A new year means a fresh start. It means leaving old bad habits behind in the previous year and trying to start new, better habits in this year. For many in Houstonians thinking about climate change, the focus of the new year for them has been about helping the environment and doing better to preserve the earth;s natural resources while reducing their carbon footprint.
But now that we’re almost a full month into the new year, you might be thinking that it’s too late to get started on your eco-friendly goals. After all, why bother on these new goals if you’re late to the game and so many others have already been hard at work? But the truth is it’s never to late to get started on being more eco-friendly in your home and with your family. These are goals that can be started at any time. Remember, you’re not trying to compete to be the most eco-friendly person. You’re trying to do your part the best that you can.
What does it mean to choose an eco-conscious goal for the new year? You might think it’s a great idea in concept, but you might not have any idea of how to get started or what is actually achievable. Don’t let that stop you. Everyone’s lifestyle is different. While some families are able to live with just one car or no car at all, that might not be doable for others. The key to adopting new green habits is finding what’s right for you and committing to changing bad non-green habits into good green ones.
There’s nothing wrong with starting a New Year’s resolution once the new year has already started. You could start in March, June or even next November, but why wait that long? Take the plunge now and kick off your eco-conscious 2020 goals. Here’s how to get started.
Choose your eco-conscious goals
The best way to begin your eco-conscious 2020 goals is to start thinking about what you can really accomplish at home. As mentioned, every family will be different, and you shouldn’t hold yourself up to higher green standards when you know some of them aren’t doable for your family. If you put in a good effort and get your family on board with your own green goals, you’ll see real progress in your own home.
And who knows? After a few months of practicing your new green habits, you may find that it’s possible to adopt other ones. Your interest in the green, eco-friendly lifestyle may grow, and you may adopt all new eco-friendly goals for next year.
All you have to do is get started now.
Your first order of business should be to research and identify which green goals are doable for you and your family. These will be goals that you can achieve in the short and long term. You can choose as many goals as you’d like, just choose a few that will be achievable in a month or so and a few that will take more time and a bigger commitment. Going green and eco-friendly can have a few more upfront expenses as you shift out how you used to shop and stock your home, which is why long-term goals are important. Soon, however, you’ll find that being more green will save you more money over time.
So now it’s time to think about which eco-friendly goals might be right for your family. Here are a few that we love:
Cook at home and pack lunches
This eco-conscious goal helps the environment, your health and your wallet. Processed food at grocery stores and restaurants are major contributors to pollution with all their packaging and production needs, and they often provide very little nutritional value. Sure, it may be easier to swing by on your way home from work to pick up a pizza or pack a Lunchables in your child’s lunchbox, but these foods cause so much pollution from their factory production to your kitchen table.
Rather than buying pre-packaged meals and doing carry-out on your lunch break or on your way home, spend more time cooking at home. Make a big batch on the weekends and parse it out into plastic containers that you can then take to work. Make or teach your kids how to make sandwiches for themselves and store them in plastic or glass containers that can be grabbed on the way out the door.
Cooking at home takes some dedication, but in the long run, you’ll save money, eat better and minimize your impact on the environment.
Invest in reusable bags for groceries
This is an easy goal that any Houston family can achieve. Plastic bags are some of the worst polluters around, and when we’re using five or more each time we go to the grocery store, we’re increasing the likelihood of pollution. Every year, more than 4 billion plastic bags get caught in the wind and blow across storm drains and then litter our forests, lakes, rivers, parks and oceans. If we simply cut down on using plastic bags for groceries, we go a long way to help our waterways and landscapes.
The best way to do this is to invest in reusable tote bags that can be used when you go to the grocery store. Leave some in your car, your house and by you doors so when you’re going to the grocery store or drug store, you always have some handy at your disposal.
Buy sustainable water bottles, lunch bags, silverware and straws
If you thought plastic bags were polluting the environment, then wait until you hear about the pollution caused by plastic water bottles, bags, silverware and straws. On average, the oil industries uses enough oil every year to make plastic water bottles that could fuel 100,000 cars each year. That’s a ton of oil, and all of that plastic ends up in landfills where it cannot decompose and in waterways.
