Often we make New Year’s resolutions that are all about ourselves – “I’m going to get a better job! I’m going to lose 10kg!” This year, why not make some eco-friendly resolutions that will help the environment and will actually stick?

1.  Use reef-friendly sunscreen and wear a hat, sunnies, and long sleeves

Here in Australia, we’re very aware of the importance of sun safety. But have you considered the effects of sunscreen on the environment? Some common sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone, can bleach and kill coral. And don’t forget all that plastic packaging!

Sometimes wearing sunscreen is crucial, but we should try to prioritise other sun safety methods whenever possible. For example, avoid the midday sun, stay in the shade, and cover up with a hat, sunnies, and long sleeves (e.g. cool linen shirts and rashies). Of course, it’s super important that you don’t get burnt, so when you do need to wear sunscreen, consider checking its ingredients to make sure it’s reef-friendly.  You’ll find a comprehensive list of coral friendly sunscreens here.

2. Purchase eco-friendly feminine hygiene products and toiletries

  • Menstrual cups – Did you know that the average woman uses nearly 10,000 tampons across her lifetime? Aside from the cost to the environment, this is a significant hit to the wallet! Reusable silicone menstrual cups are a much more affordable and environmentally friendly option. Here are some reasons to give the menstrual cup a go.
  • Reusable makeup removing pads – Like tampons, plenty of disposable makeup wipes end up in landfill each year. You can now buy reusable makeup removing pads – they’re easy to use, cheaper in the long run, produce less waste, and work better than their disposable counterparts.

3. Pick up rubbish when you’re out and about

We’re probably all guilty of seeing a stray ice-cream wrapper at the beach and thinking, “I didn’t litter – why should I be the one to pick it up?!” But it’s so easy to grab it and dispose of it properly, and it’s something that humans, animals, and plants all benefit from. If everyone picked up one piece of rubbish when they were out, imagine how much cleaner our environment would be! You don’t need to wait until Clean up Australia Day to make a difference – you can do it every day.

4.  Avoid single-use plastic 

How often do you think about all those straws, disposable coffee cups, and drink bottles that get thrown away each day? Single-use plastic might be convenient but these products end up as unnecessary landfill or polluting our oceans. An easy alternative is to opt for reusable products. Straw lover? Purchase a metal straw (or just stop using them!) Coffee addict? Get your hands on a keep cup that you can use time and time again. Water enthusiast? Grab a reusable water bottle. Too easy.

5.  Walk, run, cycle, or catch public transport whenever possible

It’s no secret that car pollutants can have terrible environmental effects on air, soil, and water, as well as human health. If you’re able to, consider walking, running, or cycling as alternate transport options. Not only are they better for the environment, but you’ll notice yourself getting fitter from all the incidental exercise! And when you do use the car, carpool with friends whenever possible.

6.  (Op) shop ’til you drop

Each yearthe average Australian purchases 27kg of new textiles and throws away 23kg! That is CRAZY!

So, how can we be more mindful about our clothing choices? It’s pretty simple – avoid fast fashion, repair clothing, donate unwanted clothes, and purchase items from sustainable brands and op shops. Op shopping has SO many perks – it’s fun, you’ll save money, it’s environmentally friendly, and most op shops raise money for great causes, like mental health, women’s shelters, and cancer research.

If you prefer online shopping, you can use websites like eBay and Gumtree to purchase high-quality second hand products, which reduces the amount of clothing ending up as landfill. And there’s nothing like saving a few hundred dollars on a puffer jacket for your outdoor adventures!

Happy New Year from the team at Gutsy Girls Adventure Film Tour!

Words: Amy O’Toole

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