5 green habits to implement in 2023

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5 eco-friendly habits to implement in 2023

Looking to go a little greener this year? Here are 5 things you can incorporate in your routine to have a more positive impact on our beautiful planet! 

How to adopt new green habits

Make one change at a time

In my opinion, one of the keys to changing certain habits or behaviours, or simply taking new actions on a daily basis, is to implement one at a time. 

According to James Clear, author of the famous book Atomic Habits, it takes an average of 66 days before a habit is well integrated.

I recommend you choose between 3 and 5 habits from the list below and implement one every 2 to 3 months or so, to maximize your chances of success!

5 eco-friendly habits to implement in 2023

Clearly define the desired change

It has been proven that staying abstract or vague greatly reduces your chances of success when trying to achieve a goal. For example, instead of saying “I’m going to stretch more this year”, it would be more effective to say, “after I put the kids to bed, I’m going to stretch every night for 6 minutes before I go to bed”. Targeting a specific moment to incorporate the action in your day, and clearly defining it will greatly increase your chances of accomplishing it.

Have a plan B

To avoid giving up as soon as you miss a day or forget something that will allow you to carry out your plan, it may be wise to have a plan B. Let’s take my previous example: my plan B could be to stretch when I wake up, after having finished my coffee, because I know that in the evening, I won’t be back until late and will probably be too tired to stretch.

Surround yourself strategically

Whenever possible, try to get someone else on board with your new routine! To incorporate stretching into my evening routine, I asked my husband to do it with me because I knew I would be much more likely to do it if he did it with me. I figured if he went straight to bed, I would probably want to join him and be tempted to skip stretching. The only “issue” with this is that you’ll have to be able to motivate yourself even when your “habit buddy” isn’t there, but it’s totally doable! To stay motivated even when one of us is out of town, Thomas and I will send each other a text message to tell each other that we’ve done our stretching, which pushes each of us to do it to fulfill our side of the commitment (we are a little competitive, had you guessed?). The other advantage of integrating new habits with a partner is that it can make it more fun, and fun definitely helps to keep the new habits going!

5 eco-friendly habits to implement in 2023

Eco-Friendly Habit #1: Plan and cook meals from scratch

Since we’ve come back to Canada, my kitchen habits have shifted to prioritize simplicity and life balance. I had too much on my plate between the kids’ adaptation, the back-to-school period (and the new viruses that come with it!), the move to our new house and—of course, work. After 3 months in Montreal, I’m finally feeling settled in and I can’t wait to get back to my old habits, like planning meals more efficiently, doing batch cooking and prepping food as much as possible from scratch.

Why is it eco-friendly?

Planning your meals, cooking in batch and doing everything yourself allows you to reduce your ecological footprint, because you waste less food. It’s also a way to reduce the amount of packaging you throw away, since fresh foods are generally much less packaged than those that have already been prepared for your convenience. As an added bonus: this habit is also better for your health!

How do I get started

The key is to set aside a day to do meal planning and make a shopping list. For most people, it’s easier to do this on the weekend. Here’s how this could unfold

  • Saturday afternoon: browse recipe books with your family or make a meal plan for the week considering what everyone wants to eat.
  • Sunday morning: go shopping
  • Sunday afternoon: wash, prep and cook everything that can be done beforehand, such as side dishes, then keep only the proteins to cook before the meal. This will also help make your routine less stressful during the week!
5 eco-friendly habits to implement in 2023

Eco-Friendly Habit #2: Drink from a reusable water bottle

It’s been several years since I’ve adopted this habit and I don’t regret it. Having a water bottle with me at all times makes it easier for me to remember to drink water (I’m not very good at staying hydrated… Naturally, I would only drink coffee!). 

Why is it eco-friendly?

Carrying a water bottle with you means you don’t have to buy a drink packaged in single-use plastic when you’re thirsty (especially in the summer).

How do I get started

For me, the key was to get an insulated bottle (that keeps the water cold, because I like to drink very cold water, especially in the summer) that I like (yes, aesthetics can have an impact) and to carry it with me everywhere (in my backpack, in the car, in my gym bag and even, in the house when I change rooms) To maximize your chances of not leaving it behind, you could institute a small “penalty” every time you forget it somewhere without thinking about it, like doing 10 push-ups. If you’re forgetful, at least you’ll have nicely toned arms!

5 eco-friendly habits to implement in 2023

Eco-Friendly Habit #3: Opt for cloth alternatives

Replacing paper tissues, disposable napkins and paper towels (even if not 100% of the time) with washable alternatives will have a huge impact on the amount of waste you generate.

Why is it eco-friendly?

Using reusable handkerchiefs, cloth napkins and washable paper towels reduces the amount of waste you generate on a daily basis, since you wash the products instead of throwing them away after using them.

How do I get started

It’s entirely possible to start using reusable alternatives little by little, without completely eliminating disposable products. For example, some people don’t want to use cloth hankies when they are sick because they don’t find them hygienic. Others prefer to use disposable napkins when they have company. And others will prefer to pick up cat vomit with disposable scott towels. That’s fine! 

Otherwise, on a day-to-day basis, many people (especially those with allergies or those who get a runny nose from being outside) will appreciate the softness of cotton handkerchiefs and will enjoy creating less waste. Others will love the feeling of wiping their mouth on a cloth napkin. And others will love wiping down their kitchen counter with an incredibly soft and absorbent washable towel.

Start by identifying products and times when you could make the switch to a greener alternative!

5 eco-friendly habits to implement in 2023

Eco-Friendly Habit #4: Walk more

Since we came back to Montreal, I’ve rediscovered the pleasure of walking more on a daily basis. Although I know it’s not an option for everyone, there are always ways to incorporate a little more walking into your daily routine. If you live in the city, you can plan to walk for short trips instead of taking your car. Cycling or public transit can also be great options. And if you live in the outskirts, you could, for example, park in the heart of the village when you go shopping, and walk from there, rather than hopping back in your car to go from one shop to another.

Why is it eco-friendly?

Walking instead of driving can significantly reduce your ecological footprint—even if it’s only part of the time. Every trip, every action counts! Plus, it’ll be good for your wallet 🙂

How do I get started

Start by identifying all the trips you make in a week and point out those that could be replaced by walking, biking or public transit. 

Then, plan to adjust your schedule to accommodate the ones you want to replace! To stay motivated, you could even write down the green trips you’ve made in your calendar and do a little check-in at the end of the week to congratulate yourself, trying to beat your score from the previous week, every week.

5 eco-friendly habits to implement in 2023

Eco-Friendly Habit #5: Choose nontoxic, refillable cleaning products

This is another habit that I plan to reintegrate into my routine now that we are well established in our Montreal life. Not only is it better for the planet, it’s also better for your health and that of your loved ones.

Why is it eco-friendly?

Using refillable products reduces the number of single-use bottles we use, since once our products are finished, we can take them back and refill them with the same products available in bulk. Bulk products are also generally made of non-toxic ingredients and are biodegradable.

How do I get started

Try different brands of biodegradable products offered in bulk, such as Produits Lemieux, The Unscented Company, Oneka, Armony, la Marque en Moins and many others. Are you in love with a brand that isn’t featured here? Don’t hesitate to share it with me!

To avoid buying toxic single-use products, you might want to put a reminder in your calendar to take inventory of your household products once a month—and plan a monthly trip to the bulk store to refill what needs to be replenished.

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In my house, habits 2, 3, and 4 are well integrated in our daily routine, but I plan to reinstate 1 and 5 into my life this year! What eco-friendly habits do you plan to implement this year? Do you have any other ideas? Share your plans with me by commenting on this post!

Marion Poirier
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