Sustainable Habits To Adopt This New Year

Reduce Single-Use Plastics | EcoBlog | Zero Waste Shop

As a new year rolls in it can be the perfect time for us to make new, positive habits. Instead of planning a new diet or fitness routine, however, why not make this year the most sustainable ever? By adopting some simple techniques we can all improve our environmental impact and with a bit of careful planning, we can contribute a great amount to the health of our planet. 

In this article, we’ll look at sustainable habits that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine or decisions. From reducing single-use plastics to optimising our home heating, these tips offer a practical and impactful way for us all to make a positive difference in 2024 and beyond.

1- Reduce Single-Use Plastics 

In our modern lives ‘convenience’ is often king, but this comes at the cost of our environment. Taking steps to reduce your use of single-use plastics is a great place to start the new year. These plastics lead to staggering levels of pollution, adversely impacting ecosystems, marine life, and even human health. 

Below are some simple adjustments you can try this year:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle: By investing in a durable, refillable container, you minimize your carbon footprint and inspire those around you to make a similar shift.

  • Say no to plastic straws and utensils: Consider investing in reusable alternatives made from sustainable materials, such as stainless steel or bamboo, to further reduce your contribution to plastic pollution.

  • Opt for products with minimal or eco-friendly packaging: By selecting items with eco-conscious packaging, we not only reduce waste but signal a demand for sustainable practices. This can foster a market shift towards more responsible production.

2- Optimise Home Heating Efficiency

Home heating in the UK contributes up to 14% of the country's total carbon emissions. It’s crucial therefore that we all look at ways we can reduce the impact our heating systems have on the environment. 

This step can require some investment, but the act of increasing your heating efficiency can not only reduce emissions but also your energy bills!

Below are some ways to achieve this: 

  • Upgrade your boiler: Modern boilers are highly efficient, often using less energy than those over 10-15 years old. A new boiler can contribute to both environmental sustainability and potential long-term cost savings. It's essential, however, to consider the initial investment, including the installation and maintenance expenses, before deciding.

  • Improve your insulation: A well-insulated home can retain heat and reduce the need for constant heating. Adequate insulation not only enhances energy efficiency but also positively impacts the initial cost of installing central heating.

  • Use a smart thermostat: These clever gadgets are becoming more popular, not only because they give you greater control over your heating use, but they can save you money long term. By optimising your heating based on your daily routines, you can reduce the amount of energy you use and therefore limit your emissions.

  • Invest in a heat pump: This choice is a much larger commitment, as heat pumps cost considerably more than a boiler. However, it’s thought that these systems are the key to solving our heating emissions problem - as they can heat our homes and hot water without releasing harmful emissions. If you’re ready to make a more significant change to your home, it is worth looking into these low-carbon alternatives. 

3- Conserve Energy

Finding ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is the best way to begin a more sustainable lifestyle. One key area to do this is by becoming mindful of your energy use, and not running appliances or gadgets unnecessarily, or finding the best ways to use them. 

Here are some ways you can try to conserve energy use around your home: 

  • Use LED light bulbs: You can see a great reduction in energy use when switching out standard light bulbs for energy-efficient, or LED, versions. They require less power and do just the same job!

  • Unplug devices: It’s all too easy to leave things plugged in when we’re not using them. Having devices on standby, or constantly on charge, is a great waste of energy. Try to unplug your devices when you’re finished with them, not only can this save energy, but it’s also much safer for your home to avoid any potential fire risks.

  • Use energy during ‘low carbon intensity’ times: At certain times of the day, the energy supply from the National Grid will have a higher renewables mix than others. These are known as ‘low carbon intensity’ periods and are the best time for you to use your electricity as you will be contributing less to emissions. Think of it like tapping into a renewable energy supply, if you use your power at certain times. The National Grid has a free app so you can see exactly when is the best time to use grid energy.

4- Support Sustainable Brands

Choosing a brand or manufacturer that has a solid commitment to sustainability is a good way to boost your efforts. By putting your business behind eco-friendly brands you help to reduce the impact of larger, more harmful, businesses.

You can shop more sustainably using these methods:

  • Research: When looking for a new product (if you can’t find a used/upcycled alternative), be sure to read into the company you’re thinking of using. Choosing a company that is committed to sustainable and ethical practices helps support wider efforts to protect our planet.

  • Second-hand: Try to be conscious about when you need new items, think about whether a charity shop might have what you need or if you can find a local seller online. Opting for second-hand, pre-loved or vintage items can often provide exactly what you need without any of the emissions of a new item production process.

  • Consider lifecycle: If you do have to buy a new item, consider the quality and lifecycle. Will it last? Is it durable? or is it recyclable?

Adopting sustainable habits is about making small, consistent changes over time. By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

The choices we make extend beyond simple swaps; they ripple through supply chains, encouraging businesses to reevaluate their packaging choices and adopt environmentally friendly alternatives. As we embrace the new year, let us pledge to be stewards of change, one small habit at a time.


More Posts