Not only can eco-friendly resolutions help further sustainability this Earth Day, but they can also save you money in the long run. If you’re ready to turn over a new leaf and do your part to maintain sustainability, here are 9 totally doable Earth Day resolution ideas.
1. Find Alternatives to Single-Use Plastics
Nearly 50 percent of solid waste worldwide comes from single-use plastics, with plastic water bottles, single-use coffee cups, and plastic straws being three of the biggest contributors. Each year, the oil used to produce single-use plastics — in the U.S. alone — is enough to fuel millions of vehicles. And since plastic takes anywhere from 20-500 years to degrade completely, opting into this trend can wreak havoc on oceans, aquatic creatures, and the environment for decades to come.
Your first step in living a more sustainable lifestyle should be to reduce your use of single-use plastics. Not only would taking this initiative help to save valuable resources and reduce deadly pollution, but you’ll also play an important role in protecting precious ecosystems, reducing water pollution, fighting landfill waste, and more.
Here are a few steps you can take to reduce single-use plastics in your daily life:
- Use reusable containers for leftovers and to-go plates.
- Carry a refillable water bottle or mug for drinks on the go.
- Bring reusable bags on shopping trips.
- Purchase a water filter for your tap for cheaper, healthier water and reduced plastic use.
- Recycle single-use plastics in your home, and replace them with reusable household items like glass containers, bamboo and metal cutlery, stainless steel options, etc.
- Commit to refusing disposable items like plastic straws when eating out.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle!
2. Start a Garden
Gardens, big and small, can benefit the environment in many ways. By starting an at-home garden, you can help reduce food transportation costs and emissions, water runoff, and lower demand. Additionally, growing your own fruit, vegetable, and herbs can keep hundreds of dollars in your pocket every year.
Not sure where to start? There are many online tutorials and guides that can teach you how to start a garden from scratch. Whether you live in a small apartment or have gardening space in your backyard, there are options for crafting your own sustainable oasis.
Want to take things further? Consider joining a community garden project. And if your neighborhood doesn’t have one, consider starting a community garden of your own.
If starting a garden is something you’re interested in, it might also be beneficial to compost. Composting, or the recycling of food and waste, provides a long list of environmental benefits, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating the impact of droughts, erosion reduction, improving soil health, recycling nutrients, and more.
Here are a few items you could add to your compost bin (with or without a garden):
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Clean cardboard
- Grass and plant clippings
- Dry leaves
- Shredded newspaper
Need a little help embarking on your compost journey? There are plenty of valuable resources online that can help you get started. We recommend checking out this Composting 101 guide written by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
4. Opt-Out of Fast Fashion
Earthday.org states that “the fashion industry is responsible for over 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions,” making it the second biggest contributor to worldwide pollution, after oil.
Fast fashion brands contribute to substantial amounts of carbon emissions, landfill waste, health concerns at every eco-level, and water, soil, and air pollution. To supply the demand for the latest fashion trends, cheap clothing producers often sustain inhumane, often hazardous, sweatshop conditions for garment workers worldwide.
When it comes to stocking your closet, consider the negative effects of impulse clothing purchases and overconsumption on the environment. Here’s how you can make your transition out of fast fashion simpler:
Purchase Sustainable Clothing
Sustainable fashion companies, or ecologically and socially responsible clothing brands, offer a fantastic way to keep your closet stocked while also keeping the environment in mind. Sustainable clothing chains often source, produce, distribute, and market their products in a way that’s less taxing on the environment. Plus, they tend to last longer too.
This Earth Day, commit to championing sustainable shopping.
However, it’s important to note that although sustainable clothing typically lasts longer and is better for the environment, this option can often be on the pricier side. If you find that sustainable brands aren’t cost-effective for you, try shopping secondhand.
Second-hand stores and apps like Poshmark, Depop, and Asos Marketplace are immensely popular these days. By shopping second-hand, you can help deter fast fashion companies from mass-producing clothing and destroying the planet.
Challenge yourself not to purchase unnecessary new clothes, accessories, and shoes for as long as possible. Then, opt for longer-lasting secondhand, upcycled, and recycled options instead. You might even consider rental options should you need special occasion attire.
5. Opt-Out of Fast Furniture
Fast furniture — much like fast fashion — “refers to furniture companies that produce a wide variety of different furniture styles quickly and cheaply.”
This trend can have many of the same environmental effects as cheap clothes on demand. For instance, fast furniture typically doesn’t last as long as its quality counterparts. Bargain-priced items, in effect, are more likely to end up cluttering landfills and contaminating the environment when they’re no longer of use. Additionally, purchasing second-hand items or those made from quality materials can aid in reducing your overall carbon footprint and the exploitation of workers in the fast-furniture industry.
