5 sustainability habits to start for the new year

Environmental sustainability is an effort to ensure future generations will have access to the same or better resources as current generations. In other words, making sure our planet doesn’t go the way of the dinosaur. But between bamboo flooring, hybrid cars, and using compostable cotton balls, where should you start? The good news is, though sustainability is multifaceted, it doesn’t have to be complex to incorporate into your life. In this article, you’ll discover 5 everyday sustainability habits to start in the new year.

1. Keep your reusable grocery bags someplace you won’t forget

Reusable grocery bags were created with the idea of keeping single-use plastics out of landfills, but they’re so easy to forget! That’s why we recommend keeping them by the door or in your car to reduce the possibility of leaving them at home. There are even models that fold up small enough to fit on your keychain. 

At a2 Milk®, we’re constantly making strides to reduce our environmental footprint. Efforts like transitioning our online messaging to overhauling the containers for our a2 Milk® products move our greater mission forward. A mission that ensures our children and their children’s children have access to the resources to live happy, healthy lifestyles. 

2. Get Thrifty

Thousands of tons of clothing are thrown out every year, mostly from textile companies. And that number is only increasing. In fact, 85% of clothing in the US ends up burned or in landfills. In recent years, a movement in the fashion world has customers demanding more thoughtful and sustainable practices than ‘fast fashion.’ 

Fast fashion is inexpensive, cheaply-made clothing. These clothing pieces are typically made with a blend of plastic fibers that can’t be recycled or composted. Often this clothing follows popular trends and won’t survive a few spins in the washer, leading it to be thrown out after a few wears.

Conversely, designer brands are made to last for years, not months. They hold up to tailoring,  can often be repaired if you split a seam, and can be regifted if your tastes change. 

Thrifting designer fashions is a great way to invest in quality clothing, without the price tag. 

3. Upcycle Furniture

Up next is a way to put your Pinterest hoarding to good use! Upcycling furniture isn’t an everyday hack, but it can reduce the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills if you are up for the task. The internet is filled with side tables made from old dining chairs or Ikea shelves repurposed into shoe racks. Your imagination is your only limit…and maybe your ability to use a hand drill.

Here are a few easy ways to upcycle furniture:

  • Give it a new paint job
  • Reupholster seat cushions
  • Replace cabinet doors
  • Add a door to open shelving
  • Add new knobs or drawer pulls

4. Save Your Money

Ever been standing in line and just had to have that new shiny something at checkout? Then a few days or weeks later, that must-have item you were so excited for goes straight in the trash,  sometimes unopened?

If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. About 84% of shoppers openly admit to making impulse purchases. Impulse spending is not just a way to derail your finances and your health goals, you’re also likely buying things you don’t really need. From candy to electronics, impulse buying is an emotional decision that leads to more waste. 

To combat this habit and save a little coinage, plan your shopping trips ahead of time. This drastically reduces your chances of buying items you don’t need. 

5. Eat Fruits and Vegetables In-Season

Produce grown out of season requires more water and energy resources to grow in unnatural conditions. Out-of-season fruit and plants also require shipping from locations all over the world to fulfill consumer demand. By eating in-season, you are more likely to eat local produce, reducing the stress on the environment. 

Seasonal produce is also more nutrient-dense because it’s allowed to ripen longer on the parent plant. You also get less time between harvest and consumption meaning the fruit loses fewer nutrients. To get a taste of in-season fare, pay a visit to your local farmers' market. Not only do you get to be healthier and save the planet, but you also support your local economy.

And we all know fresher ingredients make for more rich and flavorful meals. Give these recipes a try with in-season ingredients and taste the difference for yourself:

  • Kid-friendly sweet potato hummus
  • Pesto pasta salad with ricotta and late summer vegetables
  • Veggie soft tacos

Whether outfitting your home with energy-efficient appliances or turning the water off while you brush, your sustainability efforts count. When we all make strides to reduce our own impact on the environment, we all win.  It all starts with the eco-friendly man in the mirror. And at a2 Milk®, we’re dedicated to making that change one step at a time. Find a2 Milk® at a grocer near you. 

The a2 Milk® difference

Our a2 Milk® comes from cows that naturally produce only the natural A2 protein. a2 Milk® is 100% real milk that’s easier on digestion and may help some avoid discomfort.

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