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Green Tips: New Year Resolutions

Green Tips | December 24, 2019

As we ring in the new year, why not kick it off with the environment in mind? Changing a few things in your daily routine can reduce your environmental footprint and may inspire friends to do the same! Read our Green New Year Resolution ideas and see which ones you want to incorporate (or do them all!).

Rethink Your Personal Care Routine 

Consume consciously this new year. Federal Drug Administration regulations for the cosmetic industry have not been updated for decades, leaving consumers at risk of many harmful chemicals that can be found in some products. Recent studies found cancer-causing asbestos in cosmetic products at teen retail stores and in baby products

This year, look for organic cosmetic products. By choosing these alternatives you can avoid exposure for yourself and your family to these chemicals and limit the amount of them that ends up in our environment. Organic products are often produced by companies working to reduce overall emissions and environmental impact, won’t contaminate the environment with toxins and are typically crafted using more sustainable and ethical operations. One way to avoid these harmful chemicals, like lead and formaldehyde, is by using one of the many mobile apps available

Tired of all the waste from your beauty products? Use the TerraCycle DIY recycling program to ensure all your discarded caps, containers, and brushes are recycled.

Cut Out the Disposable

Tired of wrapping paper yet? New Yorkers generate over 4.5 pounds of trash every day, which is more than the State can keep in its landfills. In fact, more than 6 million tons of waste is exported to neighboring states. Pollution from some refuse can contaminate waterways, natural areas, and cause harm to wildlife

Stock up on reusable containers instead of disposable ones. Always bring reusable bags with you when going shopping. If possible, say “no thanks” to plastic straws; you can carry your own metal straw with you instead. When you’re at the store, opt for the bulk bin instead of products that are pre-packaged. This zero-waste grocery guide is a great place to start finding unpackaged goods across New York State. 

Change Up Your Commute 

The transportation sector is the leading contributor to climate change in the state and nationwide. One way to reduce your transportation emissions is to rethink how you commute to work. In New York, a recent report shows 53% of residents drive alone to work. Compared to the national average of 8.9%, only 6.3% of New Yorkers carpool to work

This new year, try carpooling with co-workers or family members who live nearby. Take public transit, like buses and trains if available. 

If you must rent a car for work travel, consider using car-share services like Zipcar. Every Zipcar takes 13 personally-owned cars off the road and every Zipcar member takes 1,600 pounds of CO2 out of the air.

Shop Stop

To produce a single article of clothing, thousands of liters of water are used, multiple kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions are produced, and it will take up to 200 years to degrade in a landfill. In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency found that 11.2 million tons of textiles nationwide were sent to landfills. 

Take the time this new year to go through and refine your wardrobe. Environmental activist Greta Thunberg subscribes to the shop stop philosophy in which “you don’t buy new things unless you absolutely have to.” Try starting a capsule wardrobe where you only keep a limited amount of essential items. Instead of accumulating hoards of clothes that you may not wear, this will shrink your wardrobe to a more manageable size. It also helps reduce demands on the textile industry. While cutting down your closet, make sure to donate your unused items to a thrift store or second-hand shop rather than just throwing them away.

Junk Mail 

On average, an adult in the U.S. receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. That means 80-100 million trees are cut down annually to provide the paper for these mailings. As a key function of our ecosystem, trees remove carbon from the atmosphere, and fewer of them means more carbon. In addition, over 50% of unsolicited mail ending up in landfills, adding to America’s overflowing waste issue. 

To de-clutter your mailbox and save some trees, follow these steps to opt-out of unwanted mailings.

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