The new year is well underway, but it’s never too late (or too early) to embrace a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Though small individual steps likely won’t save the whole planet, a single person can still drastically reduce their personal carbon footprint.
If you’re not feeling up to another year of dieting, or if your new year’s resolutions to play more guitar is a perennial long shot, try choosing a goal that’s more worldly. Here’s three eco-friendly resolution ideas that will save you money while also protecting the natural environment:
1. Stop Buying Water Bottles
Water bottles are so spectacularly bad for the planet, it’s a wonder they are still legal to sell. Every year, the oil used to produce the U.S. supply of water bottles contains enough energy to fuel one million cars. Too often, these bottles aren’t even recycled, but tossed into landfills to rot for a millennium or so.
Buying cases of water bottles regularly is also an expensive habit. In fact, Americans spend about $1.22 per gallon on bottled water every year, even though tap water costs less than a penny a gallon on average. Bottled water costs 300 times more than tap water, making it a ludicrous waste of money. Do your budget and the planet a favor, and buy a reusable bottle instead.
2. Give Up Fast Fashion
The average American spends about $1,800 on clothing every year. Unfortunately, today’s clothing manufacturing industry makes racking up such expenses easy. Big-box companies intentionally mass-produce cheap clothing that only lasts a season, if not less. This technique ensures consumers keep coming back to replenish their fraying wardrobes and to keep up with rapidly changing trends.
Don’t fall for the hype. If you’re looking for cheap clothes, buy used options at thrift stores to have a funky, retro, earth-loving style. Not your vibe? Then invest in humanely manufactured items that will last you for more than a month.
3. Switch Your Light Bulbs
If you’re feeling really lazy but still want to help the planet a bit and feel like you accomplished a goal, switch to LED lighting. In 2017, only 56% of homeowners said they used LED lighting in their home. Help that percentage inch up by swapping out your old incandescent bulbs. This project will take a few hours at most, and can save you a surprising amount of money. LEDs can last for many years longer than older styles of bulbs, and they use much less electricity, which can reduce your utility bills. Though they may cost more initially, over time, LED bulbs are undoubtedly a better investment.
The energy and fashion industries are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to harming the environment. As consumers, we give these industries power by continuing to purchase their harmful products. While some purchases are necessary, we can still make buying choices that better help the planet. Save money and the environment in 2019 by adopting any of these eco-friendly, wallet-friendly resolutions. It’s one goal you definitely won’t regret setting.