Because no-one really wants to give up chocolate.

‘New year, new you’ – that’s a phrase you’ll be hearing a lot of over the next few weeks. But if difficult diets and wearisome workouts don’t appeal, why not make some altogether different kinds of resolutions this January? Less self-improvement, more planet-improvement – and they’re sure to bring you a certain joy and satisfaction that you’ll never find munching on celery or getting up at 6am to do yoga. Here are five suggestions for New Year’s resolutions that the climate will thank you for sticking to.

  1. I will take an extra 30 seconds to put rubbish in the right bins

Recycling should be super simple, but the fact is that every local authority has its own ways of doing things, and every household has a variety of bins, bags and boxes to contend with. So it’s completely understandable that in the middle of making dinner or at the end of a long day, you’re just going to put your rubbish wherever. After all, what difference will one errant yoghurt pot make really? Well, quite a lot, unfortunately. Putting the wrong stuff into the wrong containers means the whole bag is at risk of being rejected for contamination, and then it all ends up in landfill. Find out exactly how your recycling collection works here, and make a promise to do your best to dispose of trash in the right receptacles. Order a food caddy today if you don’t have one yet.

Learn more about recycling properly here.

  1. I will learn how to use my boiler properly

There’s much more to a boiler than its on/off switch. Yep, the instruction manual may seem a little bamboozling, but taking the time to figure out exactly how your model works could save you a significant chunk of cash and make a big dent in your carbon footprint. Instead of simply turning it on and off (and cranking it up to max when you’ve arrived home to a freezing cold house), learn how to programme it so it turns on and off at set intervals and turns off when you are not at home. This way you only use the energy you really need (and you’ll come home to a lovely warm house instead!).

Learn more about looking after your boiler here.

  1. I will spend an afternoon sorting out those annoying draughts

For what amounts to just a couple of hours’ effort, draught-proofing your home has a major pay-off, so while it’s tempting to just ignore those little wafts of cool air sneaking into your house – don’t! It means all your lovely warm air is sneaking out. According to the Energy Saving Trust, draught-proofing is one the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy – and money – in any type of building. Draught-proofing around windows and doors could save you around £20 a year, while draught-proofing a chimney that’s not being used could save you around £15 a year. Plus, draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures, which means you may be able to turn down your thermostat and save even more on your energy bills.

Learn more about draught-proofing your home here.

  1. I will make climate-friendly diet choices

Okay, we fibbed – we are making a reference to New Year dieting, but not in the way you might think. Instead of low-carb, we’re talking about low-carbon. Food is responsible for a third of all global greenhouse gas emissions, but by making a few tweaks to your grocery shop you can significantly lower your carbon ‘foodprint’. Scale back on the meat and cheese, buy locally and take steps to limit your food waste. And if your pursuit of more mindful eating results in losing a few pounds, you just smugly tell everyone how you’re smashing all your resolutions.

Learn more about low carbon diets here.

  1. I will only use the car if I absolutely have to

And no, nipping to the shops for a packet of biscuits doesn’t count, sorry. Owning a car takes its toll on both your pocket and the environment, with vehicles accounting for a fifth of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. But a lot of the time we use them when we don’t really need to – when there are good public transport alternatives available, or we’re just feeling downright lazy. Resolving to give up just one car journey a week will make a big dent in your carbon footprint, and it doesn’t have to be an inconvenience – look into rideshare initiatives or even joining a car club and doing away with your car for good. Avoiding the car is also good for your health!

Learn more about car clubs here.

The bottom line

We’re all used to making New Year’s resolutions in pursuit of personal betterment, but one of the very best things you can do for yourself – and those around you – is to take steps to better the climate. However you opt to reduce your carbon footprint this year, do your best to stick to it – the planet will thank you!

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