Many people are breathing a sigh of relief that the tumultuous 2020 has finally come to a close. It was a challenging for all of us in different ways, and many of us have our sights set on 2021 to bring a fresh start and positive change to our world. This occasion always inspires a feeling of hope and promise, especially after this year, as we jumpstart any resolutions we've been putting off.
The new year is here and with it brings reflection of what we can do to better our communities for ourselves and future generations. Going solar should be at the top of your list since it has both economical and environmental benefits, but we've tried to think a little bigger for our first blog of the year. 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 this new year. 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 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 hosts nearly a number of different markets, from Gilbert to Peoria, you can find one close to you. They're fun and you often 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. Another easy way to make your closet more sustainable is by thrifting. Not only can you save money by buying secondhand, but you can also find unique items that will set you apart from the crowd.
4. Take a job in solar
Americans spend between 40-50 hours a week (and even sometimes more) at work. Imagine if all that time was invested into making a positive difference in the world! We know firsthand how rewarding it is to work for a company that is passionate about clean energy and creating a renewable future for generations to come. If you want to join our mission and green up your 2021 with a renewable energy job, take a look at our open positions. From Events Specialist and Service Coordinator to Foreman and Corporate Buyer, our company is growing in many directions that you might be a good fit for.
5. Go solar and claim tax credits before they're gone
This is the perfect way to positively impact the environment while putting money back in you pocket every month. Lucrative federal and local tax incentives, like the 26% solar tax credit, can dramatically reduce the cost of going solar. 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've been on the fence about going solar, you can lock-in your solar incentives while reaping the positive financial and environmental benefits long before your AC bill gets scary.
If you’re looking for more ways to make your life more sustainable, we invite you to download our complimentary guide: Is Solar Right for You? to explore if solar is the right choice for you and your home.
*This blog has been updated since its original publication of 1/4/2019 to reflect 2021 resolutions.