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A few years go we committed to living a sustainable lifestyle, so it feels suiting that we share some of our resolutions and tactics in hopes of inspiring others to make more sustainable travel and lifestyle choices in 2020!

If the idea of sustainable living has been of interest to you but you don’t quite know how to begin your journey, we hope that this list of 10 resolutions for a more sustainable lifestyle will help you get started!

1. Reduce plastic use

The world’s plastic problem is big, really big! 33 million tons of plastic waste per year is generated in the U.S. alone and only a fraction of it is recycled. Plastic is awful for the environment. It ends up in landfills, beaches, rivers, oceans and contributes to a plethora of environmental problems.

And if there is one thing you can do to get started on a journey to a more sustainable lifestyle it would be to reduce the amount of plastic you use on a daily basis.

Start by saying no to plastic bags! Invest in a couple of reusable grocery bags and use them for all your shopping needs.

Stop buying bottled water! There is a high environmental cost behind the production of disposable plastic water bottles. Did you know that in one year, 17 million barrels of oil are used to create them? And that for every one liter of bottled water, it takes 3 liters of water to create?

Invest in a great reusable water bottle (we recommend HydroFlask) and finally eliminate plastic water bottles from your life, for good.

Say no to plastic straws! Plastic straws are one of the top items polluting our oceans and beaches and unfortunately, they cannot be recycled. With over 500 million straws used in the US alone, the impact of straws on the world is staggering. So next time you order a drink at a restaurant, bar, or cafe, simply ask to hold the straw. Alternatively, purchase a reusable drinking straw and pop it in your bag to use instead of plastic straws.

Hydroflask on the road

2. Reduce the use of chemicals in your home

A lot of the cleaning products found in your home contain a load of mysterious, dangerous chemicals that are not only bad for you – but bad for the environment! A lot of the toxic ingredients aren’t even explicitly listed in the ingredients and have not been properly tested by regulatory agencies.

Start the New Year with a “spring clean” of your cabinets to eliminate chemical-filled products and replace them with any of these awesome eco-friendly alternatives or even better – try making your own!

3. Switch to all-natural personal care products

Similar to cleaning products, personal care, and cosmetic products that are riddled with toxic chemicals. When buying personal care products to use on your body or face, choose brands that are vegan, all-natural, and not tested on animals. Our go-to is Lush! They’ve got something for everyone, and even incentivize the recycling of their packaging.

If you wear makeup, sit down with this list and go through all of your makeup products to see which brands you’re using that still test on animals! We don’t necessarily recommend throwing them out right away (that would be wasteful), but definitely, don’t repurchase any products from any of the listed companies. 

And if you’ve got some spare time, you should try making your own personal care products – check out some of our recommended recipes HERE!

Best Zero Waste Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Photo courtesy of Aspen Kay Naturals

4. Buy local and seasonal produce

Next time you head to the grocery store, try to only stock up on the produce that’s in-season. It’s great for your wallet (because when a fruit is in peak supply and demand, the price dips), and it tastes better and is better for you!

That means limiting your squash intake to summer and fall, your kale to when it’s cold, and your corn and peppers to the summer. If you’re unsure of what grows when check out this awesome breakdown!

5. Eat less meat

Overly-industrialized, grain-fed livestock industry is awful in every way. Not only are all of the growth hormones injected into animals bad for them (and us), the greenhouse gases their farms create are deadly to the ozone layer. Plus the living conditions of many animals in the industry are just inhumane!

While there are a bunch of benefits to becoming a full vegetarian (or even vegan), it’s not necessary to completely sacrifice meat if it’s something you enjoy eating! Reducing your meat intake (even if it’s just implementing something as simple as Meatless Mondays) can have a huge impact on the environment!

At the very minimum, try to be more conscious about where your meat comes from. Grass-fed, pasture-raised meat is the way to go!

Vegan salad at Nina's Real Food in Jeffrey's Bay

6. Embrace minimalism

Minimalism is just a fancy way of saying that you live and shop consciously – not acquiring more than you need, and being aware of the consequences of all of your purchases. It’s a concept that we welcomed into our lives in 2017 and have found it to be incredibly liberating!

Let’s be honest! There’s a huge disparity between the amount of stuff that we NEED, and the amount of stuff we HAVE. So in the New Year, just get a little more conscious about any purchases you’re making (do you need that third wine rack?) and consider taking some time to declutter your home with this amazing declutter guide!

7. Say no to Fast Fashion

If the concept of Fast Fashion is new to you, grab some popcorn and watch “True Cost” to hear the story about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. In short, Fast Fashion (aka low-cost clothing) has a high human and environmental cost and despite the fact that each item costs you less than high-quality clothing, it ends up costing you more in the long term.

Consider breaking the cycle of fast fashion and shop more consciously. Luckily, there are dozens of slow fashion brands that are dedicated to ethical and sustainable practices to inspire you to make a positive change in your wardrobe.

8. Drive Less

There are numerous benefits to ditching your car and so many alternatives to driving available in every city! Public transportation is a great way to make reduce your carbon footprint, as is carpooling. Whether you’re on holiday or commuting to work, consider taking public transportation to cut down on emissions and help reduce pollution in your city.

Bonus points if you opt to ride a bike or walk to your destination! It’s not only better for the environment, but all that exercise is going to be so much better for your health!

Sunset bike ride on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

9. Choose to be a More Sustainable Traveler

If you’ve got the travel bug, let this be the year you explore the world in a different way. Travel more, travel farther, but most importantly, travel more eco-consciously!

Oksana & Max at the Drift Away Eco Lodge in Costa Rica

10. Give back

Giving back is a great way to connect with others in your own community. And luckily, there are so many ways to make a positive impact that don’t involve monetary donations, so it’s a resolution you can stick to no matter what financial position you are in.

Get involved in a project in the community that’s near and dear to your heart, maybe it’s volunteering for a local organization or helping out with a community garden, or a local sports team, or simply taking part in some of the community events throughout the year.

And don’t forget to continue giving back while you are away from home too. There are many ways to “pay it forward” while traveling that will help you connect to the communities abroad and help you gain a better understanding of life outside of your own country.

Feasting with Vanh's family!

Sticking to any resolutions can be hard, but we are big believers that committing to living a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t need to be a huge lifestyle change.

Take small steps to educate yourself on how to live a more mindful, more eco-conscious lifestyle, change one little behaviour at a time and before you know it, you’ll be on a journey that will lead to a much more meaningful and healthy life – a recipe for a great year ahead!

What resolutions are you hoping to stick to this year? Share some of your ideas in the comments below!

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