The new year is finally here and with it brings reflection of what we can do to better our communities for ourselves and future generations. This occasion always inspires a feeling of hope and promise as we jumpstart any resolutions we've been putting off.
Along with some typical resolutions to eat healthier, exercise, and give back to the community more, we think committing to living a greener life is also a positive resolution, not to mention a recurring favorite here at Sun Valley Solar.
To kickstart your brainstorming, we've put together a few easy resolutions that will help you live greener in 2020. Our hope is that after a few easy successes, you'll be inspired to find new ways to expand these habits or maybe even invent some of your own.
1. Reduce single-use plastics
With plastic's ubiquitousness, it's all too easy to take the fast route and grab a plastic water bottle instead of taking a few extra seconds to fill up a reusable one. I think a lot of us are guilty of actions like this, but taking those few extra seconds can significantly reduce landfill waste. It can be as easy as buying a designated water bottle and ceramic coffee mug for work and using those instead of the paper or plastic options. See what parts of your lunch you can pack in Tupperware instead of plastic bags. Bring a metal fork and spoon from home to use during work lunches instead of plastic options. You can even invest in metal straws for as little as $8 that can replace plastic ones when eating out. If you have to use single-use, disposable containers and utensils, at least take a minute and seek out a biodegradable option.
2. Shop local
Shopping local has both positive environmental and local economical benefits. When you shop local, you not only keep dollars in your local community, but you also help reduce the energy used to ship products in from out of state (or even out of country). Food travels an estimated 1,500-2,000 on average from farm to consumer, producing emissions that can be easily eliminated by shopping local. Small businesses usually cannot afford to sell the low-quality items found in larger stores, so the products you buy will typically be higher quality and stand the test of time. The Valley host nearly 20 different farmers markets. Find one near you. They're fun, and often you get to meet the people who actually grow the food you buy. Try that at your local grocer.
3. Buy sustainable clothing
Just being a little bit more conscientious of what materials our clothing is made of can go a long way towards living a greener life. Some fabrics, like polyester and nylon, can take anywhere between 40 to 200 years to decompose. These synthetic fabrics also require harsh chemicals to produce and actually end up polluting water supplies in some countries. Prioritizing more natural fibers, like wool and silk, is an easy way to start creating a more sustainable closet.
4. Go solar
This is the perfect way to positively impact the environment while putting money back in you pocket every month. There are currently some very lucrative federal and local tax incentives in place that can dramatically reduce the cost of going solar, with the 26% federal solar tax credit decreasing again at the end of 2020. With leaner schedules in the cooler months, solar installation times are much shorter in fall and winter, making this time of year one of the best times to go solar. So, if you start your solar journey now, you'll be reaping the positive financial and environmental benefits long before you start thinking about your summer AC bill, helping you be green and save green!
If you’re looking for more ways to make your life more sustainable, we invite you to download our complimentary whitepaper: Is Solar Right for You? to explore if solar is the right choice for you and your home.
*This blog has been updated since it's original publication of 1/4/2019 to reflect 2020 resolutions.