10 Green New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

Let’s make our 2015 New Year’s resolutions green and easy to achieve. I propose we get started by heading off to our local grocery markets.

Line of Shopping Carts

Grocery markets are ideal venues for undertaking your New Year’s resolution for several reasons. First, you already shop for groceries on a regular basis so you will not need to squeeze another activity into your already busy schedule. Second, grocery shopping is a recurring task giving you plenty of opportunities to practice and reinforce your new habits. Third, grocery shopping involves making straightforward decisions like to buy or not buy a particular food or item, switch to a different product, or try something new.

10 Green New Year’s Resolutions You Can Accomplish at the Grocery Market

Grocery shoppers are more powerful than you may realize. Each time you buy or do not buy a product you contribute to the data pool that farmers, manufacturers, and retailers analyze and use to make decisions about what to grow, make, and sell.

When millions of people make a change, even a small one, it all adds up. Take organic food for instance. It was once considered a niche market but now organic food is available at national grocery chain stores and even some big box retailers. In part, this is due to a few people requesting and buying organic food, then more people, then many people, and eventually millions of people.

Imagine the positive impact we can achieve if each one of us chooses one of the ten green New Year’s resolutions below and incorporates it into our weekly grocery shopping. We can cut carbon emissions and reduce waste, make healthier food choices and even save money.

New Year's Resolution - 2015 Happy New Year Sign and Target with Arrow in Bullseye

Avoid Aluminum

Making single-use disposable aluminum beverage cans is a wasteful application of a valuable material with a huge environmental impact. Since you may buy beverages during each shopping trip, eliminating drinks that come in aluminum cans from your grocery list is a green choice that keeps on giving week after week.

Bring Your Own Bags

Bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery market gives you an opportunity to be on the leading edge of a growing trend of people, municipalities, and even states saying no to single-use plastic bags, which are wasteful on so many levels. If you can remember to grab our wallet, you can remember your bags.

Reusable Shopping Bags of Various Styles and Sizes

Pass on Packaging

Skipping single-serve packages, buying in bulk, and bringing your own reusable produce bags are just a few of the options available for cutting down on the amount of throwaway packaging you bring home and later toss in the trash or recycle bin. Recycling is a good habit, but not having a package to recycle is even better.

Opt for Organic

Opting for organic fruits and vegetables over their conventionally grown counterparts supports environmentally and people friendly farming practices. If millions of shoppers purchased just one organic fruit or vegetable a week, surely produce department managers across the country would take notice.

Organic Fruits, Vegetables, and Packaged Food Items

Recycled Fiber is all the Rage

Choosing paper goods like toilet paper, facial tissue, napkins, and towels made from 100% recycled paper fiber reduce deforestation. Selecting chlorine-free products is even better.

Soap Switch Up

Manufacturers have spent millions of dollars on advertising trying to convince you that you need to buy liquid soap in a decorative plastic dispenser, even though it does not clean any better than bar soap. Spending less by switching to bar soap makes sense economically and environmentally.

Liquid Soap Dispenser and Stack of Bar Soap

Ban Bottled Water 

Bottled water is not an environmentally friendly product and recycling the plastic bottles, which few people do, does not make it so. Banning bottled water from your shopping cart is green and good for your wallet.

Look for Local

Looking for and buying locally and regionally produced foods cut carbon emissions by reducing the number of miles our food travels. Locally grown produce is fresher (often picked the day you buy it) so it will last longer in your fridge and fruit bowl. Trying new local food products instead of buying your usual national brands can be fun and tasty too.

Grocery Market Locally Grown Produce Section

Fair Trade Fan

Purchasing fair trade products ensures farmers receive a fair price for the food they grow like cacao beans, coffee beans, and bananas. Farmers receiving fair trade certification are required to follow eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices, making buying fair trade products good for people and the planet.

Make More Meals Meatless

Buying less meat (especially beef) is perhaps the greenest New Year’s resolution you can accomplish in the grocery market. Growing grain for livestock feed and raising animals for meat has an enormous environmental footprint, which is growing as more people around the world eat more meat. Implementing meatless Mondays is an easy way to remember to eat less meat but any meal or day will work.

Hopefully, you found at least one of the above New Year’s resolution ideas appealing and decided to go for it. To increase your chances of success keep it simple, specific, and doable. For instance, make a resolution to buy bar soap for your shower, switch to recycled fiber toilet paper, or make one dinner a week meatless.

Let’s do it!

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

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