86% of people want to help the planet and 87% think personal actions are the way to do it. Want to do your bit and make this year count, but have no idea where to start? Explore our guide to find the inspiration you need for your 2024 green New Year’s resolution ideas.
What are green resolutions?
At the start of a New Year, people all over the world pledge to stop, start or stick to a positive habit. This is known as a New Year’s resolution.
Popular New Year’s resolutions include exercising more, spending less and maintaining a healthy diet. But in recent years, an increasing number of people have started setting eco-friendly resolutions.
Also known as green resolutions and sustainable resolutions, these are promises based on increasing your positive impact and reducing your negative impact on the planet. So, less Strava, saving money, and six packs and more saving waste and steering clear of plastic.
Bored of the same old New Year’s resolutions?
It’s New Year’s Eve. You’ve consumed your body weight in pigs in blankets, are one glass away from finishing the third bottle of red, and haven’t jogged since year 8 sports day. You want to set a target for next year but have no plans to dust off the running shoes. And after four years of trying, you’re done with Dry January.
You turn to your friends for advice, but Dianne’s dancing on the table, Phil’s belting out Auld Lang Syne for the fourth imaginary encore, and Helen’s halfway through a 10-minute voicemail to the ex she hasn’t seen since sixth form prom.
Admiring Dianne’s dance moves – equally envious of her hips as you are embarrassed for her teenage son sitting in the corner – your eyes land on the shrapnel of leftovers scattered across the kitchen. You can’t help but sigh, knowing every stale breadstick, soggy crisp and half-eaten dip is soon destined to scale the mountain of plastic turtle-heading its way out of the waste basket.
Bored of the seemingly endless trips to the wheelie bin, and feeling guilty about the impact this may have on the planet, what do you do?
Just kidding. You set yourself a sustainable New Year’s resolution, of course! We’ve compiled a list of green New Year’s resolution ideas to get you started.
Make this year count with 24 easy-peasy sustainable New Year’s resolutions ideas
Are you one of the three-quarters of people planning on being more sustainable in 2024? Here are 24 New Year’s resolution ideas to ensure the grass is greener on the other side of 2023.
1. Offset your carbon
Get off on the right foot by calculating your emissions and reducing your carbon footprint!
Carbon offsetting is about investing in environmental projects that reduce future emissions and balance your own carbon output. These projects reduce and remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and cover a range of activities like forestry, conservation and clean energy.
For more information about carbon footprints, check out our blog on climate change inaction.
2. Cut down on food waste
Forget slimming waists – this year’s all about slimming waste! The UK wastes 9.52 million tonnes of food per year. Over two-thirds of this food is edible when it’s binned.
Simple green resolutions you can make to reduce food waste:
- – Plan meals ahead of time (check out our recipe list)
- – Box up, reuse and freeze your leftovers
- – Freshen up your veggies
- – Use leftover cauliflower stalks and beetroot leaves
- – Keep your bread fresh for longer
- – Use anti-food waste apps
- – Keep an eye on use-by dates
- – Plan your portions
- – Learn how to store food
- – Join our green milkround and order what you need, when you need it. No more bulk buying or running out of essentials!
3. Change the way you travel
One of the easiest ways to drive positive environmental change is to not drive at all.
Looking for sustainable New Year’s resolution ideas? How about cycling and walking more, and swapping long car journeys for public transport? This will reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and the amount of emissions spilling into our atmosphere.
4. Buy less
Save pennies and the planet by reducing the amount of stuff you buy. This is a really easy green resolution, as it requires you to do absolutely nothing!
That thrill of owning a new sweater will wear off. But the satisfaction of saving will continue long into the future when you can use your nest egg to buy something more memorable and long-lasting.
Buying less also preserves energy, materials and the planet’s natural resources.
Bonus tip: Search for the word “unsubscribe” in your inbox and opt out of those tantalisingly tempting email newsletters from fashion brands.
5. Wear your favourite clothes more often
You heard it here first, outfit repeating is in! If re-wearing red-carpet looks is good enough for Kate Middleton and J-Lo, there’s even more reason to wear your favourite cardy two days in a row. Let’s face it, nobody has much time in the morning so save the stress and wear your go-to power outfit.
