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13623 products in our department store

Resolutions For A More Ethical New Year

Polly Polly 30 Dec 2020 Resolutions For A More Ethical New Year

New Year, new me - does this sound familiar? With new beginnings, we sense the possibility of having a fresh start, changing our habits and lives, reinventing or improving ourselves. Usually, New Year's resolutions revolve around healthy eating, getting fit, quitting unhealthy habits, saving money instead of spending it or just simply, enjoying life more. But let's make New Year's resolutions for 2021 more special this time - by incorporating a few sustainable and ethical resolutions.

If you include just a couple of sustainable resolutions, you can slowly become a more conscious and mindful consumer whose lifestyle is more environmentally-friendly. And honestly, it won't be just our planet seeing the benefits, a sustainable and more minimalist lifestyle can take some worries off your shoulders, make your life simpler and thus, happier. Are you in? Then, continue the read to find great sustainable resolution ideas worthy of your 2021 New Year's resolutions list!


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Make your New Year's resolutions realistic & specific

The key to any New Year's sustainable resolution is to set an achievable goal. So make it realistic. Probably, you won't be able to 'wear only sustainable clothes' when your wardrobe is still full of clothes you bought from fast fashion brands in the past.

And that is completely okay: simply being committed to not contributing to the fast fashion industry anymore, and only buying (or even better, swapping, renting and thrifting) ethical and sustainable clothes from now on, while still wearing and making use of clothes that are already hanged in your wardrobe is probably the most environmentally-friendly and ethical approach you can take.

Also, making your resolutions more specific and setting measurable goals will increase your chances of actually achieving them. This means that writing down 'I will eat vegan food six days a week' is more effective than 'I will eat more vegan food' and 'I will buy only 10 pieces of new clothing this year' is more effective than 'I will shop less'.

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Sustainable resolutions for your wardrobe

Changing your (fashion) shopping habits can have a great impact on our planet. Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for about 10% of all humanity's carbon emissions?1 This is more than the amount produced by all international flights and maritime shipping combined!.

So, it would be amazing to leave your support for fast fashion brands in 2020 and go for the equally stylish but sustainable and fair alternative. But - how?

You could…

  • Make yourself the promise that each time your clothes get damaged, you'll first try to repair them before throwing them away.
  • Start a capsule wardrobe - by having a small collection of clothes that you love to wear and are easily combined, the need to shop every month will disappear.
  • Try a shopping fast for a month - simply no fashion purchase for a month. Challenge accepted? It might be a bit tricky, but even more satisfying than you can imagine! Learning that a month can pass without any new purchase, realizing that you have everything you actually need (or even way more than that), finding the time to get creative with your style and pieces of clothing you already own and moving towards peace of mind without rushing into a new trend or purchase is something worth experiencing in 2021.
  • Set a limit for how many pieces of clothing you can buy each month, per half a year or even throughout the whole year. This way you will give your to-shop-list more thoughts, avoid impulsive purchases and ensure that what you are buying is what you actually need.
  • Tell yourself that before each purchase, you'll spend at least a couple of days thinking about whether this is the right and necessary purchase. Yes to being more mindful in 2021!
  • Unsubscribe from fast fashion newsletters, pushing you to spend your money on every silly trend. Not only will it help you to avoid that restless “I need to buy this” feeling but, you’ll also save some CO2 emissions and send a clear signal to the fashion industry: we are no longer falling for the fast fashion trap, we're more than ready for slow, quality and ethical fashion that treats our Mama Earth and all her inhabitants with respect.
  • Say goodbye to fast fashion and make a promise that you'll only support ethical and more sustainable brands.
  • Change your mindset and start calculating the price of an item with the cost-per-wear technique. Doing the math and experiencing how much longer you’ll wear a more expensive, but quality garment, will make saying goodbye to fast fashion way easier!
  • Shop in your own wardrobe more often - start putting more effort into styling and combining pieces you already own and discover new ways of wearing them. Dare yourself that X times per month, you'll discover at least one new outfit combination.
  • Choose to only wash your clothes when absolutely necessary - and only when your washing machine is completely full. Sometimes, simply hanging the garment on a coat hanger outside for a day, will do all the freshening up it needs. Try turning your laundry a bit colder, stay away from aggressive detergents or fabric softeners, and instead of using a dryer, let your laundry air dry.
  • Opt for pre-loved clothes when you want to buy something 'new' and experience treasure hunting in thrift stores or second-hand stores.
  • Make yourself the promise that whenever you need an outfit for a special occasion, you'll try renting the clothes instead of buying a brand new outfit that you'd wear only once.
  • Organize a clothing swap with your friends at least once in three months (or attend one organized by someone else). It’s fun, sustainable and brings you loads of new options!


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Give a plant-based diet a go in 2021

Your environmental resolutions could also focus on the food you put on your plate. Did you know that...

