While it may seem like the New Year is a chance to ‘start over’ and leave all your bad habits behind, we often find ourselves dropping our resolutions by February, or worse, the first week of January. Why? The pressure of huge lifestyle changes, combined with a haziness of going back to work after a longer holiday, can make us a bit flaky. Instead of trying to make a major character adjustment, why not try for more meaningful and sustainable New Year’s resolutions. 2018 is a chance to reflect on how we act and consume. See this new year as an opportunity to make small, yet significant changes that will have a positive impact on others and the planet.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got a few ideas that will have a beneficial impact not only on your life, but also on people and communities all around the world.

Sustainable New Year's Resolutions toilet paper and undies

Let your bum make a difference in the world

The average person uses about 57 toilet paper sheets per day, and sadly, only five percent of the paper flushed down the toilet in Australia is made from recycled materials. Make switching to Who Gives A Crap one of your sustainable New Year’s resolutions. You’ll get to treat your bum while they donate 50% of their profits to help people in developing countries get brand-new toilet facilities. It’s so easy to change as they deliver you toilet rolls straight to your door.

And speaking of bums… you can never have enough underwear. Why waste time underwear shopping, when you can have high-quality jocks delivered to you? The boxers from social enterprise Buy Undies Give Undies make a difference – for every pair you buy, they donate a pair to children in need.

Sustainable New Year's Resolutions Coffee

Do good with sustainable and ethically sourced coffee

Addicted to coffee? So are we! You can order online ethical and sustainable coffee beans from Monochrome Coffee Co. or 23 Degrees Coffee Roasters – every bean helps impoverished communities in remote locations. Both of these roasters are Certified B Corps so you can be confident you’re buying ethically sourced coffee.

Out and about? Why not head into STREAT in Collingwood to pick up a bag of freshly roasted award-winning coffee. Buying their seriously fine coffee also contributes to helping disadvantaged youth.

Want to do even more good? Say no to takeaway cups; instead, purchase a reusable cup from Green Collect. Not only are you helping the environment by refusing a paper cup, you are also reducing waste, since all their items are recycled, and ready to be reused. By buying through this social enterprise you’ll also be supporting the many people they employ who are experiencing disadvantage.

Sustainable new year's resolutions organic groceries

Stock your pantry with fresh and local wholesome groceries

If eating less junk food, or cooking more rather than ordering takeaway, was one of your new year resolutions, you are not alone. Grocery shopping in a supermarket (and often without a list) can lead to some questionable choices, especially in the processed food section. Avoid this by shopping locally. Melbourne Farmers Markets is an amazing initiative that helps the community shop direct from farmers around a bunch of locations around Melbourne. At these markets you’re guaranteed the person you are buying from is a genuine farmer, grower, baker or maker.

Another way you can shop local is at The Community Grocer who also have a number of locations around Melbourne. At these not-for-profit markets you’ll find groceries significantly cheaper than the stuff you find at the supermarket. Buying your groceries here helps support the great work they do in ensuring fruit and vegetables are physically, socially and economically accessible to everyone in the community. 

No time to shop? Melbourne’s largest environmental park has their own delivery service, rightfully named CERES Fair Food, they deliver carbon neutral, organic groceries to your doorstep. CERES do loads of good too. As a social enterprise they employ those doing it tough and they also donate all their profits into environmental education programs.

Sustainable new year's resolutions Broadband and ethical homewares

Become a conscious consumer in your home

Start Broadband are an Australian-based company offering high-speed internet at a competitive price. As part of your initial contract, a share of your bills goes into providing broadband for disadvantaged families. This leads to better education and employment opportunities, and stronger community connections.

Keep your home beautiful with gorgeous ethical homewares from The People’s Fabric. All of their homewares, such as throws or cushions, are handmade by remote artisans, with half the profits going back towards building their community.

How to achieve sustainable New Year’s resolutions

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so give yourself time to adjust to new changes, and make goals attainable by proposing small resolutions. Don’t limit yourself to the start of the year – add a tiny, yet significant change to your routine every time you feel like trying something new. And if you want to find even more options, head over to our main directory, and choose your own path!

Doing good never felt so easy.

This article first appeared in our monthly newsletter The Gazette. Sign up here and never again miss your monthly dose of good stuff.