It’s almost that time of year when we start writing a long list of resolutions to accomplish in the new year. Between “going to the gym more” and “cutting out sugar”, we often leave out one very important factor in our resolutions: the planet. Regardless of what big plans we have, they can’t be achieved on a planet that’s actively deteriorating as we speak.
Photo Credit: Hello Im Nik
Here are 12 tips (one for each month of 2023) for you to try integrating into your daily life!
January: Do You Really Need That?
Impulse-buying a trendy item requires more energy to get rid of later on when you no longer want it. Cutting down your consumption will undoubtedly be a challenge, especially since we live in a world where rapidly-changing trends heavily dictate purchasing habits. Knowing the difference between what you need and want is the key difference in this situation.
February: Upcycle, Not Discard
We often throw things out at the slightest sign of defect or ageing, when things could actually be used in so many different ways besides just their initial intended purpose. Reducing your waste does require getting creative, and this instance is no exception. From clothes to stationeries to household items, finding a way to reuse something in a different form would save it from ending up in a landfill which further damages the environment.
March: Skip The Bag
You and I have both seen the ads and reminders but do we really do it? Bringing your own bags when you go shopping might seem like a futile action, but if 50 people collectively said “no” to plastic bags, think of just how much discarded plastic we could reduce! Our singular actions add up to become much more significant than we could imagine. Every reduced plastic bag counts.
Photo Credit: Laura Fuhrman
April: Go Digital
If you’re someone who gets nostalgic, this goal might be quite the challenge for you. Regardless of the sentimental value that some items like physical photo albums have, it’s better for the environment if you go digital. The same applies to newspapers, magazines and other time-sensitive forms of media. Going digital can reduce up to 25% of wasted paper, making it a significant change to practice.
May: Commit To Compost
As daunting as it may sound, composting is actually one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Composting is the process through which your food waste/scraps are repurposed into…compost! While this process can be time-consuming and tedious, Reencle is an indoor compost machine that turns your food waste into nutrient-rich compost all while causing no sounds or unpleasant odours. If you’d like to compost with ease and reduce your carbon footprint and food waste, sign up for Reencle’s newsletter to get an exclusive promo code for your Reencle order.
Photo Credit: Igor Son
June: Plant A Tree
That’s right - just one tree. As futile as this might seem, if all of us planted one single tree, we’d be taking a giant step together. One mature tree can absorb up to 21kg of carbon dioxide in a year. By planting even just one tree, you’d be responsible for the annual reduction of 21kg of carbon dioxide.
July: Thrift, Don’t Buy
We don’t believe in having to eliminate purchasing in all its forms, but there are ways you can get what you need without causing further damage to the environment. Thrifting is one of the best ways to not only save the environment but your money, too! Buying pre-loved items like clothing and furniture can save perfectly usable items from ending up in landfills.
Photo Credit: Prudence Earl
August: Zero-Waste Beauty
If you’re someone who does your skincare and makeup, think of how many single-use cotton rounds, sponges and tools you’ve used and discarded. We don’t realize this in the moment but whatever we use in our daily lives adds up to…a lot. Try switching to reusable skincare/makeup tools and do your part for the environment.
September: Buy In Bulk
Supermarkets are filled with high levels of unnecessary plastic use which can be avoided albeit involving a bigger change of habit. We’re used to popping into the grocery store to buy what we need but opt for bulk stores in September to reduce your carbon footprint and waste. Despite being a relatively slow development in Malaysia, the options for zero-waste/bulk stores are higher than before. Don’t worry, we’ve got you with this list of Zero Waste Stores in Malaysia!
Photo Credit: Alfonso Navarro
While it is a long-standing concept, recycling is still something few of us practice. If you don’t want to repurpose your own items, recycling them allows the same goal to be achieved in the end. Many recycling centres are placed around the country, so find one in your area and recycle away!
November: No New Purchase
Try going the whole month of November without purchasing anything you don’t need. This, of course, excludes food and other basic necessities. Similar to your January goal, this practice will create more mindfulness around your purchasing habits. This skill could last you a lifetime and would make the needed improvements to the environment, too.
December: Donate It
As the year comes to an end, you’ll have a lot of things accumulated over the past 11 months that may no longer serve you as needed. Instead of discarding these items, consider handing them down, or donating them to donation banks or services near you. Not only do you get to reduce your waste, but you also get to do a good deed at the same time!
Photo Credit: Samuel Regan-Asante
Just like that, you’re able to do your part for the environment. Hopefully, these tips show you that you don’t need grand gestures or big funds in order to improve the environment. If you’d like us to discuss any more environmental, zero-waste or composting topics as the new year approaches, message us on Facebook or Instagram! Don’t forget to follow us on TikTok for bite-sized edutainment!