Sustainable goals: New Year’s resolutions you won’t quit

Did you know that 80 percent of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the second week in February? If you are looking for a New Year’s resolution you can start now and actually keep, check out our favorite sustainable resolutions that can make a positive impact on your life and on the environment.

Use less energy

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. home uses nearly 50% more energy than the average car per year. In fact, of the energy used in 2009, 48% was used for heating and cooling, and 52% was attributed to water heating, appliances, electronics and lighting. For easy energy savings, turn your thermostat down an extra 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit for eight hours a day, and you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling costs in your home.

If you’ve got your temperature under control, pay attention to phantom energy, aka phantom load, in your home. This is the electricity in your house that is consumed by an electronic device while it is turned off or in standby mode—in other words, it’s costing you money while it’s not in use, but is still plugged in. According to the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBL), the average home contains 40 products constantly drawing power.

This year, save some money by turning off and unplugging the electronics you can—think phone chargers, coffee makers and digital clocks—which can help reduce your home’s phantom load by as much as one third.

Reduce single-use plastic

People in the U.S. use 100 billion plastic bags a year, and the average American family takes home nearly 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. In 2020, commit to using less or eliminating single-use plastic from your day altogether. This might include swapping your plastic grocery bags for reusable totes, packing your own silverware instead of plastic cutlery and reusing glass or metal jars for your lunch containers, instead of buying more plastic.

Give thrifting a try

For all shopping lovers, here’s a resolution just for you. With rubber, leather and textiles making up more than 9% of municipal solid waste in the U.S., it’s important to shop more consciously. Thrifting not only helps reduce the amount of clothing produced through manufacturing, it also helps keep clothing out of the landfill. On that note, if you’re cleaning out your closet, be sure to check out where you can donate your clothes before throwing them out.

We hope there’s something on this list for you to help make 2020 your most sustainable year yet. But if you’re still making excuses as to why you can’t start now, go ahead and read how to overcome challenges to living an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Learn how to overcome sustainability challenges