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Sus­tainab­le Tips for the New Year

As the new year, (re: deca­de?!) pro­gres­ses, it is a good time for us to take a step back from our ever­y­day lives and take a second to reflect; pon­der our choices, decisi­ons and perhaps the chan­ges we would like to make as we enter the next era. Alt­hough it is not uncom­mon for reso­lu­ti­ons to be made (and bro­ken), this year we want to encou­ra­ge you to join us in making a pledge- a pledge to com­mit yourself to sus­tainab­le prac­ti­ces in wha­te­ver way you can. Most of us live very busy lives and com­mit­ting yourself to envi­ron­ment­al­ly friend­ly prac­ti­ces can oft­en­ti­mes seem time con­suming, but now more than ever we need to be proac­ti­ve about taking care of our planet.

Here at neu­bau, being eco­lo­gi­cal­ly friend­ly is at the very heart of ever­ything we do. Both our opti­cal frames and sun­glas­ses are made in our home coun­try of Aus­tria, and we do not out­sour­ce our manu­fac­tu­ring pro­cess in order to ensu­re our car­bon foot­print is as low as pos­si­ble. The raw mate­ri­als we use to make the glas­ses, such as our natu­ral­PX, is also high­ly sus­tainab­le as it is sourced from seeds of cas­tor oil plants. We are dedi­ca­ted to using the best tech­no­lo­gy com­bi­ned with inno­va­ti­ve prac­ti­ces to crea­te pro­ducts that pro­du­ce prac­ti­cal­ly zero was­te, and we only want to incre­a­se our com­mit­ment to such prac­ti­ces as we enter the year 2020

We know it is not easy to chan­ge our habits, which is why we have com­pi­led a list of tricks and tips that we hope are easy to adopt. Small chan­ges go a long way while making a big impact and have the addi­tio­nal bene­fit of giving your wal­let a break. 

1. Eat local/​seasonally

Eating local­ly is gre­at, not just for boos­ting local eco­no­mies and hel­ping our far­mers but espe­cial­ly for the envi­ron­ment. By con­suming vege­ta­bles that are impor­ted from around the world we are crea­ting a demand for our food to be trans­por­ted through pla­nes or long truck jour­neys, resul­ting in huge car­bon emis­si­ons. Buy­ing local­ly miti­ga­tes this pro­blem, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly resul­ting in us con­suming fres­her pro­du­ce, pro­tec­ting our local land and wild­life and crea­ting local employment. 

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2. Repla­cing sin­gle use plastic items

The UN envi­ron­ment reports that our world cur­r­ent­ly holds 9 bil­li­on ton­nes of plastic. Most of this ends up in land­fills and our oce­ans adver­se­ly affec­ting our pre­cious forests as well as aqua­tic life. Plastic does not bio­de­gra­de which is why sin­gle use plastic items are one of the worst pol­lut­ants today. Sin­gle use plastic items inclu­de (but are not limi­ted to) ciga­ret­te butts, plastic bot­t­les, bot­t­le caps, straws, sty­ro­foam takea­way cups etc. Repla­cing the­se items is pret­ty easy as the­re are a lot of dif­fe­rent com­pa­nies pro­du­cing repla­ce­ment items — from metal straws to keep cups. Most gro­ce­ry stores have also sto­cked tote bags that can be reu­sed to do your wee­kly shop­ping (saving you a buck as well). 

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3. Thrift/​vin­ta­ge shopping

As we alrea­dy know, the fashion indus­try is the most pol­lu­ting indus­try in the world and yet is hard not to be com­pli­cit — not ever­yo­ne can afford to buy high qua­li­ty desi­gner clot­hing and so we are for­ced to shop at high-street brands. A good solu­ti­on, for both the envi­ron­ment and our bank account, is thrif­ting. By buy­ing second-hand, you pre­vent clot­hing was­te from piling up in land­fills and also redu­ce demand for items from unethi­cal high street com­pa­nies. Not to men­ti­on, you can find pie­ces that are pret­ty uni­que (inclu­ding desi­gner finds) and are pre­sen­ted the oppor­tu­ni­ty to let your crea­ti­ve juices flow. 

4. Bicy­cling

If the idea of a good work­out repla­ce­ment (extra work­out oppor­tu­ni­ty?) isn’t appe­aling enough, perhaps knowing the posi­ti­ve envi­ron­men­tal impact of choo­sing bicy­cling as your pri­ma­ry mode of trans­port is. We don’t even need to exp­lain the con­se­quen­ces of piling into buses and trains, let alo­ne our own cars. Cracking down on road traf­fic is the first solu­ti­on imple­men­ted in Mexi­co, Chi­na and India to tack­le the health cri­sis crea­ted by pol­lu­ti­on. If your home­town has solid infra­st­ruc­tu­re to allow for bicy­cling, it is an easy, healt­hy solu­ti­on. You might even find a sce­nic rou­te to make your morning com­mu­te enjoyable!

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5. Going vegan

Going vegan has repeated­ly been men­tio­ned has the sin­gle big­gest way to redu­ce your impact on the pla­net. Choo­sing to fol­low a vegan diet can result in the reduc­tion of one indi­vi­dual’s car­bon foot­print by near­ly 73%, report rese­ar­chers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford. With incre­a­sed know­ledge about the eco­lo­gi­cal impact of con­ti­nuing to con­su­me meat and dai­ry pro­ducts, a myri­ad of new com­pa­nies have pop­ped up offe­ring dai­ry and meat alter­na­ti­ve. From oat milk to high qua­li­ty meat (and cheese) alter­na­ti­ves — going vegan has never been easier!

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6. Vol­un­teer for organizations

In addi­ti­on to all our other tips, you can always take your com­mit­ment a step for­ward by working the hund­reds of orga­niz­a­ti­ons that are doing their bit to help miti­ga­te our impact on the pla­net. From crea­ting urban green spaces to intel­li­gent recy­cling solu­ti­ons, the­re are lots of inno­va­ti­ve orga­niz­a­ti­ons loo­king for vol­un­te­ers. If you’re not sure whe­re to start, we recom­mend loo­king up Plastic Patrol; a crowd­sour­cing effort to keep rub­bish out of nature. 

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