17 Eco-Friendly Resolutions for a Sustainable 2017

                                                           Sustainability Corner: 17 Eco-Friendly Resolutions for a Sustainable 2017

                                                                       Contributors: Taylor Lambie, Sooyeon Lee, Nikhil Toleti

New Year, New You! We are sure you have heard this line countless times before. Every year, we all make numerous resolutions, be it to exercise more, to eat healthier or to spend less. However, this New Year, we at the Sustainability Office, encourage you to be more sustainable! Being sustainable is not hard at all, and in fact, it can benefit you in many ways, such as by saving you money. Check out our 17 eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions for 2017!

1. Write on both sides of the paper when taking notes

Even better would be to write your notes electronically, but if you are a paper and pen person, writing on both sides of the paper will reduce the amount of paper you use, thus saving you money.

2. Print multiple slides on a page when you print your notes and readings

Again, it would be better to have your notes and readings electronically, but if you prefer a hard copy, printing multiple slides on a page double sided will reduce the paper you use and the cost of printing. Remember to recycle your paper when you are done with it!

3. Bring a reusable mug to get your beverage at your coffee shop

Reduce paper cup waste by bringing your own unique travel mug. Plus, some coffee shops offer discounts for bringing your own mug like the Lug-a-Mug program at UTSC.  So you will eventually be able to retrieve your money spent on the mug, by getting discounts.

4. Bring reusable bags when grocery shopping

Did you know that most grocery stores charge for plastic bags? By reusing plastic bags and using reusable bags you will save yourself money and also, you will reduce your waste, by reusing what you already have.

5. Bike or walk to nearby places

When you are travelling short distances, try to walk or bike to your destination – this can benefit your health as well as save money on transit, not having to register for a gym pass you don’t use as often as you should, and also enjoy your surroundings!

6. Carpooling

Carpooling with people going to the same destination or somewhere near by can save you money (especially if you split the cost of gas). This can also make your journey less lonely and boring!   

7. Take shorter showers

Taking shorter showers saves a lot of water! Doing so will not only save you money on your water bills, but it will also save you some of your valuable time as well. You can also be water wise by shutting the tap off when brushing your teeth.

8. Use homemade cleaners

Did you know, the all-purpose cleaners you get from the stores contain many toxic ingredients? You can easily make your own non-toxic all-purpose cleaner, that gives you the same results, with ingredients you can find in your kitchen!

Add a ½ cup vinegar & 2 tablespoons of baking soda to a spray bottle. Fill it up with water, give it a good shake, and there you have it, your very own homemade all purpose cleaner. You can add lemon or essential oils for a scent.

9. Use cold water for laundry

Nowadays, most laundry detergents are designed to work in cold water. Washing your clothes in cold water also saves your clothes from de-colouring and maintain its original shape.

10. Use a drying rack instead of a dryer

Using drying rack takes away your worries about your clothes shrinking and adding cost to your electricity bills. Plus, you don’t have to deal the not-so-pleasant lint and the constant buying of dryer sheets.

11. Use a rag when cleaning instead of paper towel

Cleaning can be a mess, when you have to use a lot of paper towel – it also means more garbage and more money spent on buying paper towels. Rags are also more durable when you are tackling a tough mess.

12. Reducing meat consumption

Producing one kilogram of beef uses an estimated 15,000 liters of water compared to 290 liters of water used to produce one kilogram of potatoes.1 By consuming less meat, you can save water, your finances and your health. You can start off by having Meatless Mondays!

13. Eat less processed food

In need of a quick and easy meal during your busy days? While reaching for an easy processed meal, such as take out or frozen food may be easiest, it is not good for your health and tends to come in an unnecessary amount of wrapping. An alternative is to make extra food when you cook and freeze the leftovers for an easy meal in the future.

14. Unplug chargers when you are done with it

Overcharging your electronic devices damages the battery and shortens its life. Unplug chargers to avoid overcharging and also save electricity (eliminate vampire power).

15. Turn off the lights when you leave the room

This is as simple as one click to save electricity – it will save your money on electricity bills and by buying light bulbs less often.

16. Practice better waste management

Start composting and recycling, and know where everything goes. If you don't know, ask the Waste Wizard on the City of Toronto website!

17. Minimize food waste

Know how much you will realistically eat when going grocery shopping and only buy that much – not only will you save money, but you will reduce your food waste


These New Year's resolutions cover everything from at school, to home to when you are out and about. We challenge you to consider picking at least one of these, as your New Year's resolution this year. We wish you a Very Happy and Sustainable New Year!

Also check out the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals to help transform our world!


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/28/eating-less-meat-save-planet-dietary-guidelines