21 Sustainable New Year's Resolutions
If you are not composting at home, start using the new Food Scrap program at New Canaan Transfer Station to divert reusable organic waste from the municipal waste stream. For information go to planetnewcanaan.org or email email@example.com with any questions about the program.
Cleaning out closets? Make sure to either donate reusable clothes with a charity or thrift store or drop off at the Textile recycling bins at New Canaan Transfer Station. A Transfer Station pass is not required to drop off textiles. Clothes, sheets and more are accepted in the bins. For a complete list, go to: https://www.baystatetextiles.com/what-we-do-dont-accept/
Start planning for the Spring and apply to become a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Create a landscape which is friendly for birds, bees and critters and proudly post your certificate for your neighbors to see. For information go to: https://www.nwf.org/certifiedwildlifehabitat
Single Stream Recycling can be confusing but it is important we recycle properly. If you have a question about what to put in your bin, go to recyclect.com. If you need more information, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How many plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are in your shower? Cut down on the plastic and use a shampoo bar and conditioner bar instead. It may take a while to find the right one for you but it will significantly cut down on waste. There are many brands out there, here are some of our favorites: https://www.lushusa.com/hair/shampoo-bars/, https://jrliggett.com/, https://www.amazon.com/Keratin-Treatment-Intense-Conditioner-Ounces/dp/B00I8YB23E?ref_=ast_sto_dp
Why not go old school and use bar soap? Many vendors make bar soap locally, so you are not only cutting down on plastic but supporting a local business. Bar soap can be purchased locally at Walter Stewart’s and Whole Foods and until the return of the Farmers’ Market in the Spring, you can always order Goat Boy Soaps: https://goatboy.us/
Most liquid laundry detergent bottles are made out of #5 plastic (Polypropylene) which is very sturdy and thus taking more energy to recycle. Most powder laundry boxes can’t be recycled as the inside is coated with plastic. Why not try a laundry detergent which cuts down on waste. Our favorites so far are: https://www.dropps.com/ and https://www.tru.earth/
Use Wool Dryer Balls when using your dryer. When using three balls at once, the wool laundry balls reduce drying time by 10% and act as a natural laundry softener - so no chemicals needed.
It’s been a crazy year and who knew last year that a sustainable resolution for 2021 would be to invest in some good reusable face masks which can be washed and worn again and again. Also, if you do use a disposable face mask, remember to cut the straps before throwing away to protect wildlife from getting strangled.
Use your reusable bag when going to the grocery store! All stores are accepting reusable bags again and if worried about keeping clean, spray with a water/bleach solution to keep clean.
Those plastic produce bags sure add up when at the grocery store. Start bringing netted produce bags to the store which can be reused again and again. To keep clean, just throw in the washing machine before you next trip to the store.
We are literally flushing forests down the toilet with our use of toilet paper. Just google the Boreal Forest and toilet paper to understand the problem. Commit to using toilet paper made from recycled paper, such as https://us.whogivesacrap.org/ An added bonus is that your toilet paper is shipped to you in a large box with no plastic packaging.
Did you have a hard time finding paper towels this past year? Why not start using rags to clean? Keep a bag for clean rags and a bag for dirty. Wash and reuse over and over again. Help cut down on paper use and save money at the same time.
Cut down on the amount of cleaning bottles used in your home and use a concentrated cleaner with bottles that can be used again and again - just add water. Our favorite so far is: https://www.blueland.com/
Get a home energy audit to cut your carbon footprint and save money. Available to homes with gas or oil heat through Energize CT, a contractor will either come to your house or visit virtually. For a limited time this service is free for eligible customers. Customers will learn what improvements to do to cut energy costs, be eligible for rebates for energy saving improvements and receive energy efficient light bulbs and low flow shower heads. For more information go to: https://www.energizect.com
Get a soil test! Don’t just keep on putting on fertilizers and chemicals onto your lawn or garden without knowing if you need them or if you are even putting on the right product. Do your own soil test which is a lot easier to do yourself than you think. Click on the link for instructions are how to send in your soil sample(s): https://portal.ct.gov/CAES/Soil-Office/New-Haven/Soil-Testing-Office-Instructions-New-Haven
Cut back on the pesticides! Bugs may be annoying but they are incredibly important to birds and other critters for survival. The birds at your bird feeder don’t feed their young seeds, they feed them insects. No insects and baby birds don’t survive.
When you leave a room - turn off the lights! Though this action seems to be incredibly easy (apparently extremely difficult for teenage boys), it’s one that most people often forget to do. Make it a habit to turn off unnecessary lights in your house.
Plant native perennials, shrubs and trees in your landscape to help our local pollinators and birds. For more information, check out New Canaan Pollinator Pathway at https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/new-canaan Also, watch their March, 2020 program with Prof. Doug Tallamy about the importance of planting native plants to help birds and pollinators: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHURaRv78QY
Heard of the Dark Skies movement? Instead of keeping your property light up all night long, turn off the lights which will help nocturnal animals like owls. Worried about safety? Install lights with motion detectors. For more information about the Dark Sky movement, go to: https://www.darksky.org/
Say no to Fast Fashion. According to The World Bank, 20% of waste water worldwide is from fabric dyeing and treatment. EPA estimates that 9% of municipal waste comes from discarded clothing. The average American throws out 81 pounds of clothing every year! Make a commitment to buy only well made clothing which can be used for many years and consider buying used clothing.
According to EcoWatch, Americans used 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. The problem with this is plastic can only be recycled a few times and most plastic bottles never make it into the recycling bin. Skip the bottled water and either invest in a whole house water filtration system or consider buying a product like Brita Water pitcher: https://www.brita.com/
According to the EPA, “Locally based, long-term open space conservation plans help communities protect their environment, improve quality of life, and preserve critical elements of the local heritage, culture, and economy.” Help preserve open space in New Canaan and become a member of New Canaan Land Trust. Memberships start at only $50 and you will be helping NCLT with their mission to preserve open space in New Canaan. Honestly, where would we have been this past year without access to the NCLT trails?
Have you cleaned your refrigerator coils? Dust accumulates on the coils which causes your fridge to work harder to keep cool. Cleaning your fridge coils at least twice a year can reduce your fridge’s energy consumption by 30% a year. It will also extend the life of your fridge.
Don’t Idle! It is bad for your car and bad for the environment and a waste of money - idling your car for two minutes uses as much gas as driving your car a mile. The Idling law in Connecticut only always for three minutes of idling if the temperature is above 20F. For information about the CT No Idle law, go to: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Air/Mobile-Sources/Anti-Idling/Anti-Idling---Compliance-and-Enforcement
Did you jump on the Instant Pot bandwagon? Good! An electric pressure cooker uses much less energy to cook food than an oven, which saves energy and money. Another perk is being able to cook dried food, which you can buy in bulk, quickly without having to hydrate overnight. (Buying dried bulk black beans uses less energy to ship to stores than cans of beans). There are many recipes online and here is just one of many: https://detoxinista.com/how-to-cook-black-beans-in-the-instant-pot/
Are you using paper plates, plastic plates and disposable silverware at home? Stop! Cut down on trash and use regular plates and silverware. You’ll save energy and cut down on trash. Remember to put plates and silver in the dishwasher (run a full load only) rather than hand wash as you will use less water. When order take out, remember to mention you don’t need plastic utensils, as they are often just included in your order.
Change your light bulbs from incandescent to LED bulbs. They are 80% cheaper to run than incandescent, having a much longer lifespan and put out much less heat. Also, LED bulbs have a glow similar to incandescent, so you don’t have to worry about a fluorescent light effect.