According to statistics, up to 75% of Americans want to be "greener" in 2009. This is a great New Year's resolution because it covers many traditional resolutions, including lose weight and save money. Here are some green resolutions you might consider:
- I will start with my Christmas tree - Don't just kick it to the curb, take it to an area collection point to be recycled into mulch.
- I will slim my bin - Even recycling uses energy, so think first about reducing. Approximately 80 percent of packaging goes straight into the bin. Buy in bulk wherever possible, buy fruit and veggies loose and avoid multiple layers of disposable packaging.
- I pledge to save money and resources - By looking for second-hand versions of things before buying new. Follow the reduce, reuse, recycle lesson and question your purchases, "Do I really need that?" Also make room in your closets by donating your "extras."
- I will use green products - Purchase products made from recycled materials and use non-toxic cleansers or homemade cleansers instead of chemicals. For example, for an all-purpose cleanser, mix ½ cup vinegar in one quart water (reduce water for harder jobs) and use in a recycled spray bottle. To deodorize and soften laundry, add one cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
- I will use less paper - At the office, think twice before printing and, whenever possible, print on both sides. At home, vow to give up paper towels, paper napkins or both.
- I will save water - Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. You can save approximately two gallons of water per minute from going down the drain. Also, fix your drips because a leaky faucet can waste a quart or more of water per day.
- I will buy local whenever possible - The average meal travels 1,000 miles before it reaches your plate. Transportation, particularly by air, is a major contributor to CO2 emissions. Why buy apples flown from New Zealand when we produce fantastic apples locally?
- I will decline plastic bags - We use between 380 to 500 billion plastic bags annually, or aboutb one million every minute. Remember your reusable shopping bag whenever and wherever you shop.
- I will reduce my thermostat - By reducing the thermostat just two degrees and being more efficient with electricity (such as using a programmable thermostat and unplugging appliances when not in use), the average family can save $200 to 400 per year. Also, don't forget to clean or replace the air filters.
- I will be a better role model - When kids see you recycling and being careful with resources and consumption, they learn from you. Share less clutter, less waste and more of the good things of life.
Going green doesn't have to be more expensive and is often the more frugal thing to do. Challenge yourself in 2009 to see how little trash you can produce, time your showers, BYOB (bring your own bags) and reduce your thermostat setting. Resolutions are best kept if they are planned ahead of time. You can make a difference on an individual and family level.