“A vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on our planet?"2

So, make sure that your sustainable resolutions for 2021 have the greatest impact possible!

How to ease into a plant-based diet?

  • You could incorporate more plant-based food into your diet. Start off by having only vegan breakfasts, only vegan lunches or dinners. Or vegan Mondays and Wednesday for instance - it is completely up to you.
  • If you hear yourself saying: ‘Oh, I would love to go vegan, but I so don’t want to live without - for instance - cheese’, then simply cut out all animal-based foods except for cheese for now. See how that feels, educate yourself further while you’re changing your lifestyle accordingly and eventually you’ll find a way to enjoy yummy, healthy food that is better for the planet, the animals and yourself too.
  • Make the decision to only eat vegan food at home, but not necessarily elsewhere (for instance, at restaurants and at your grandma's).
  • Or, say goodbye to all those animal products that you don't actually need and go vegan straight away! Try vegan for January with Veganuary.

In the wise words of Colleen Patrick Goudreau: “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.” Take it slowly and at your own terms, like with the example with cheese. At least do what you’re able and willing to do at this very moment. But to not do anything at all, just because you think you have to do everything, makes absolutely no sense. “It’s the ultimate example of self-sabotage.”

Why do Veganuary in 2021?

A great start to a vegan New Year is doing the Veganuary challenge. Trying a vegan diet cannot get any easier - you will get delicious recipes, easy meal plans and helpful tips for this transformation. This challenge only takes 31 days and by the end of it, you will know how to cook delicious and easy vegan meals and how to properly eat a vegan balanced diet.

Not only that, in those 31 days you’ll save around 125 litres of water, 543 kg of grain, 84 m2 of forest, 273 kg of CO2 emissions...and 30 animals!3

Tip: Try Veganuary (in English) or the Vegan Challenge (in Dutch)

Reading tips that will show you everything you need to know for your vegan journey in 2021:


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sustainable cosmetics

Sustainable resolution ideas for your lifestyle

There are quite a few more things you could add to your New Year's resolutions:

  • The golden rule: only buy what you really need (or really want, but do sleep on it for a couple of nights before getting it). Simply buying less is one of the best things you could do. It’s why we keep saying: shop compassionately, but as little as possible.
  • Swap single-use products for reusable products. For instance, you could get reusable makeup pads, reusable sanitary swab, a safety razor or a menstrual cup.
  • Give your preference to local and seasonal (food) products.
  • Try to do your groceries packaging-free and bring your own bags and jars. Or at least try to find alternative options for those heavily cardboard and plastic-wrapped goods.
  • Separate your paper, plastic and glass waste. Start composting (or find a place in your city where you could bring your compost waste).
  • Switch to cruelty-free and sustainable makeup and personal care products. Avoiding the 25 common animal ingredients in cosmetics has never been so easy!

Tip: It will be so much easier to stick to a more sustainable lifestyle once you know all your facts. You might want to watch:

  • The True Cost (a documentary that reveals the harsh truth about the fast fashion industry)
  • Cowspiracy (documentary about the environmental impact of the food we eat)
  • Carnage: Swallowing the Past (mockumentary set in 2067, when the U.K. is vegan and future generations are learning about their carnivorous past)
  • A Life On Our Planet (a documentary by David Attenborough on climate change)
  • Earthlings (documentary about the ways we exploit animals for food, clothing or entertainment)

Giving back

The year 2020 has taught us many lessons, one of which is that every individual matters and every ounce of positive change you can bring to this world matters too. In 2021, you might feel the urge to help the cause you believe in and feel so passionate about.

You can start your own project, join an existing social, environmental or animal rights organization and dedicate your time to a future from which everyone can benefit. Working with like-minded people who are driven by the same passion, knowing that together you are contributing to a better, sustainable and compassionate world is wonderful and so worth it. (Trust us, we know 😉)

Or to put it more simply - give back in 2021. Whether it is by investing your time, energy, attention or money. Anything you're happy and able to share. It will not only make a difference in your life but also in the lives of the people or animals you choose to help.

“I can’t do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.” - Jana Stanfield.

In 2021, don't underestimate the power of donating money to non-profit organizations. They say 'money can't change anything'. But giving money to people who are committed and passionate about the cause and are willing to work full-time to create a better world can. So, in 2021, you might want to choose an effective charity or organization and donate what you can.

For instance, you could:

  • Send one-time donation
  • Donate 10% of your salary each month
  • Donate X euros each month

Tip: Find out what effective animal charity you want to support by using the Animal Charity Evaluator.

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Did you end up with a list full of sustainable New Year's resolutions? If so, we are happy to see that these tips helped you and that you are ready to make the world a better place in 2021!

Happy (Ethical & Sustainable) New Year!