As 2021 comes to a close and the new year begins, our planet depends on us to make vows to become more environmentally conscious. These ten eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions are a few easy ways to make a positive impact on the world in 2022.
1. Start using reusable masks.
Polypropylene, a material in disposable masks, can take up to 450 years to decompose, leaving devastating environmental effects. Switching from disposable masks to reusable ones helps eliminate unnecessary waste and pollution in places such as oceans, rivers and beaches.
Here are some brands to check out for eco-friendly masks:
2. Watch what you wear (and buy).
The fast fashion industry contributes heavily to earth and ocean pollution due to its production of textile waste. This toxic waste contains substances including arsenic and mercury that are harmful to not only humans but animals as well. Instead of buying from brands that use fast fashion practices, support ethical businesses in your community and buy second-hand clothing! Swap meets, thrift stores, and flea markets are great locations to buy used clothing and sell some items you would otherwise throw away.
3. Host recycling drives.
Recycling drives can be as simple as getting your friends, family and classmates together to collect plastic bottles and other recyclables. Holding these drives ensures waste is properly disposed of while also raising money for good causes, such as planting trees or supporting an organization. Get started with these tips.
4. Clean your community.
Many cities host year-round beach or mountain trail cleanups that focus on beautifying the area. Various school clubs and local organizations also participate in these cleanups, so encouraging fellow students to attend can greatly help the environment. If not, hold your own! Budget Dumpster has a few tips for a successful cleanup.
5. Start a garden.
Home gardens are often free of the harmful chemicals and pesticides that farmers may use in mass harvests. According to U.S. Green Technology, plants are natural air cleaners because they use the process of photosynthesis to take in carbon dioxide, one of the major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Miracle Gro provides tips on starting a garden.
6. Ditch single-use plastics.
While it is convenient to use the plastic bags provided in the grocery store or drink from a plastic water bottle, the resultant waste is unnecessary and harmful for all life on the planet.
National Geographic reports 8 million tons of plastic waste wash into our oceans each year.This is the equivalent of placing five full garbage bags on every foot of coastline around the world. By switching to more sustainable alternatives, this number could decrease drastically.
Some alternatives for single-use plastics include tote bags, paper bags and Hydroflasks (or other reusable bottles). Check out additional eco-friendly products for your kitchen.
7. Sign environmental petitions.
Signing a petition takes only a few seconds, and the effects of that petition can be extremely transformative for the environment. EarthDay.org offers in-depth information on petitions you can sign as well as articles on important events around the world.
8. Try composting.
Composting is a way of turning organic waste into useful materials. It improves soil richness and saves space in landfills for non-recyclable waste. You can easily do this in your own backyard. Learn how to compost here.
2022 is the year of the midterm elections. In the main election, seats for the House of Representatives and the Senate will be voted on. It is important to let your voice be heard and vote for those who will protect and conserve the environment. Go out and vote once you register here!
10. Educate yourself!
Self-education is the cheapest way to help the environment in 2022. Watching the news, reading articles, and attending panels are simple yet effective approaches to improving our understanding of the world around us and how to help it.