21 Sustainable Goals You Can Achieve in 2021
Do you want to help the planet but don’t know where to start? Well, you’re in the right place! Here are 21 sustainable goals to achieve in 2021. You don’t have to do them all (but if you want to that’s great!) because even small changes can make a huge difference. So make this year more sustainable through positive lifestyle changes and help save the planet.
1. Shop Local Buy Local
When you spend locally, you are helping to keep a small business open and local people in jobs. It also reduces our carbon footprint, as products are not travelling half-way around the world. If you’re unsure if a product is locally sourced, leave it on the shelf.
2. Swap Single-Use For Reusable Alternative
Coffee Cup – did you know that one billion disposable coffee cups end up in landfill each year? (EPA, 2019) That’s a lot of waste that could have been avoided simply by switching to a reusable alternative. If you want to make a positive environmental impact, fill your morning brew in a reusable coffee cup.
Utensils and straws – if you eat take-out, bring your own utensils and straws. If you usually order more than you can eat, bring a container too.
Razors – next time you need a new razor, swap it for a plastic-free safety razor.
Plastic bags – carry a grocery or tote bag with you so you will always have one handy when you need it. Use reusable produce bags for your fruit, vegetables, and bulk foods.
Toothbrush – swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo or plastic-free alternative instead.
3. Turn Off Lights
Turn off the lights if you are not using them; same goes with devices not in use, switch them off at the wall. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but you will be saving $ off your next bill. Why not join millions of people around the world and show your support for the planet by switching off your lights for Earth Hour on Saturday 27th of March at 8:30pm.
4. Go Plastic Free
Get on board Plastic Free July or any month of the year to reduce plastic usage. Try to eliminate bringing new plastic into your home, instead opt for glass, wood, or bamboo alternatives. If you are disposing of unnecessary plastic items, do so thoughtfully and recycle where you can.
5. Donate To Charity
Donate to a cause you feel passionate about, donate to an organisation that plants trees, or volunteer your time to a local community group. Make this the year that you sort through that garage, spare room, or storage shed and donate unwanted items to charity.
6. Minimise Food Wastage
We are all guilty of buying too much food that goes to waste. Remember that science experiment you found at the back of the fridge last week? Two words – Meal Planning. Simply by meal planning, using leftovers, and composting scraps you will dramatically reduce food wastage ending up in landfill. It will save you time and money too!
7. Eat More Vegetables
We all know that eating our veggies is good for our health. But did you know that eating less meat and dairy also helps reduce our carbon footprint? Try Meatless Monday, or any day of the week that suits you. Take the plunge and go vegetarian, plant-based, or vegan for a month. Nowadays there is a lot of meat and dairy alternatives to choose from so transitioning has never been easier.
8. Switch Up Your Commute
One way to reduce your carbon footprint is by switching up the commute to work or school. If possible, use public transport, carpool, bike, or walk instead. If you can, work from home at least one day a week.
9. Avoid Fast Fashion
Did you know that fast fashion brands produce 52 “micro-seasons” each year, that’s a new collection every single week! In response to these latest trends, clothing is being made cheaply and rapidly to meet market demands. This has significant ethical, social, and environmental impacts. As a consumer, avoid fast fashion and only buy from brands you know support ethical and sustainable conditions throughout all stages of their manufacturing process.
10. Bulk Foods
Shop at your local bulk foods store and cut down on unnecessary packaging. They stock everything you need from flour, grains, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, even chocolate. Don’t forget to bring your own reusable produce bags or jars.
11. Farmers Markets
If you have a farmer’s market in your area, then check them out. You will find the freshest produce available straight from the farm to your plate, it doesn’t get more locally sourced than that!
12. Grow Your Own
If you don’t have a farmer’s market near you, why not grow your own. It doesn’t need to be a big garden, just big enough to grow a couple of your favourite vegetables or herbs. If you live in an apartment, or don’t have a garden to grow plants, try growing in pots instead. Herbs can grow just about anywhere and in small spaces, there is nothing better than home grown produce.
13. DIY Cleaning Products
Have you ever tried to make your own cleaning products? It’s super simple and you only need a couple of ingredients to make a range of products, in fact you probably have these items in your cupboard already – white vinegar, bicarbonate soda, and essential oils. DIY cleaning products are not only better for the planet but for your health too.
14. Buy Second Hand Before Buying New
Where possible, buy second hand over buying new. Check out local garage sales, marketplace, or gumtree next time you need a new item. You might be surprised at what you find and buying second hand instead of new will save you money.
Composting is the easiest way you can divert waste from landfill, you can even do it if you live in an apartment. Invest in a composting system or a worm farm, both have advantages just choose the best one that fits your lifestyle and needs.
16. Sustainable Investing
Where you put your money can have a significant environmental impact. Does your bank support businesses that align with your values? Does your superfund invest your money ethically? Nowadays there is a lot of information freely available to make informed decisions, make sure you do your research and invest ethically.
17. Brand Awareness
Do you know where your clothes were made? Do you know if a product has been tested on animals? As consumers, we can say no to harmful practices simply by not purchasing from a brand. Look for brands that focus on sustainable packaging, recycled materials, and if they support responsible initiatives. If you have concerns with a brand, contact them. Let them know how you feel and what areas they could improve.
18. Sustainable Gifting
This year try something different and avoid buying new gifts or gift an experience instead. Buy second-hand gifts, regift that present you didn’t use, give consumable gifts, or give no gifts at all. Make sure to wrap it in something recycled or repurposed!
19. Make Your Own
There are many things you can make from scratch that will save you money and the planet by avoid unnecessary packaging. You can make your own consumable foods like sauces, chutneys, dips, or fermented vegetables. You could DIY beauty and bathroom products like facial scrubs, creams, toothpaste, and soap. You could even make your own gifts or greeting cards.
20. Sustainable Travel
When we can travel again, plan your holiday to have a positive impact on that location’s environment, society, and economy. Instead of travelling in peak season, go in the off season. Rates will be cheaper and there will be fewer crowds. Go camping and sleep under the stars. Be conscious of your plastic usage and bring reusable coffee cups, water bottle, straws, utensils, containers, and tote bags. Get off the beaten track and explore those lesser-known areas. Travel by train which has the least carbon footprint than any other form of travel.
21. Reduce Paper
In the kitchen, instead of using paper towel try a reusable towel or a cloth instead. Just wash the towel or cloth ready for next time you need it. Go green at work and only print if you absolutely have too. When buying paper products, make sure they are 100% recycled and support responsible initiatives.
So now you have 21 sustainable goals you can achieve this year. If you only do half of these then you are well on your way to living a more sustainable lifestyle. What are you waiting for, start today!
Share your sustainable journey by posting #sustainablegoals2021
EPA, 2019. Sourced on 15/01/2021 from https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/news/news/2019/coffee-cup-waste-is-not-just-a-storm-in-a-teacup