My Sustainability Goals For 2021

2020 has felt like a neverending roller coaster that everybody is dying to get off of. I’ve never liked roller coasters and because of this, I’ve been trying to focus more on the future. The hope of 2021 being a better year is what is getting me and many other people through these fall months. Though New Year’s isn’t for another couple of months, I’ve already been thinking of my 2021 resolutions. So far I’ve come up with five goals related to sustainability that I hope to achieve in 2021, if not in the next couple of months. As I’ve gotten older, I have developed a higher level of awareness regarding my ecological footprint and consumer habits. And while awareness is a good first step, I want to actively change the way I am as a consumer. So I made the ultimate decision to work towards making my habits more sustainable in 2021; here are my five goals. 

  1. Use a menstrual cup. If you don’t already know, menstrual cups can be used as an alternative to tampons for people who menstruate. I have friends who swear by menstrual cups and have no plan to return to tampons and if they can do it then so can I! I know that this will be a gradual change that will require a lot of patience and trial-and-error but I think that the payoff will be worth it. 

  2. Invest in reusable keurig pods. I’m spoiled by the fact that my roommate has a Keurig and because of it, I’ve become an avid coffee drinker. But I can’t help but feel guilty every time I use the coffee-filled plastic pods and discard them, especially due to the total amount I use each week. I recently learned about a reusable keurig pod that you fill with coffee grounds yourself and then wash out when you’re done with it, which I think is a great way to prevent the wastefulness of the single-use pods.

  3. Switch to 1 month contact lenses and recycle my used ones. I’ve had terrible eyesight for my whole life and only just started using contacts in high school. The first three years of wearing contacts, I used the 1-day ones, or dailies, that came in those little plastic containers. Similar to the keurig pod dilemma, this seemed like a lot of plastic to me and I felt bad that I was continually throwing away two plastic containers every day. I switched to two-week contacts because of this, but I want to go even further. Bausch & Lomb partnered with TerraCycle to create a contact recycling program where people can recycle their contact packaging AND the contact lenses themselves. To find out more about this program, follow this link: https://www.biotrueonedaylenses.com/one-by-one-recycling  Persona holding Photo by Markus Spiske from Unsplash

  4. Buy less hair and body products. I love trying new shampoos, shower gels, and body lotions, as my parents can attest to. Our shower caddy at home is ladened with a wide array of bottles, much to their annoyance. And while I love trying these new products, I know that it’s wasteful. Whenever I buy a new bottle, the old ones go unused and often get thrown out a year later with product still in them. In 2021 I’m going to make it my goal to buy hair products and lotions ONLY when I run out of them. I’m going to use what I have until it's gone.

Buy secondhand or sustainably-made clothes. Many large clothing companies use the business model of fast fashion that produces clothing in an unethical, unsustainable way (for more information about fast fashion, read this article: https://www.hercampus.com/school/coastal-carolina/what-know-about-fast-fashion). There are better, more sustainable ways to buy clothing, such as supporting the brands that sustainably make clothing and outwardly support their laborers. Another option is to buy clothes secondhand, whether that is by going to a thrift store or using an online alternative, such as Depop or Poshmark. When you buy clothes secondhand, you are putting use into an item that another person doesn’t want instead of letting it get thrown away. And just like with body products, I’m going to limit my shopping habits in 2021 and buy less clothes that I don’t really need.