Green New Year’s Resolutions: 31 Days of Eco-Action

Happy New Year! We’re expecting big things from 2023 after the shit-show that was 2022. Feeling hopeful and inspired, we’ve put together a list of 31 eco-actions for our Green New Year. They are not really in any particular order and some of them are so easy, you can do them from the comfort of your sofa. So please have a go at one, some or all of them!

Don’t worry if you’ve come to this list late, these eco-actions are not time specific. To steal a quote from the late tennis player Arthur Ashe “Start where you are, use what you have, do you what you can”.

1. Spend Time in Nature

A nice easy one to begin with! Take some time out today to get outside, slow down, and take stock of the nature and wildlife around you. Spending time in the great outdoors is so good for your mental health and coping with eco-anxiety.

2. Have a Meat Free Day

Reducing your meat and dairy consumption is one of the most impactful things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. You don’t have to go full-on vegan overnight, why not start with one meat-free day each week? Check out our vegan sausage review and plant-based eating top tips for inspiration!

3. Ditch Google and Plant Trees

Did you know a single Google search could generate up to 4.5g of CO2? (According to the book How Bad are Bananas? by Mike Berners-Lee). So why not switch to a search engine such as Ecosia that uses its profits to plant trees and runs its servers on 100% renewable energy? I’ve installed Ecosia and made it my default browser and use it all the time (a quick tip if you really want to see Google’s search results is to type #g before your search term in Ecosia). Apparently every Ecosia search removes 1kg of CO2 from the atmosphere! And there’s the feel-good factor that every time you do a search there’s a counter showing how many trees you’ve planted. I installed it as a Chrome extension, which was really easy to do. You can find instructions here.

4. Think Before You Buy

It’s easy to get swept up in the January sales and succumb to all the marketing emails and big red signs in shops convincing you that you’re getting a bargain. But there is already so much stuff in the world that we should all be trying to use things that already exist rather than depleting more of the planet’s resources. So before you splash out, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Am I happy with how it was made? Will it last? Could I borrow it instead (this works well with things you don’t use often such as DIY tools)? Could I get it second hand or repurpose something I already own? Thinking before you buy is one of the most important things you can do if you’re trying to develop a more eco-friendly mindset.

5. Unsubscribe

As well as reducing your digital carbon footprint, unsubscribing from any marketing emails that don’t interest you can save you money as you won’t be tempted to buy more stuff on a whim.

6. Feed the Birds

This could be as simple as getting some birdseed and a feeder. Hang it where you can see it from your house, but out of reach of cats, and wait. If you feed them, they will come! You could take it a step further and make your own feeders. Here is a great activity from the RSPB to make bird feeders out of loo rolls. If you’re looking for eco-friendly birdseed, we recommend Vine House Farm, a conservation award-winning farm which donates to The Wildlife Trusts with every sale. January is also the month when the RSPB runs the Big Garden Birdwatch, the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. To take part you need to count and record the birds you see in your garden for an hour on the weekend of 27-29 January.

7. Plant a Tree

January and February is the perfect time to plant trees. The Woodland Trust website is a great place to find out what, how and where to plant. If you don’t have a garden or green space, there are organisations like the National Trust which will plant trees on your behalf for a small donation.

Alternatively, you could be a guerrilla gardener and secretly plant a tree on someone else’s land, like the Phantom Planter!

8. Go Litter Picking

I regularly use litter picking as an excuse to get my kids out for a walk, without them realising we’re having a walk! You can litter pick with just a glove (I recommend waterproof gardening gloves or rubber gloves) and a bin bag, although the kids seem to prefer a litter picker. We’ve got one from Waterhaul, which is made from recycled ocean plastic. You can also buy litter pickers from 2 Minute Beach Clean.

9. Take a Shower Instead of a Bath

The average mixer or electric shower can use 10 litres of water per minute while a typical bath holds 80 litres, so if you’re showering for less than eight minutes, you’re saving water and energy (and money if you’re on a water meter). For those of you who do enjoy a bath from time to time, try to make the most of the water. We sometimes use the bathwater for multiple family members (like a Victorian family!), or in the summer, use the cold bath water to water plants.

10. Move Your Money

Check out our post on banks that are financing climate change and if your bank is on the list, move your cash to a greener provider and let your old bank know why you’ve left.

11. Delete Emails

The energy used to send and store a single email may not be huge, but when you think about all those old emails in your inbox, and everyone else’s inboxes, the digital footprint is very significant. Do your bit to reduce your digital footprint by deleting old emails that you no longer need.