6. Buy second-hand
Okay, we get it. It may not be possible to refrain from buying absolutely anything in 2024. But when you do need to refresh your wardrobe or give your living room a makeover, try to buy better than you did in 2023.
How? By exploring the wonderful world of thrift shopping. Need a new coat? Explore second-hand clothing apps. Looking for new furniture? Check out Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. Taking up tennis? Find a racket at your local charity shop!
7. Sell second-hand
Brits dump £140 million worth of clothing in landfill each year. £140 million!
With so many second-hand apps, charity shops and recycling bins, there’s really no excuse to be binning boots and chucking chinos in 2024. And, it’s such an easy way to get a few extra pounds in the bank. You could be sitting on a fortune!
If you do need to clear some space in your wardrobe, loft or garage, consider doing so using these methods instead:
- – Take unwanted items to a charity shop
- – Recycle them – Check with your local council if you’re unsure how to
- – Sell unwanted clothes on apps like Vinted and Depop
- – Try Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree
- – Look for local car boot sales
8. Swap single-use items for reusables
The Incredibles are pretty good at saving the world, but the reusables are the real heroes.
Our glass bottles have a lower carbon footprint than the equivalent plastic containers after just one return and reuse. And thanks to our Life Cycle Analysis, we have the science to prove it!
From reusable water bottles to return and reuse milkrounds, it’s never been easier to give up single-use packaging!
9. Go plastic free
According to the Big Plastic Count, only 12% of plastic thrown away each week is actually recycled. The rest is incinerated, buried or shipped overseas. This creates nasty pollutants that leak into our earth, oceans and atmosphere while endangering wildlife and future generations.
We may have single-use plastic, but we haven’t figured out the single-use planet yet. So, for a 2024 green New Year’s resolution idea, swap pesky plastic for sustainably packaged groceries and join our milkround to get them delivered right to your doorstep!
Wanna know your compostables from your recyclables? Learn more in our sustainable packaging guide.
10. Save energy (and money off your utility bills)
Are your bills rising higher than a high-heeled giraffe on stilts? You’re not alone. Over half the people from our recent sustainability study said the cost of living crisis has affected their ability to be eco-friendly.
Want to protect the planet and your purse strings? Here are a few tips to reduce your energy consumption:
- – Turn your heating down a degree or two
- – Limit your showers to a few minutes
- – Turn off lights
- – Switch off electronics on standby
- – Draught-proof your house
- – Use an air fryer instead of a cooker
- – Turn off radiators in rooms you don’t use
- – Use the eco setting of your washing machine
- – Avoid tumble drying
- – Only fill the kettle up to the amount you need
These small changes and eco-friendly New Year’s resolution ideas could save you over £350 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust!
11. Become an eco-friendly expert
We’re not saying you need to shout sustainability from the rooftops or become a plastic free preacher but learning about the environment can inspire you to adopt a greener lifestyle.
12. Meal prep
What if 2024 could give you more time, money and tastier meals while lowering your waste and stress levels?
Pep up and prep up your meals to:
- – Enjoy a wider range of delicious dishes
- – Vary your diet
- – Take away the time and hassle you spend deciding what to cook
- – Reduce food waste
- – Manage portion sizes
- – Make shopping even easier (especially if you order ahead and get your grub delivered on our milkround).
13. Take up gardening
A green resolution for green fingers! Gardening is proven to boost your mental and physical health AND it can do wonders for the environment!
If you want to share your outdoor space with some lovely local critters (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), design your garden for wildlife to increase biodiversity. And if you get a buzz from helping our planet’s pollinators, you can try your hand at planting flowers for bees and designing your own DIY bee hotel (also known as an AirBnBee).
Embrace your inner Alan Titchmarsh with our other eco-friendly garden tips:
14. Teach your kids about sustainability
We believe littluns can have a big say in how we treat the planet, and involving them in sustainable habits can make eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions child’s play.
Here are some guides and activities to get you and the family started:
- – Glass vs plastic quiz
- – Sustainability wordsearch
- – Teacher resources on climate change
- – Children’s recycling activity
- – Teach your kids about plastic waste
This may sound like a fitness resolution, but we assure you it’s not. Don’t worry, you can put away the lycra for another year!