In Chicago, City Council is banning downtown restaurants from using styrofoam, plastic straws and single-serving silverware for just this reason. When crafting the ordinance, City Council heard from environmental groups who said one of the biggest pollutants in Lake Michigan and the Chicago River way single-use food storage waste, usually from restaurants.
You can get in on this trend by buying durable water bottles that can go anywhere with you, along with lunch bags, silverware and straws that you can take with you. All of these items can be washed, and they’ll cut down on the amount of waste you produce in your home.
Leave your car at home
This eco-conscious goal may be a bit much for some Houston families, but once you get used to leaving your cra at home and using other forms of transportation, you’ll find that it’s not as difficult as it could be.
Leave your car in your driveway and look for alternate forms of transportation. Walk or ride a bike to the drug store for minor errands. Have your kids bike to their friends’ houses rather than driving them. Try carpooling with coworkers once or twice a week to cut down on the amount of traffic and driving time.
Swap all your light bulbs for LED bulbs
LED technology has improved so much over the years that the latest LED bulbs can create the same quality of light as incandescent bulbs while still being dimmable. Though they may be more expensive than incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs can last for 20 to even 25 years depending on how much they’re used. They will also lower your energy bill, so the savings will stack up over time.
Changing out all of your light bulbs to LED bulbs can be expensive if you have a lot of light fixtures in your home, but this is a good project to be done over the course of the year.
Plant a garden and grow your own food
Trees, bushes and flowers do a world of good for the environment. They turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, provide food for bees and keep our ecosystems healthy. Planting your own vegetable garden or fruit trees saves you money spent at the grocery store, and the fruits and vegetables can be canned or frozen to be eaten whenever you’re ready.
Carving out some space in your backyard for a garden helps the environment, and it provides you with a cool hobby that can keep growing every year. You can always change the flowers and produce you grow, and you can even compost in your backyard to create fertile soil that will help you with next year’s planting. Some people even share or sell their composted soil.
How to start your eco-conscious 2020 goals
All of these goals will make a small impact on the environment, but when you stack them on top of each other, they can go a long way towards helping the environment. Depending on our income and availability, some of these goals will be relatively easy to start if you’re willing to invest a little time and money. Others will probably take longer to make them stick, but when they do, they’ll feel second nature to you.
Here’s how to start your new goals now and build up to achieve your long-term eco-conscious goals for 2020:
Determine how much you can afford to spend on your goals
Some of these goals are more expensive than others and will take some investment to achieve them. That’s okay. You shouldn’t feel like you need to buy everything at once. Sometimes making smaller changes first can help you build up to something bigger.
Look at your finances and determine what you can do in the long and short term. For example, you may be able to invest in some reusable totes and produce bags now, but not reusable straws, lunch bags and water bottles just yet. Do what you can now and work up to some of your other goals after a few more paychecks.
Make easy changes to your behavior and build up
Remembering to grab your grocery totes every time you go to the grocery store can be difficult at first. If you’ve never had to remember to use them, then it can hard to retrain yourself to reach for them every time. The same goes for relying on your bike or legs rather than your car for quick trips. It can be hard to justify spending 45 minutes running an errand as opposed to 20 minutes, but as you come to enjoy the exercise and spend less on gas, it won’t be such a jarring change. You’ll learn to budget your time better.
To help yourself, leave your tote bags in your car. Save your trips to the drug store for weekends when you have more free time. Once you start getting used to these changes, you’ll start looking for other ways to keep them going, such as carpooling or even biking to work.
Get your family involved
Your eco-conscious goals will seem a lot less difficult when you have your whole family on board. When you can work toward them together, you can all help each other out remembering grocery bags and spending afternoons planting flowers and pulling a few weeds. Dividing up the work can make it all easier on everyone.
Talk over your eco-conscious goals for 2020 with your family members and explain why they’re so important to you. Ask for your family members’ input and see what they’d like to help with and accomplish. Your kids can get more involved with cooking at home and packing their own lunches. In your garden, they can help plant their favorite vegetables.
The more people you have invested in your eco-conscious goals, the more likely it will be that you’re able to achieve these goals in 2020.
So now that we’ve got you thinking about eco-conscious goals for 2020, what are some goals you’d like to set for yourself and your family? Share a few with us in the comments and let us know how our green pest control services can help.