Office of Energy & Sustainability

Tips for Sustainable New Year's Resolutions

The eve of a New Year is a great opportunity to take stock of our progress, as well as write a list of Resolutions that help us achieve personal and professional goals. Why not include Sustainability goals to this list? Here are a few ideas for attainable New Year's Resolutions that can help reduce our environmental impact- as well as tips on how to achieve them.

  1. Reduce the amount of plastic bags you use.  Over 4 billion (yes, with a B) bags litter forests, storm drains and waterways each year, killing millions of animals. Reduce your share of the pollution by buying sturdy reusable bags that can be folded neatly and tossed in your bag, backpack, or car to be used on each shopping trip.
  2. Eat as much organic as possible. Organic food is more nutritious and free of harmful chemicals such as pesticides.
  3. Buy local and seasonal foods. Local produce is sustainable as it is not transported over large distances.
  4. Say NO to fast fashion. The fashion industry is only second to the oil industry on the amount of pollution it generates. Before buying, ask yourself whether you truly need new clothes, then buy fad-resistant clothes in high-quality materials.
  5. Bring your own water bottle and cutlery. This move can save up to 167 bottles and hundreds of plastic forks and knives from the landfill or the recycling plant.
  6. Switch to a more environmentally-friendly commute. Walking, biking or taking public transportation reduces your transportation footprint and leads to a happier wallet.
  7. Transform your household cleaning routines. Most home cleaning products contain bleach, ammonia, and other chemicals that are harmful to our health and the environment. Greener alternatives such as vinegar, lemon, and baking soda can be equally effective, healthier, and cheaper. As this goal requires research and experimentation, try tackling different areas of the home throughout the year (e.g., kitchen cleaning in January, bathroom cleaning in March, etc.). 
  8. Stop chasing technology trends. Do you really need the latest and greatest phone or tablet? Electronics and gadgets make our life easier, but their production releases toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Promise not to buy new electronics unless the old one breaks. 
  9. Volunteer for local organizations or events. Join a park cleanup or farmers' market efforts to clean up, reduce, and recycle.
  10. Read an environmental book or watch a documentary every month to strengthen and update your knowledge of the topic.

Many of these goals have measurable results. Tracking their progress over time can provide a fascinating overview of our impact on our planet.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday season and have a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable New Year!

Did you know

Recycled plastic bottles are used to make carpet, clothing and even auto parts.

Office of Energy & Sustainability 1300 York Avenue, LC006, Box 14, New York, NY 10065