10 easy resolutions for a more eco-friendly new year

Penarth Pier

It might not be January just yet, but it’s never too early to start making some eco-friendly resolutions you can really stick to.

Whilst it might not be possible to do all of these things all of the time, keep them in mind for the next 12 months and each small change could add up to a much bigger impact overall.

1. Eat more mussels

We all know that eating less meat is good for the planet. After all, a third of the earth’s available land is already used in the production of meat products – and that’s only going to get worse as the population grows. The worst offenders in terms of carbon footprint are beef and lamb – so it might be time to cut down on the steak dinners.

The greenest animal protein is the humble mussel – grown on lengths of rope hung beneath the surface of the sea, it takes relatively little energy to rear them and get them to our plates. They even have the added bonus of capturing carbon dioxide and locking it up in their shells. The result is that their carbon footprint is 20 times less than chicken, and 50 times less than beef. Bring on the moules frites!

2. Switch to a greener energy provider

I recently switched my gas and electric to Bulb energy, who supply 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas at prices that don’t cost the Earth. The process was quick, and once I had given them a few details, they contacted my previous providers for me. Simples.

3. Buy a reusable coffee cup (and be sure to use it)

Most takeaway coffee cups aren’t recyclable, and take 100 years to break down in landfill – and the ‘biodegradable. ones aren’t much better. The best solution is always a reusable mug. I’m in love with my reusable, ceramic Vera Wang cup – and it saves me accepting a minimum of two disposable cups per week; that’s 104 cups saved by one person alone – imagine what a difference we could all make? Check out this guide to Cardiff coffee shops who accept reusables.

4. Go easy on the hipster foods 

Who doesn’t love avocado on toast – and surely it’s better for the planet than a bacon butty? Maybe not. Reports are starting to highlight that the western obsession with foods like avocado and quinoa is causing havoc in the countries where they’re grown, as land is being illegally cleared to keep up with increasing demand. There are lots of so-called “hipster” health foods causing problems. Try my smashed peas and feta on toast instead.

5. Eat more locally-grown food

We never used to be able to eat blackberries year-round; picking season was something to look forward to and to savour. These days we can pop in to the supermarket and buy them in plastic tubs any time we like, shipped over from Spain or Morocco. But that doesn’t mean we should.

Sticking to locally grown produce and a seasonal diet could help reduce the carbon footprint of your weekly food shop significantly. Shopping at local farmers markets – and buying organic – is even better. Check out my seasonal calendar before your weekly shop – and think about signing up to a local veg box scheme.

6. Recycle at work, not just at home

There only ever used to be a couple of recycling bins in my old office (which irked me no end) but I always made a point of saving up my plastic packaging, cans and paper and walking across the office to the main recycling points – rather than chucking it in the trash can next to my desk.

Nag your bosses, office managers and whoever else you need to, and make sure you’ve got somewhere to recycle in work – you’ll be amazed how much packaging a few al-desko lunches can add up to.

7. Walk, bike,or run to work – or set up a car share

Swap the car for a journey on foot and you’ll be improving your physical and mental wellbeing whilst being green – what’s not to like? If you can’t quite manage that, see if you can car-share with a colleague or two; you can even take it in turns to pack the coffees in your new reusable cups 🙂

8. Buy second-hand, or share with your neighbours

Before you fork out for that brand new Ikea sideboard or fancy games console, go online and search secondhand first. Using sites like eBay, Gumtree and Freecycle, you can track down furniture, appliances, clothes, bikes and other items, often cheaply and sometimes even for free!

Borrowing instead of buying is also a good idea – instead of purchasing new books and movies, share with your mates. Power tools and other appliances are also good to share, plus you’ll cut down on the number of barely-used appliances cluttering up your closet or garage.

9. Stop wasting food

Wasting food feeds climate change; if global food waste were a country, it would be third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.

At the moment, 70% of all food waste in the UK comes from wasting food at home; it’s the rest of that loaf of bread, the forgotten potatoes, the soggy bagged salad left at the back of the fridge. This ‘edible’ element of household food waste is responsible for 14 million tonnes of CO2e alone – as much greenhouse gas produced as flying from London to Perth more than 4.5 million times.

But by using up every edible bit of our food, we can all do our bit to look after the environment. The average family of four could also save just over £60 a month by reducing food waste. I’ve got loads of food-waste fighting inspiration on the blog, from recipes to tips from local Cardiff chefs.