To opt out of fast furniture and all of the negative impacts that come along with it, here are a few techniques for ensuring more sustainable furniture choices:
- Shop second-hand or quality, gently-used items from brands like CORT Furniture Outlet
- Choose furniture designed with recycled materials
- Select pieces made from sustainable materials for longevity
- Take special care of the furniture you currently have to extend the lifespan of the product
- Support furniture brands that support “green” initiatives (e.g., tree planting)
- Rent furniture as opposed to purchasing cheaper items in temporary situations
- Shop from local furniture brands to help reduce carbon emissions
- Consider mending, repairing, and reupholstering furniture items rather than replacing them completely
6. Shop Locally
Food that has to be transported over longer distances can be more harmful to the environment than one might think. Imagine all of the carbon emissions, air miles, and fossil fuels used when producing, processing, packaging, flying, driving, and shipping meat and produce from other countries and regions. Additionally, imported foods are often packaged in plastic to protect the products from damage during travel, whereas, at local farmer’s markets, foods often come free of these unnecessary wrappings.
Make it your personal goal to reduce your carbon footprint this Earth Day by shopping locally instead of buying imported food. Not only will you enjoy the freshest, seasonal ingredients, but buying locally helps to support your community and its workers, benefitting the environment and your local economy.
7. Limit your food waste
Each year, over 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in America. That equates to 130 billion meals that can feed those in need and about 40% of all food in the U.S. Plus, when food is left to spoil in landfills, excess methane gases are released, trapping heat in the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.
This Earth Day, eliminate unnecessary food waste whenever possible. By only buying what you can consume and taking away only what you’re sure you can finish, you can lower carbon emissions and significantly reduce food waste in your household.
Here are some additional tips for fighting food waste at home:
- Think once, then twice before throwing food away
- Ensure that you’re storing food correctly
- Freeze food that you may not get to immediately
- Commit to eating leftovers before buying new items
- Avoid buying too much at grocery stores by eating beforehand and making a shopping list
- Meal prep to ensure food doesn’t spoil before you’re able to cook it
- Learn to can, pickle, or freeze foods
- Donate leftover goods to your local food bank
8. Be Mindful of Your Water Consumption
The overconsumption of water has had a substantial impact on the environment for a very long time. With water demand and usage at an all-time high, water shortages and droughts are rampant worldwide.
Water is finite, meaning we do not have unlimited access to clean drinking water. If the Earth’s water resources aren’t appropriately managed, more shortages can occur in the near future, affecting future generations. Considering how much water you use can significantly impact the environment.
To reduce your water consumption, try implementing a few of these tips:
- Turn off the water while shaving, flossing, and brushing your teeth
- Purchase eco-friendly appliances
- Opt for shorter showers over tub-filled baths
- Don’t allow water to run when hand washing dishes
- Inspect your home for water leaks
- Install a low-flow showerhead
- Limit your water use by washing larger loads when doing laundry
9. Consider Other Sustainable Living Resolutions
Feel like there are more resolutions you can commit to this Earth Day? Get ready to do your part in taking care of the planet by implementing a few of these ideas into your daily life.
- Walk or bike whenever possible
- Mend and repair clothing instead of throwing them away
- Repair or get secondhand electronics before purchasing new ones
- Keep lights off during the day, and enjoy natural sunlight instead
- Turn off and unplug electronics when they’re not in use
- Have bills and other mail sent electronically whenever possible
- Stop your junk mail delivery
- Decline receipts when shopping
- Replace shopping with other activities
- Share your sustainable lifestyle with others to encourage change!
Celebrate Earth Day with CORT Furniture Outlet
Looking to make an impact on Earth Day? Shop online or in-store at CORT Furniture Outlet. CORT and CORT Furniture Outlet are sustainable brands by nature: CORT Furniture Outlet sells gently used furniture that’s made with above-average industry standards and with longevity in mind. Before arriving at CORT Furniture Outlet, our gently-used furniture is rented several times through CORT Furniture Rental services. After CORT furniture and decor items have completed their rental lifecycles, our high-quality items are moved to CORT Furniture Outlet to find forever homes.
By manufacturing items with high standards and giving our furniture a new lease on life through CORT Furniture Outlet, our furniture undergoes saves 368,862 tons of CO2 annually versus competitors who sell furniture new. You can feel good about shopping our selection of built-to-last new and gently used items to help reduce the amount of furniture tossed in landfills. Shopping at your local CORT Furniture Outlet helps reduce emissions caused by shipping and supports your local community.