Three British Red Cross volunteers (a man and two women) make a toast with their teacups in a Red Cross charity shop stock room

Volunteers at a British Red Cross charity shop © Anna Gordon/British Red Cross

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?

Many of us have already given up on the resolutions we made only a month ago.

Maybe you are not going to run that marathon after all. Or even walk the dog for five more minutes each morning. Not today, anyway.

It’s easy for good intentions to get lost in everyday life.

But here are three ethical resolutions you can make at any time. And they will help you, the earth, and people who need British Red Cross support.

1. Make ethical fashion choices: use a charity shop

Research estimates that 300,000 tonnes of clothing goes into landfill every year in the UK.

The carbon footprint of the UK clothing sector is getting worse. But sustainable fashion is a growing trend that will, no doubt, continue through 2019.

To help change this, you could buy clothes that are made from recycled materials, opt for locally made fashion or choose organic, natural fabrics.

Another fantastic option is to buy second hand. This is not only good value for money but also great for the environment as the clothing will not be clogging up landfills.

All British Red Cross shops sell donated clothing and accessories, and we also have several vintage and designer charity shops across the UK.

Winter is a great time to declutter and our shops are always grateful for donations.

They could be anything from clothing to toys and books. This is both a great way to reduce waste and to get rid of any unwanted Christmas gifts.

The money we raise in shops helps support people in crisis in the UK and overseas.

By becoming a little bit more conscious of how you buy and donate your clothes, you will contribute to an improved fashion industry and, ultimately, an improved world.

2. Take up a new hobby: become a volunteer

Getting involved in something new can be a little daunting, but it should also be fun, exciting and motivating.

Volunteering in a charity shop can give you the opportunity to play a role in keeping fashion sustainable. At the same time, being a volunteer gives you the chance to help your community, learn new skills and meet new people.

Do you like to talk with and help people? You can serve customers and promote the shop in your area.

More interested in design? You can create attractive displays.

If you’d rather play a backroom role, you can volunteer to unpack and price people’s donations.

The Red Cross has a range UK volunteer opportunities. From fundraising to first aid, they will help you use your free time to make a real difference to people’s lives.

3. Make sustainable swaps: reduce and recycle

Two reusable coffee cups that will be sold at British Red Cross charity shops

Reusable coffee cups coming soon to Red Cross shops , © British Red Cross

The concept of sustainable living is rapidly gaining traction and there are lots of simple changes that you can make in your daily routine.

A great start would be to try to reduce your single-use plastic waste and the Red Cross is committed to reducing our carbon footprint.*

You can recycle your used printer cartridges by post with the British Red Cross.

Plastic bottles are one of the most common items of litter found on Britain’s beaches, so carrying a reusable water bottle is becoming more important than ever.

Carrying a reusable coffee cup will also help to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. Plus, many coffee shops will give you a discount when you use your own cup and there are so many eco-friendly options.

The British Red Cross will be introducing a selection of reusable coffee cups this spring in shops and online, so keep your eyes peeled!

Introducing less plastic and more reusable products into your life can be extremely rewarding, both for yourself and for the planet.

We can all make an effort to care for our world. Doing it through the Red Cross can also mean caring for ourselves, our communities and people caught up in disasters, wherever they may be. Will you join us?

Enjoy a healthy and happy 2019!

Mellissa Oliver is a volunteer with the Red Cross’ retail communications team, which is based at our national retail centre in Surrey.

*Reducing carbon emissions, including our use of plastics, is firmly on the Red Cross’ agenda.  We were awarded with the Carbon Trust Standard in 2013. In 2015 we received the ISO 14001 standard certification for our environmental management systems.