The New Year brings a fresh start, a clean slate, and is full of opportunity. In addition to the typical resolutions of « eat healthier, » « budget, » and « exercise more, » we’re hoping everyone resolves to have a more natural new year as well.
There are many simple ways that collectively can have major benefits on our planet. These are just a few.
9 tips for a more natural new year
BYOB – bring your own bags
Plastic bags are a huge issue for our natural landscapes and the animals that inhabit them. In fact, they’re the second most prevalent form of litter after cigarette butts, with over 4 billion (that’s right billion) getting caught up by the wind each year, impacting every aspect of our environment, not to mention clogging up our storm drains.
This year, commit to bringing reusable shopping bags with you wherever you go – that includes the mall, big box stores, small boutique shops, the pet store, you name it. And for the grocery store, I recommend getting some reusable produce bags as well.
And Water Bottles/Coffee Mugs
How often do you grab a water or coffee (or tea or other beverage) while on the go? I’m guilty of this as well, especially when it comes to coffee. But these habits have significant effects on the environment. Think of it this way, 58 billion paper cups are thrown away each year in the United States alone! According to One Green Planet, those 58 billion cups roughly translate to 20 million trees, 12 billion gallons of water, and enough energy to power 54,000 homes for a year.
Instead, lets all invest in a quality reusable water bottle and a reusable coffee mug. AND be sure to bring them with you when you head out the door.
Use Natural Products
Your skin is your largest organ, and everything you put on it gets absorbed into your body. So it really is important to choose clean, natural products. Because when you don’t, the harsh chemicals, artificial colours and fillers can cause redness, irritation, breakouts and even allergic reactions. Natural makeup and skin care products on the other hand, work with your skin instead of against it.
At Nature’s Aid, we pride ourselves on choosing the cleanest ingredients possible. More than that, we ensure that our ingredients are sustainably sourced.
Get Outside More
I know, January can be a dreary month. The excitement of the holidays are over, it gets dark so early, and it’s cold! But trust me, that fresh, cold air will do you good. Getting out for a walk, particularly in a green space or near water, boosts your immune system, reduces stress, increases creativity, and is all around good for you.
Make an effort to get outside every single day. Even if it’s just for ten minutes, but preferably 30-60. Go for a walk, play a game with the kids, and search for all the beauty you can find in the natural environment. Then tell us the impact this has had on you!
Driving is quick, convenient and fun. But transportation happens to be one of the greatest sources of air pollution in Canada. Whenever possible, take public transportation or set up a car pool. If you’re not going far, walk or bike. This one will take a conscious effort, but every little bit helps. And you’ll breathe better for it.
Hang Laundry to Dry
For many households, the dryer is the third most energy-consuming appliance, after the refrigerator and washer. Yet, it is probably the easiest item to replace. Taking advantage of drying racks indoors and a clothes line outside can reduce an average household’s carbon footprint by as much as 2,400 pounds a year! Even it it’s just a few loads a week, the impact will add up.
Ever notice how common household cleaners come with warning labels such as keep out of reach of children, avoid direct contact with skin, and do not inhale?
Even if you wear gloves while cleaning, residue is left behind and that means you are still breathing in toxic chemicals and they still get absorbed by your skin when you touch the surface after the fact. So if you really want to make this a more natural new year, in addition to opting for natural personal care products, you’ll also want to go green when you clean.
And don’t forget to open those windows and let some fresh air in! It has been found that the air in the home is more polluted than outside and as our homes become more tightly sealed to prevent air leakage and reduce energy costs, opening those windows is more important than ever. Airing out the home clears out smells and leaves an overall fresh feeling. That’s why we open ours year-round, even in the dead of winter. Five minutes is all it takes to get a house full of fresh air while still retaining heat.
Cook from Scratch
There is nothing as nutritious and delicious as a home-cooked meal. Yes, it’s more work, but it’s definitely worth the task. For starters, you have control over the ingredients you use, how your food is cooked, and how it was produced (organic, free range, etc.). You can tweak recipes to your taste preferences, and you’ll find that it is much less expensive. This will also reduce waste from all that fast-food packaging, excess food, and fuel used to pick up the food, travel to the restaurant or have a meal delivered.
Get rid of clutter, consume less, use natural products, grow your own food, take pleasure from the little things. Everything is connected and when you take the time to connect with yourself, the people around you and the earth, life becomes much more relaxed. This year resolve to have a more natural new year by disconnecting from technology more often, spending more time with friends and family, and making the conscious choice to do better for the planet.