10 Small and Totally Achievable Environmental New Year's Resolutions

If you had trouble settling on a New Year's Resolution this year, Piedmont Environmental Alliance is here to help. Instead of setting the usual weight loss and money-saving goal, set a goal that benefits your health.

  1. No more plastic water bottles this year. Buy a reusable one that suits you! You’ll save money and the environment, and you’ll be prompted to stay hydrated.
  2. Bring your own mugs. If you’re anything like me, you probably consume quite a bit of coffee. Have you ever thought of all the disposable coffee cups that you’ve thrown away in your lifetime? Cut down on waste by always carrying a travel mug with you! BONUS: many coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own mug.

  3. RECYCLE RECYCLE RECYCLE. Learn about the things that can and cannot be recycled in the city where you live (see older blog posts on this topic for Winston-Salem) and commit to recycling your waste whenever possible this year.

  4. Turn lights off when you leave a room. This one is a “tale as old as time” but it’s a hard habit to break. Think of it as saving money AND promoting wiser use of natural resources.

  5. Shorten your showers. This is a goal that I struggle with myself. Tips that I find helpful are:

    • Don’t listen to music. You’ll be tempted to dance and/or sing or be otherwise distracted, and your shower will inevitably be longer.

    • Don’t brush your teeth in the shower. Some people do this to save time, but it most certainly doesn’t save water (and it probably doesn’t actually save as much time as you think). Brush your teeth at the sink, turning the water off and on as you need it.

    • Don’t wash your hair every day. This is not only better for your hair, but also shortens your showers significantly on your non-wash days. Dry shampoo is your friend :)

    • Challenge yourself. Time your showers and make it a game to beat your own lowest “score”. Eventually you’ll get used to taking shorter showers, and the environment (as well as your wallet) will thank you!

  6. If applicable, walk or bike to work/school/etc., in the warmer months. This benefits your health and the environment, so it’s a win-win!

     7. Get involved. Volunteer with a local environmental organization (like Piedmont Environmental Alliance). They need/would love your help, and you’ll have a productive way to spend your free time.

     8. Shop sustainable. Research the ways that clothing stores are getting involved to promote the environment and choose your favorite stores that align well with your own environmental concerns. Alternatively and/or in addition, visit second-hand shops whenever possible to complete your wardrobe!

    9. Feed yourself and your family with organic foods. There are many environmental advantages to food that is grown organically, most of which are related to the decreased or even eliminated use of chemicals on crops. Organic food can be pricey, but stores like ALDI make living organically cheaper and easier.

​     10. Go meatless as often as possible. Meat production is one of the most-polluting industries in the world.  If you can cut down on your consumption even a little - one meal every week - you would be making a huge impact.   

If you're passionate about the environment, these are some ideas you can adopt to help you take a step in the right direction toward promoting sustainability. Make sure you share your actions with your friends and loved ones so they can be inspired in the same way that you were. 

Allison Wright is a junior at Salem College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a minor in Spanish. She has a passion for the environment and is excited to be completing an internship with Piedmont Environmental Alliance during the Spring of 2018.