Tips for Sustainable Living in 2024

The new year offers an opportunity to establish goals that enhance our lives and contribute to our planet’s well-being. Whether big or small, each resolution holds the potential to make a significant difference. If you are uncertain where to embark on your New Year resolutions—fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the realm of eco-friendly resolutions and make 2024 a year marked by conscious living and sustainable growth.

1. Reduce Your Food Waste

Starting the journey of sustainability can be as simple as addressing the issue of food waste. Did you know that, according to the UN Food Waste Index, the average Canadian household generates 79 kilograms of food waste annually? Collectively, Canadians contribute over 60 tonnes of food waste, equivalent to a staggering 9.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. Most of this food waste can be prevented through 3 proactive steps.

  1. Prepare your weekly meals ahead of time. Outline your weekly meals clearly to ensure nothing goes to waste, utilizing all ingredients efficiently.
  2. Learn to love leftovers. Embrace the habit of saving leftovers, ensuring every bit of food is savoured and enjoyed.
  3. Compost correctly. Take advantage of all the little food scraps and create nutritious fertilizer for your garden by simply adding your food scraps to a compost bin in your backyard. Or, if you do not have a green thumb, place your leftover food scraps into the green bin for curbside pickup. 

If you want more in-depth ways to reduce food waste, visit our blog, How to Reduce Food Waste.

Food scraps are being put into a compost bin.
Food scraps are being put into a compost bin.

2. Be Mindful of Your Energy Consumption

While adjusting your energy consumption might initially appear as a significant change in your daily routine, our expert tips and tricks make the process of reducing energy consumption easier than ever.

Although January is usually a chilly month, the first step you can take to reduce your energy consumption is to remove the impulse to turn up your thermostat, and instead, dress in layers. Wear slippers around the house to avoid walking on the cool flooring, which can lower your body temperature and create that impulse to turn up the heat. 

During the day, try taking advantage of the day’s natural lighting. Open the blinds or shades to bring in that natural light. Try making the switch to LED bulbs. And, as always, try to turn off the lights when you leave the room. These little things can make a significant impact on your energy footprint. 

Although it is a weekly, unavoidable chore, becoming smarter about how you conduct your laundry can have a significant impact on our planet. Did you know 85 to 90% of energy consumption during laundry comes from heating water? To circumvent this high consumption, opt for washing in warm or cold water, as hot water consumes more energy, sets stains, and accelerates clothing fading.

A man putting clothes into a washing machine.
A man putting clothes into a washing machine.

3. Educate Yourself on Waste Segregation

Understanding how to properly sort and dispose of your waste can significantly impact the environment. Even a small amount of leftover peanut butter in a container can contaminate other recyclables, rendering them unrecyclable and destined for landfills. Combat this by thoroughly rinsing containers before placing them in the recycling bin. This is a rising issue in Canada, with around 25% of recyclable materials placed into the recycling bin that are considered non-recyclable from contamination.

Additionally, educating yourself on the types of recycling collected in your region using the numbered system on recyclable materials helps ensure what you are placing in the bin is acceptable. If you need clarification on what this is, visit this tip sheet that outlines the meaning of each number.

Miller Waste employees sorting through recyclable materials on a belt.
Miller Waste employees sorting through recyclable materials on a belt.

At Miller Waste, we specialize in sorting your recyclable materials and can process 200,000 tonnes annually. Your help in correctly sorting your recycling can lead to less contamination and allow us to better process your materials for reuse.

4. Opt for More Zero Waste Measures

The final goal you can incorporate into your New Year’s resolutions is to shop with zero waste in mind. Shop in bulk rather than opting for individually wrapped items. Explore local zero-waste stores where you can use your containers to fill up on products. Visit thrift stores for affordable, second-hand clothing that contributes to the fight against fast fashion and its environmental impact.

Additionally, approximately 3.5 billion toothbrushes worldwide end up in landfills annually. Combat this waste by opting for sustainable alternatives like biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes.

While this list may seem overwhelming initially, incorporating a new sustainable resolution into your life each month can lead you to a green lifestyle sooner than you think.