Upcycling means transforming or adapting an unwanted product, material or item and turning it into something useful. You can upcycle all sorts, from turning an old welly into a plant pot right on through to sanding, varnishing, painting and remodelling worn-out furniture.
If you think a home-cooked meal tastes nice, wait till you sit on your very own handmade chair. You’ll never feel comfort or satisfaction like it!
16. Get out in nature
According to the mental health charity Mind, exercising outdoors and being around nature can:
- – Boost your mood
- – Reduce stress
- – Help you feel more relaxed
- – Improve your confidence
- – Reduce loneliness
You may also find that embracing the great outdoors helps you rediscover your love for the planet we call home. And with this greater appreciation comes an even greater drive to protect it!
17. Stay positive!
It can be very easy to get bogged down in the doom and gloom of the daily news cycle. But there are lots and lots and lots of amazing things happening around us that deserve our attention, too.
18. Sack off the supermarket
Supermarkets produce 240 tonnes of annual waste and throw away the equivalent of 190 million meals per year. That’s enough to feed over 173,000 people three meals a day for an entire year!
To avoid plastic-filled baskets and bulk buying traps, swap pesky shopping trips for fresh, sustainably packaged doorstep groceries, you know, maybe from a green milkround that supports independent suppliers and British dairy farmers… Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Sharpen those knives. Patch up those ripped joggers. Cobble those clogs!
Tired of tossing out damaged or faulty belongings that end up in a landfill? Repair, don’t despair!
Fixing items skips the entire manufacturing process and avoids the waste cycle. It’s also a heck of a lot more rewarding than buying the same thing over and over again!
20. Be kind to your bum (and the planet)
This is the one occasion, it’s okay to let your eco-friendly New Year’s resolution go straight down the toilet.
Who Gives a Crap toilet paper is 100% recycled and arrives in recyclable paper. But its planet-helping ethics don’t stop there. 50% of the company’s profits also go to building toilets and improving sanitation in the developing world! And it doesn’t hurt that it looks nice.
Join our milkround to get yours delivered right to your doorstep.
21. Take a cold shower
We understand you may have cold feet about this green resolution (in more ways than one). But hear us out.
Cold showers have many health benefits, including boosting immunity and alertness and reducing stress. They also help the planet by lowering your energy consumption and water usage (nobody stays in a cold shower for long!).
22. Change your holiday plans
Do you really need to fly abroad this year? Why not enjoy a British break instead?
Get the train to one of our stunning coastlines or catch a coach to one of our 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Or, if you’re chasing the sun or a change of scenery, you could always ride the rails to Europe.
The Eurostar actually boasts one of the smallest carbon footprints, especially compared to flying and driving. In fact, if you took the Eurostar to France rather than flying, you’d reduce your journey’s carbon footprint by 96%!
23. Use sustainable clothing brands
The fashion industry is responsible for one-tenth of global pollution. But the world of sustainable clothing has advanced beyond hemp dresses and naturists. Now, you can buy all sorts!
This year, aim to swerve unsustainable fast fashion and look for B Corp brands (like us!) to keep that A-list look, without the negative impact on the environment. And, feel safe in the knowledge your money is supporting real people.
24. Start composting
Put waste on gardening duty and feed your flowerbeds! Here are some useful guides to kick-start your composting journey:
- – Home composting 101
- – Worms and compost
- – Can you compost eggshells?
- – Teach your kids about compost
- – What is compost used for?
- – How composting helps the Environment
How to stick to a sustainable resolution
Fed up with playing Eye of the Tiger on repeat? Bored of the cheesy life coaches and monotonous podcasts? You know, there are other ways to make your New Year’s resolution count.
Follow our guide to make positive habits stick and continue your green resolutions through 2024 and beyond! Going green can sometimes feel like a big lifestyle change, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. By making a lot of little changes you’ll be an eco-savvy in no time.
Making mornings easier for you is our bread and butter over here at Modern Milkman. So get the family around the table because your local milkie is on their way with your next cereal refill and doorstep milk delivery, right in time for breakfast. From veg delivery to soft drinks delivered to your door, the best part is that all of our packaging is sustainable!