface cleaners. They’re all easier to find than you think!
5. Eat better meat, and eat less of it
The meat industry accounts for roughly 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production. Beyond that, it causes deforestation and forest fires while killing wildlife along the way. This isn’t even to mention the treatment of employees and the animals living in captivity.
Instead, make a specific goal to eat less meat in 2023. For example, you can try Meatless Mondays to cut meat out of your diet for a full day a week. Or you can allow yourself to eat meat just once a day. Maybe you’ll outright decide to be a vegetarian for 2023! It’s also important to research the quality of your meat. Support organic and sustainable farms by buying meat locally and choosing grass-fed beef and dairy, pasture-raised poultry, and eggs, as well as foraged pork. These are better for the planet, kinder on the animals, and have lower carbon emissions.
6. Bring reusable bags
Here’s a fantastic sustainable New Year’s resolution for 2023! Make a goal to not use any single-use shopping bags. Instead, always bring reusable bags when you go grocery shopping. If you bought more than you expected and can’t fit everything in the bags you have, many shops sell reusable bags for $1 or less. Otherwise, most stores also have paper bags — even if they’re not on display. Just ask!
7. Walk, cycle, or take public transportation more
Find a way to make this a specific goal! Maybe you can cycle to work twice a week, walk to the park instead of driving there, or prioritize public transportation over using your vehicle. If you need some facts on why you should drive less, here’s how environmentally impactful it can be.
8. Buy secondhand
Think about it: there’s so much excess stuff on this planet. Set an intentional New Year’s resolution of buying secondhand before buying new. From dishware and home decor to clothing and games, it is so easy to buy secondhand — and it’s one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions in 2023. Head to your local charity shop or thrift store, check online secondhand marketplaces, or use apps like Poshmark and Depop.
9. Invest in a composter
Composting turns otherwise methane-producing, rotting garbage into a valuable soil enhancer that helps plants thrive. It is “black gold” for farmers! You can create your own compost pile yourself or invest in a compost machine that makes it a hassle-free experience. (Combine this goal with our No. 10 New Year’s resolution for a wonderfully sustainable 2023!) Food waste is one of the most overlooked contributors to climate change. When food waste goes to the landfill, it releases methane which is 25 times more potent than C02. So, make the year ahead a more sustainable one by composting your food waste instead of sending it to the dump.
10. Start a home garden
While buying locally is a great way to be more sustainable, level up by making some of your own food at home. We’ve convinced ourselves that we can’t do something because we’ve been given easy alternatives, but it’s not as hard as you may think. Plus, knowing how to grow food is one of the most essential skills our ancestors had! Don’t leave it up to the major corporations that pump low-quality fruits and vegetables with harmful pesticides. It’s also incredibly easy to grow food from food scraps, propagate clippings, and create a rewarding hobby right at home! Your family will be proud, and you’ll feel good about not having to rely on the supermarket for all your groceries. And if you want to try any of the food scrap methods, be sure to support local farmers for a more sustainable 2023!