12. Listen to a Podcast

Spend some time learning about eco issues and what you can do about them.

There are some great podcasts you can listen to if you want pick up some handy tips on living a more sustainable lifestyle. A couple we recommend are The Sustainable(ish) Podcast  and Outrage + Optimism.

13. Only Boil What You Need

Only boiling the water you need in your kettle can save around £6 a year. Try filling your kettle from your mug; you’ll be surprised how little water you need for a cuppa. It also boils more quickly, saving you precious time!

14. Visit Your Local Refill Shop

Refilling your own containers when shopping for dried goods, cleaning products, toiletries and more can massively reduce the amount of single-use plastic you bring into your home. For more info see our post A Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste Shops.

15. Batch Cook and Meal Plan

By planning your meals and batch cooking, you can make more efficient use of your oven by filling it and cooking several things at the same time. Making a meal plan and shopping according to it should reduce food waste and save you money. As edible food waste from UK homes is responsible for 14 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, simply sticking to a shopping list could reduce emissions and spare your hard-earned cash. See our posts Eat It, Don’t Bin It and Your Freezer is Your Friend for more tips on reducing food waste and saving money.

16. Write to or Tweet Your MP and Local Councillor

Our MPs and councillors are elected representatives who work for us, the people. They need to know what matters most to us. So now is the time to let them know that this is an emergency and there is no time to lose in acting to avert the worst-case scenarios of climate breakdown. Find their contact details at and

You don’t have to write an essay. Simply say how you feel (ie. scared, terrified etc) about the climate crisis and ask them to commit to pushing for solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If there is a relevant local issue, mention your views on it to your local councillor. For example, there are plans for solar farms in Wiltshire (good), but also plans to build an incinerator (bad). Mention national or global issues to your MP, such as the government’s ludicrous decision to allow the UK’s first new coalmine for 30 years.

17. Do Nothing in the Garden

This one’s an easy one! Generally, the less we do to keep our gardens tidy, the better it is for wildlife. Don’t worry about having an immaculate lawn or weed free borders. If you have space, have wild patches of long grass or nettles. Wait to cut back flowers and shrubs until after the winter, to let birds feed on seeds and berries, and provide habitat for hibernating creatures. Leave piles of leaves, prunings, logs, rocks or whatever you have, to provide shelter.

18. Take the Bus

We all know that driving is a major contributor to climate change and air pollution, yet we are so used to jumping in our cars to nip to the shop, it is easy to forget the harm our journey is causing. Make a conscious effort to leave your car behind today and use public transport. Now is the perfect time to take the bus as from 1 January 2023 to 31 March 2023 the government is subsidising most single bus fares to just £2!

19. Ditch the Disposables

Reusable versions of single-use disposable items like shopping bags, period products, wet wipes, coffee cups and water bottles are all readily available, so try to make it a habit to carry your reusables with you when you go out and about! For more info see our posts Reusable Period Products and Reducing Waste Part 1.

20. Choose Second Hand

According to the UN, the fashion industry is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions, with textile production contributing more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. So, by shopping second hand and not supporting fast-fashion, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your clothing. So visit your local charity shops (thrift stores or op shops to our international readers), vintage store, car boot sale or jumble sale. Or head online to online preloved websites such as eBay, Vinted (our personal favourite), DePop, or Re Fashion. See our post Successful Second Hand Shopping for more tips.

21. Grow Your Own

Surprisingly, you can start to sow some seeds, both vegetables and flowers, in January. Chillies, tomatoes and aubergines are great to start with as they are easy to germinate. They do need a bit of heat to get going, so start them off in an airing cupboard or near a radiator. You will need to keep them indoors until late spring and the chance of frost has passed. Basil can also be sown now indoors. Sweet peas are easy flowers to grow and can be sewn in pots or loo rolls in a sheltered spot outside. For flowers or vegetables, it’s best to use new peat-free compost, but if you can’t get hold of any, you may still succeed using garden soil. If you don’t have any pots or seed trays, raid the recycling bin! Empty yoghurt pots, plastic trays, even loo rolls can all be used for planting. Just remember to punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage.

22. Repair Something

Keep things out of landfill for longer by fixing them when they break.

