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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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