10. Boycott excessive / single-use packaging

Last year I was quoted in an article on the Independent, who screen-grabbed my angry tweet about Marks & Spencer selling slices of cauliflower ‘steak’ in a plastic tray. These then came wrapped in even more plastic, and were on sale for £2.50 each. Whilst I absolutely recognise that pre-cut veg is a necessity for people with certain disabilities, I don’t think you can call cauliflower ‘steak’ with salsa verde a necessity in anyone’s book.

We all saw that heartbreaking episode of Blue Planet, with the mummy whale hanging on to her calf who had died after ingesting plastic waste. And we all want to do something about it. Whether it’s fruit & veg, makeup, clothing or toiletries, stay away from brands who over package their products – in today’s polluted world, it’s an increasingly irresponsible move. Check out my guide to Cardiff’s zero waste shops for inspiration.

Have you made any eco-friendly resolutions? I’d love to hear them – let me know in the comments below.



  1. January 9, 2017 / 1:15 am

    Great reminders to everyone but please do not refer to certain foods as “hipster”… it’s offensive to the places these foods actually come from, and it really depends where you are in the world geographically if it is a sustainable food choice or not. Here in the US avocados are grown in California and are organic and are phenomenal choices for nutritional value… and to refer to it ( or any food for that matter) as a hipster food is just insulting, especially to the many Latino cultures that embrace the avocado as a dietary staple. Your point about eating locally is more important, and more universal.

    • January 9, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Hi EcoFeminist, thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment πŸ™‚ I hope you can understand that as I am writing from the UK, I am referring to these foods as being considered as ‘hipster’ in this country, and not where they are from. The point I am trying to make is that just because a food is trendy, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to fly it halfway across the world and eat it twice a day. xx

  2. January 9, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    All great advice & simple too. Number 7 is on my list this year. I am vegetarian, and try to recycle, upcycle and pass on my/my kids things. I’m also on a great FB swapping page. But there’s always more to do!! #BlogReqNYPost

    • January 9, 2017 / 2:21 pm

      Thanks Vanessa, I’m in the middle of decorating my house so definitely going to be looking for some second hand gems! πŸ™‚ xx

  3. January 9, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    These sound like great resolutions! I’m loving the idea of eating more mussels – I love them as it is and I didn’t even realise they were so green, that’s great to know and an awesome fact to pull out too πŸ˜€ We’re trying to focus more on recycling in our office this year too. We didn’t have a recycling option up until recently, so we’d started taking all the plastic bottles we were using to recycling bins nearby but it was taking a lot of time and effort, so we’ve invested in a big recycling bin now and are managing to use it so far πŸ™‚

    • January 9, 2017 / 3:15 pm

      Thanks Sian! I know, I was so pleased to find out about mussels, going to post some mussel-based recipes soon I think! πŸ˜€ x

  4. January 13, 2017 / 9:00 am

    I like the idea of eating more mussels, definitely be following up on that. Should have some blackberries growing at our house soon, not sure we’ll get a crop this year. Also might be a while before the cherry tree we are growing from seed produces anything.
    Good tips, thanks.

    • January 13, 2017 / 9:17 am

      Thanks! I love picking blackberries every year, it reminds me of being a kid again πŸ™‚ x

  5. January 13, 2017 / 3:56 pm

    Great resolutions – easy to implement! Thanks for the post!

    Mindful Rambles

  6. January 23, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    Some really lovely eco-goals! I’m also in need of a new reusable travel mug – I got my eye on one at Matalan that’s made from recycled bamboo πŸ™‚ #BlogReqNYPost

    • January 23, 2017 / 7:58 pm

      Thanks Manny – I like the sound of that bamboo mug! πŸ˜€ x

      • January 23, 2017 / 11:20 pm

        It comes in two designs too! One that says “I’m not a morning person” and the other a floral one πŸ™‚

  7. January 27, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    This is such a great post. I’m always looking for ways to be more eco-friendly.

  8. January 15, 2018 / 1:55 pm

    Great tips – I wish I liked mussels!
    I walk quite a lot to reduce car journeys, more for the exercise as you mention but it’s also good to think it’s benefitting the environment too.

    p.s. there’s two no.7’s! πŸ˜‰

    • HungryCityHippy
      January 15, 2018 / 2:02 pm

      Thanks dude, just changed it – D’oh! πŸ™‚ x

  9. January 15, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    I often buy second hand as not only is it cheaper, it’s re used. The thing that annoys me about secondary packaging is the Daily Mail’s so called campaign against plastic bags. They are going on in the newspaper about it all the time and in the Saturday and Sunday paper the magazine it comes with is in a plastic bag

    • HungryCityHippy
      January 23, 2018 / 9:59 am

      An even better excuse not to read the Daily Fail I think! πŸ˜‰ x

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