When it comes to mending clothes, the website Repair What You Wear is a great resource offering free video tutorials. Starting with how to thread a needle and sewing on a button (without the need to use a sewing machine), the tutorials cover repairs to all sorts of clothing including sportswear and shoes. Visible mending has become an Instagram trend, so you can feel proud of your knee patch or darned jumper! There are some things that you won’t be able to fix yourself, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed. For example, getting your shoes reheeled is very easy and relatively cheap; I recently had a favourite pair of boots resoled for about £20, much less than it would have cost me to replace them.

23. Sign a Petition

Did you know that if a petition created on the UK Government and Parliament website receives 10,000 signatures, the UK government will respond to it? If a petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in parliament. In this digital age, 100,000 signatures doesn’t seem that much anymore! This shows the potential impact which a petition could have. For me, signing online petitions is a small way of showing my dissent and pooling my voice with those of likeminded people. It is something we can all do from the comfort and safety of our homes and all it takes is a few minutes of your time. Here are some current petitions to sign.

You might, just might, be making a difference. What do you have to lose?

24. Recycle Something New

As Denis the Dustcart says, recycling is literally the least we can each do. Did you know you can often recycle things like contact lenses, medicine blister packets, and pens at local high street stores? Check out I Didn’t Know You Could Recycle That for ideas on where to recycle stuff that isn’t collected at the kerbside.

25. Save Something from Landfill

Before taking your unwanted items to the tip, why not try giving them away first? After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Websites such as Freecycle and Freegle and apps like Olio, as well as local Facebook groups and Marketplace, are a great way to give away stuff for free. You’d be amazed at what we’ve been able to rehome over the years: building rubble, a broken lawnmower, old windows with rotten frames, to name a few! Bubble wrap, padded envelopes and cardboard boxes are always popular and you can easily gift clothes, toys, books, furniture etc.

26. Compost Your Food Waste

Save money by making your own compost for free and eliminating the need for bin bags. See our post on Eco-Friendly Gardening Tips for reasons to make your own compost and avoid buying peat-based compost. If you have neither the space nor inclination to make your own compost, you can still recycle your food waste and other organic material via the website Share Waste which matches people with food waste with local people who are already composting.

27. Use Your Supermarket’s Plastic Recycling Bin

More and more of flexible plastic packaging (think bread bags, crisps packets, plastic envelopes) is now displaying the words Recycle with Carrier Bags at Larger Stores. So check if your packaging is recyclable and if so, make use of the supermarket’s recycling facility. This does come with a caveat though; doubt has been cast on what actually happens to the flexible plastic collected by supermarkets . So use this recycling scheme only as a last resort after attempting to refuse, reduce and reuse plastic packaging.

28. Visit Your Local Library

Libraries are such a great symbol of sustainability and anti-consumerism. You don’t have to pay anything, you don’t have to buy anything. Books are borrowed and returned and reused time and again. Make the most of this amazing free service to swot up on environmental matters, indulge in some climate fiction, or simply prepare yourself for the apocalypse. See our posts Climate Fiction: Must-Reads for Fiction Fans and 5 Must-Read Books for the Eco-Curious for some recommendations!

29. Watch a Film

Not just any film, an environmental-themed one!

iPlayer has some interesting documentaries such as Climate Change the Facts (with David Attenborough), The People vs Climate Change, Our Changing Planet, and Big Oil vs the World. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth watching Don’t Look Up on Netflix. There are also some good Netflix documentaries, such as David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet; Kiss The Ground; Seaspiracy, and some of the Dirty Money episodes (Point Comfort and Dirty Gold). For a more uplifting watch, 2040 is a very hopeful film exploring technologies that exist today which could be used to tackle climate change.

30. Sign Up to Waste Free February

Waste Free February is an annual campaign run by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to encourage people to reduce their waste going to landfill. When you sign up, you commit to trying to minimise your waste for a period of time (it doesn’t have to be a whole month) and set yourself a goal – it could be to limit your household waste to a 50 litre bin bag for the month. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can challenge yourself to fill only a carrier bag or even a jam jar! For more info and to sign up click here.

31. Use Your Voice!

If you’ve got this far and at least tried some of these eco-actions then congratulate yourself. But don’t keep quiet about it. Shout about your achievements on social media, talk to friends and family about the changes you’re making and why. Use your voice and spread the message that we can all do something to help our planet.

One Response

  1. Hi ladies looking forward to sharing all your eco actions as the year progresses- the planet needs all the help it can get.
    Active mainly on Twitter @sustainableity @ecohipli @comhunicate.. and a few others! I am helping the worldsavers by rotary project where we publish weekly eco actions but as far as I’m concerned the more the merrier

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