Eco-Friendly Tips for the New Year — Going Green in 2024

As we ring in the new year, many of us are looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. There are so many ways to reduce our environmental impact and being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be difficult.

Here are a few simple tips that can help you reduce your environmental impact in 2023!

Ditch The Paper Towels And Opt For Reusable Cloths Instead

Stop wasting money and making mountains of waste in your kitchen by ditching paper towels. Instead, opt for reusable cloths. Not only are reusable cloths better for the environment, but they will also save you a pretty penny in the long run.

You can find them online or even make your own with an old dishcloth. The best part is, when they’ve done their job, simply throw them in the wash and you’re ready to go again. So get rid of those wasteful paper towels today and start using reusable cloths.

Bring Your Own Bags to The Grocery Store – Say No to Plastic

Going to the grocery store can be a hassle but there is something we can all do to help protect our environment while shopping – bring your own bags.

We’ve all seen those harmful plastic bags floating in trees and waterways, but by bringing our own alternatives, such as bags made of reusable cotton or washable canvas, we are putting our money (literally!) where our mouth is when it comes to protecting the planet.

Not only does this reduce the number of plastic bags being created, but it also helps us organize everything in a single, reusable bag. So next time you head out for groceries, say no to plastic! Make a simple change that will benefit both yourself and the planet.

Tip: If you’re buying the cloth bags (especially those infamous Woolworths ones) try to remember to bring them back rather than buying more each trip.

Invest in Some Energy-Efficient Appliances

Thinking about ways to lower your monthly energy bills? With Eskom’s constant tariff increases, this is a win-win situation.

Investing in some energy-efficient appliances is one of the best and easiest decisions you can make. Newer, energy-efficient appliances are designed to use significantly less energy and money overall compared to the older models, meaning you’ll save a whole lot of money on your electric bill over time.

Not only will you save some cash in the long run, but these appliances are also more reliable due to their sophisticated technology. This means you don’t have to worry about them breaking down or malfunctioning as often as regular appliances might.

Read more: Surviving Loadshedding with alternative energy

Drive Less; Walk or Bike More

Cutting down on your car rides is a great way to start living a greener and healthier lifestyle. Walking or biking more often will not only help you stay more connected with nature and your community, but it’s much better for the environment than driving.

And think of all of the money you can save – no need to buy gas and maintain your vehicle as often. So put on those sneakers and take a nice stroll around your neighborhood today – you’ll be glad you did.

Can’t walk to where you need to go? Opt for carpooling as much as possible. Whether you and a girlfriend do shopping trips together, or a colleague hops in with you to work.

Think Twice About Buying Unnecessary Items

Minimalism is more than just a trend – it can help us live greener and more conscious lives. Do you really need that new shirt, or could you just go without it? Take the time to think about your purchases before you make them.

And when possible, try to buy second-hand items such as clothes, furniture, appliances, and tools. Not only are these items often cheaper, but you’ll be helping to keep these things out of landfills. So before buying something new, think twice and try to reuse what you already have.

Also – before you throw anything away, try to ‘freecycle’ the item to friends, family, and neighbors who might still be able to use it.

Tackle Food Waste in Your Kitchen

Did you know that food waste is one of the biggest contributors to climate change?

This means it’s time for us to start making some changes in our kitchens. One thing you can do is start meal prepping – this way, any leftovers can easily be refrigerated for later use. Another idea is to freeze what won’t get eaten within a few days so that nothing spoils.

Finally, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes when cooking or ordering food – bigger portions lead to more waste. So try your best to only make and order what you need!  Doing these small things can help us all contribute to reducing our carbon footprints.

Bokashi bins are also an amazing way to tackle food waste. These bins let you compost all kinds of food scraps so nothing goes to waste! Plus, the finished product is nutrient-rich soil that’s perfect for gardening.

Recycle!

One of the easiest and most important things you can do for our planet is to recycle.

Recycling helps preserve natural resources by making sure that paper, plastic, metal, and glass don’t end up in landfills or oceans. It also reduces emissions from manufacturing processes and keeps hazardous materials out of the environment.

Read more: How to make an Eco Brick.

Get Active For The Environment

Beach clean-ups, community days, and other initiatives are perfect ways to get involved and make a difference.

These activities can be fun, educational, and help create awareness about environmental issues in your local area. Plus, by organizing or participating in these events, you’ll be spending time outdoors with like-minded people who share the same passion for protecting our planet. So why not sign up for one today?

Reduce Your Water Usage

Water is a precious resource, so don’t take it for granted. Reducing your water usage at home is easy – invest in some low-flow showerheads and faucets, and only run the dishwasher or washing machine when they’re full. Plus, you can collect rainwater and use it to water your plants so you don’t have to rely on tap water.

Make Small Swaps in Your Life and Home

There are a few simple swaps you can make that will instantly be more eco-friendly:

  • Reusable coffee cup
  • Biodegradable toiletries
  • Metal and silicone straws
  • Biodegradable cleaning products
  • Plastic-free shampoo
  • Metal razors
  • Period panties and/or menstrual cups

One of my favorite online stores to get most of these items is https://saveafishie.co.za/.

Conclusion

Wasting less is an important part of living a greener lifestyle. So it’s great that you’ve taken the first steps to reduce your carbon footprint by learning more. Now that you know what small changes you can make to lessen your impact, put some of them into practice and see just how much of a difference it makes.

Reuse where possible, reduce when necessary, and do what you can to give back to our planet. But most of all, commit yourself to fostering awareness in your community and creating positive change. Let me know in the comments what simple changes you plan on making today and how they will impact the environment!

 

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