New Year’s resolutions that will help you make a difference

By Fodhla O'Connell-Grennell

The first week of the 2021 New Year will be hard to forget. With Covid-19 cases at an all-time high, it is a worrying time for so many people. Everybody has given up a huge part of their livelihoods in the last 10 months and the thought of quitting our typical unhealthy habits is completely off the cards this New Years. However, instead of quitting a bad habit, why not try something different this year. These environmental tips below may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the national and international figures prove otherwise.

Did you know, in Ireland we waste at least one million tonnes of food each year, according to Stop Food Waste. This is singlehandedly having a massive impact on the environment. Now that most of us are at home more often, it is a perfect time to plan our meals, keeping in mind food waste reduction. Your resolution here could be to find a recipe for your leftovers rather than binning them immediately or to simply cook less and eat more (my personal favourite). Overall, you will save money and keep yourself proactively busy during these uncertain times.

New Year, New Me usually comes along with an identity change. Most people tend to want to switch up their wardrobe by updating it with the latest trends. However, instead of buying loads of new clothes this year, why not set up a second-hand seller account, such as, Depop and sell your pre-loved clothes to those who may be dreaming of exactly what you want to dump. In turn, you can also browse pre-loved garments and maybe find the outfit of your dreams to avoid buying anything new. According to the BBC, there is global wastage of 92 million tonnes of textiles each year – meaning that at least one full rubbish truck of clothing is dumped each second. By keeping your clothing in the circular economy, you really can make a change.

Plastic packaging – oh how we all try to eliminate it, but find it hard to succeed in the modern-day plastic world. It is the elephant in the room and we really need to start acting to curb this waste. It is time to find alternatives. If you can’t buy your fruit or veg not in plastic packaging, then send an email or call your grocer. They will listen to your feedback and if enough people complain about this, they will make a change. This goes for many industries. Companies rely on consumer feedback to make positive changes and if you don’t act, you will never see the difference. Look for bamboo, steel or glass alternatives to plastic packaging or when these aren’t available, bring your own reusable packaging. In 2018, Ireland produced over one million tonnes of plastic waste for the second year running.

These figures above are astronomical and to put them in perspective, think of this as 94 billion bags of sugar just sitting on our earth. Where would you even put this amount of sugar? Then think of it as the scraps on your plate or the clothes in your wardrobe or even the plastic packet that your fruit or vegetables came in. These things seem small, but really they are having huge environmental impacts, so you should be the change you want to see and no better time to start than this New Year.