10 sustainable ways to kick-start your new year

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It's that time of year again, when we all start to look forward and think about what the upcoming year may bring and any New Year’s resolutions we may make for 2021.

Our new research1 has revealed that one in ten of us say sustainability is on our list of priorities for 2021, with recycling more household waste, saving energy at home and opting for products with less plastic packaging top on the list of ways we plan to be more sustainable next year.

And it seems that the pandemic has impacted our sustainability goals, with 62% of us saying that spending more time outdoors during lockdown and enjoying nature has made us want to look after the planet and become more environmentally friendly in 2021.

But with so many different ways to be sustainable, how do you achieve your goals?

Here we share our ten top tips on how you can have a more sustainable lifestyle in 2021.

1. Cut down on plastic packaging and opt for re-fillable tubs

More than half (53%) of people questioned in our research plan on buying products with less packaging in 2021 and with the growing number of food refill shops across the UK, it’s easier than you may think to do so. Simply take your own reusable containers to a refill shop and fill them with staples such as rice and pasta, or fruit and veg. Some supermarkets are also trialling refill schemes too.

2. Try walking or cycling instead of jumping in your car

With more of us spending time outdoors enjoying nature during lockdown, many of us have been encouraged to look after the planet more for our future generations. Avoid jumping in your car for shorter journeys and try walking or cycling to your destination instead. The short walk will not only boost your fitness, it’ll reduce your carbon footprint too.

3. Think about cleaner sources of energy

Make sure you know where the energy you use at home comes from. Some energy suppliers, like us, now offer cleaner energy supply options. All our customers’ homes are now supplied with 100% renewable electricity as standard2 and at no extra cost. We also offer a range of sustainable solutions for your home, such as energy efficient boilers, air source heat pumps or solar panels, to ensure you’re heating your home in the most sustainable way possible.

4. Cut down your meat intake

Vegans and vegetarians have a lower carbon footprint than anyone else3. But you don’t have to cut out meat, fish and dairy altogether to make a difference. For example, you could just reduce your meat and fish consumption from three to four times a week to once or twice and aim to have one or two dairy-free days too.

5. Join the slow fashion revolution

Change your fashion buying habits and move away from throwaway fashion. Instead of buying dozens of cheap outfits that you only wear a handful of times, invest a little more in fewer, higher quality items that are designed to last. Or how about shopping at charity shops instead of always buying new.

5. Take bars, not bottles, into the shower

A bar of soap cleans just as well as a bottle of shower gel and usually has little or no packaging. You can get shampoo and conditioner in soap-bar format too. Switch your soap dispensers to bars and you’ll reduce your plastic waste even further.

6. Abandon single-use food wrap

Cling film and foil are handy for wrapping sandwiches and covering leftover food, but they’re off to landfill after one use. Opt instead for reusable beeswax wraps and pop sandwiches into reusable containers made from bamboo or other eco-plastic alternatives.

7. Switch to a smart meter

smart meter tracks your energy usage and automatically submits your meter readings to your energy supplier for you. Smart meters come with an in-home display which tells you how much energy you’re using at any one time and how much it costs. You can use this data to help you to understand how you use your energy around the home, which in turn will help you to save energy around your home.

9. Recycle more household waste

Make sure you know what can and can’t be recycled in your household bin and look at other ways you can recycle your household waste, for example look at whether you can reuse the items in a different way around your home.

Also, don’t forget to recycle your food waste by putting it in a compost bin, your garden will need the compost when it comes to spring planting time.  

10. Stop leaving devices on standby

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that UK homes could save around £30 a year on electricity by stopping leaving appliances in standby mode4. By switching devices such as computers, ovens and TVs off at the mains, you could save money and lower your energy use.


By starting the new year with our sustainable tips, hopefully 2021 can be the year where we all become more sustainable in our everyday lives.

1. The research was conducted on behalf of E.ON by OnePoll on 2,000 British adults between the 9th and 11th December 2020

2. Electricity backed by 100% renewable sources. E.ON's renewable generation assets, agreements with UK wind generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to your home comes from the National Grid and DNOs. eonenergy.com/renewable

3. The Guardian:  Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth

4. Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy