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New Year, New You - An Eco-Friendly 2021

Every year many of us make New Year's resolutions, though sometimes we may feel, "What's the point?"  The good news is that research shows that 42% of those who make resolutions do change their behaviour for the better.  So, making a resolution, commitment or pledge does drive positive results.

Let's apply this to making an Eco Pledge for 2021. Commit to making actionable changes that benefit the planet, thereby helping yourself.

Chat with your family or support group of friends, neighbours or anyone you feel might be interested in the same cause. Come up with an action plan for the pledge.

Since trying to save the planet is a big task, it can seem overwhelming so break it down into something smaller and manageable. Perhaps committing to one change per month, such as in the example below.

January: Switch to a green energy supplier,

February: Every few days, take images of all the waste you or your family creates to get a sense of the overall impact.

March: Use containers or waxed cloth food wraps instead of cling film.

April: Use refillable tap water instead of one-use bottled water

May: Switch to local dairy milk or local oat milk in returnable glass bottles

June: Buy second-life clothing instead of new clothing

July: Use washable cloth face wipes instead of disposable cotton pads

August: Clean and reuse aluminium foil many times instead of just once.

September: Switch to eco-friendly safety razors instead of disposable razors

October: Use refillable shampoo, conditioner and body wash instead of one-use bottles

November: Implement meal planning to avoid food waste

December: Gift wrap with sustainable cloth wraps instead of single-use paper wraps.

Once you have a plan, place it somewhere you can see it as a reminder of your commitment. At the end of the week, write a few notes or reflect on how that change went for that week. How does it feel at the end of the month?

Phrase your pledge in terms of, "I will drink refillable bottled water..." rather than "I will quit plastic, one-use bottled water, "  framing it as a gain rather than a loss has been shown to drive more significant results.

Research also shows that making a pledge public is also more likely to keep people on track with resolutions and pledges. So share your commitments with friends and family. Post it on social media.

By doing so, you'll not only increase the likelihood of having a more eco-friendly 2021, but you may also inspire others to do the same.