A new year is almost upon us – traditionally a time when we reflect on the past twelve months and look ahead to the next twelve. Many people find making New Year’s Resolutions a helpful way to plan, devise and publicly state their good intentions for the year ahead. So, alongside the plans to eat better, exercise more and learn a new skill, here are some ideas to help make 2023 your greenest living year yet.
Switch on to renewable energy
Many homes and businesses still rely on the National Grid for power, light and heat. However, using sustainable energy sources instead is becoming simpler and more affordable than ever before. Switching to sustainable energy sources, such as solar power systems and photovoltaic panels, brings benefits to your pocket thanks to lower energy bills, while helping the planet at the same time. Other options for switching to renewable energy include air source heat pumps and biomass systems.
Use electricity wisely
Even after switching to solar power for electricity generation, there is still more that can be done to reduce energy usage and live more sustainably. Turn devices off at the mains when not using them, or switch them to eco mode if they have this feature. Use LED light bulbs instead of the older filament types for more cost-effective and efficient domestic or commercial lighting. Dial the thermostat down a couple of degrees and put on a jumper if you feel cold. Choose appliances with higher energy efficiency ratings for longer-term electricity savings.
Recycle, recycle, recycle
We have all taken to recycling the packaging of common items like plastics, cardboard and tin cans. However, there is still plenty more that can be recycled and reused to help keep things out of landfill and reduce the energy use required to make new items. Clothing is one example – visit charity shops and second hand online markets to see what ‘preloved bargains’ you can find. Pass children’s clothes on to others to get more use out of them. Cut up really old clothes and use them for cleaning cloths. Save glass bottles to take to the bottle bank and reuse glass jars for keeping small bits safe, such as screws and nails.
Savvy shopping skills
Another way to keep landfill sizes down is to buy reusable products wherever possible. Shops are gearing up more and more to help people fulfil this goal. Some examples of reusable products now readily available include sustainable water bottles, cloth nappies, cotton shopping bags and metal straws. Avoid fruit and vegetables with excessive packaging and instead bring your own bags to take them home in. Be prepared to pay a little more for products built to last, such as better quality shoes or toys that will last longer before needing to be replaced.
Go green with your toiletries
This is a really good place to start with greener New Year’s Resolutions. It needn’t cost a lot of money to start making a real difference. For example, switch to eco-friendly toilet paper made from bamboo to help save trees and water. Choose plastic-free soaps, shampoos and conditioners for a further sustainable impact. Solid soap and shampoo bars can also be more environmentally-friendly, as they cut down on the amount of packaging needed as opposed to liquid alternatives that come in large plastic bottles.
Offices up and down the country are pledging to cut down the amount of paper they use in a bid to eventually become paperless. This is something that can be replicated at home. Some examples of easy changes to make include no longer printing out emails, requesting electronic bank statements instead of paper ones, using pretty material to wrap presents and using cloud-based storage for important files and apps for to-do lists and reminder notes. Send loved ones photographs and digital greetings cards to help them reduce the amount of paper and cardboard entering their homes as well.
Finally, don’t just plan out your New Year’s Resolutions – act on them as quickly as you can. If you are interested in finding out more details about installing solar power in your business or home, contact the experts at UPS in early January for an initial, no-obligation consultation. It may be dark outside right now, but getting started now will mean that your photovoltaic panels can be in place in time for the longer daylight hours of spring and summer 2023.