I recently posted, 5 insanely easy New Year’s goals for families who are new to green living. However, I know plenty of you are more experienced. AND, if you’re experienced, it means you’re ready for some harder challenges during the upcoming year.
Now to make these challenges harder, but still fair, I’ve only listed goals that my family has actually accomplished. This way, I can offer tips, time-lines and so on to help you meet these goals. I also picked goals that will have a positive impact on the planet, but that are still doable.
Following are five green challenges you can take on as a family in the new year. Oh, and because I don’t want this post to get exorbitantly long, later I’ll link some tips to each, but for now I’m just going to post the goals and some basics about them.
GOAL 1 – Always use reusable bags
If you’ve completed this goal already, consider trying to convert another family member or friend to reusables. The average person uses about 500 plastic bags per year, which uses lots of oil and creates tons of pollution. Plus almost none of these bags get recycled and many end up as garbage in the oceans or other public spaces.
As for paper, in 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year alone according to Reuseit. Also, it takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag.
If you can convince just one person to make the switch to reusable bags, you’ve helped save a ton of resources.
If this is a goal you’ve already completed, consider attempting to switch to 100% recycled toilet paper or try to drop another disposable product you use, such as plastic baggies or foil.
GOAL 3 – Quit buying bottled water
If you’ve completed this goal already, consider trying to cut out other plastic bottles in your life. For example juice bottles or soda. Buy in glass, make homemade juice or look for companies using recycled containers AND other ethical green practices to bottle their beverages.
GOAL 4 – Eat less meat
If you’ve completed this goal work on other areas of your meals. For example, make all your bread this year from scratch, thus cutting out preservatives and packaging. Quit buying canned soup and jarred sauces and make your own. Or grow a garden and eat at least some of your own fresh organic produce vs. always having to buy it.
GOAL 5 – Go at least 50% organic
If you’ve completed this goal up the stakes and go 80% or even 100% organic. Many families do this, and while it’s hard it’s not impossible.