If you’re looking for a resolution to make in the New Year, consider giving up some of these eco-unfriendly traditions…

At the beginning of every year, people around the world make resolutions that they hope to keep throughout the year. This is one of many traditions that people celebrate, and although this one does not have any effect on the environment, many others do. If you’re looking for a resolution to make in the New Year, consider giving up some of these eco-unfriendly traditions:

Fireworks

People typically set off fireworks to celebrate the New Year and Fourth of July, but this tradition is not very eco-friendly. Studies have shown that fireworks cause air pollution once they are launched into the sky. In fact, it is estimated that fireworks increase the pollutants in the air by about 42%.

Whatever is left of the firework after it lights up the sky will eventually find its way back to the ground. This part of the firework contains harmful chemicals that could eventually absorb into the ground or get washed into nearby lakes or rivers by rainwater. Before lighting fireworks, think about the damage that they do to both the air and the water.

Christmas Trees

Some people say that the Christmas tree tradition is not good for the environment, regardless of whether the tree is real or fake. There are some drawbacks to using a real tree, but in general, this is still a more environmentally friendly choice than using a fake tree.

Fake trees are mainly produced overseas, so getting them to the U.S. requires the use of a significant amount of fossil fuels. Even though these trees are fake, they don’t last forever. Most artificial trees will need to be replaced after about seven years. But, artificial trees cannot be recycled. This means many artificial trees end up in landfills across the country. If they’re not sent to a landfill, the trees will be incinerated, which releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. For these reasons, it’s best to avoid using a fake tree around the holidays.

Balloons

Balloons are used throughout the year to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions, but this is another tradition that is harming the environment. Animals often mistake deflated balloons for food. Once the balloon has been consumed, it can block the stomach or intestines, which prevents the animal from ingesting any other food. Unless the balloon blockage is removed, the animal may starve to death.

The helium that is used to inflate balloons is incredibly rare. It’s also very valuable since helium plays an important role in the production of MRIs scanners, nuclear reactors, and more. Since there is no way to produce additional helium, the supply that we have must be used carefully, which means it should not be used to inflate balloons.

Even if a deflated balloon ends up sitting in a landfill, it is only adding to the increasingly serious plastic problem. Because balloons can be so harmful, it’s best to leave them out of all of your celebrations in the New Year.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate momentous occasions without these traditions. Use the New Year as an opportunity to start your own eco-friendly traditions instead of relying on these and harming the environment.