10 Ways to Go Green in the New Year
New Year's resolutions are easy to break. But if one of your resolutions is to live a greener life, here are 10 simple ways to make a real change:
1. Go cold.
Rather than washing your laundry in warm or hot water, wash every load in cold water. Your clothes will get just as clean, and you'll save energy. According to the Department of Energy, washing in cold water can save consumers up to 80 percent of energy per load, which translates to up to $100 per year.
2. Pitch the paper.
Switch from paper towels to cloth towels. You'll not only divert lots of waste from the landfill, but you'll save money, too. Bea Johnson and her family have figured out how to live well while producing almost no household waste.
3. Pay online.
Switch to e-billing for utilities, credit cards and other monthly bills. You'll save paper and reduce the carbon footprint of the Postal Service.
4. Catch the rain.
Build or buy a rain barrel to collect free water for your lawn and plants.
5. Go meatless.
Once a week, eat like a vegetarian, and help cut down on the greenhouse gases emitted by the livestock industry. Here's how five meat lovers eliminated meat from their diets once a week.
6. Park your car.
Bike or walk anywhere you can get to in less than 30 minutes. You'll help the environment, and the exercise will do you good. As much as possible, use public transportation the rest of the time.
7. Shop used first.
Before buying new clothes or furniture, shop first at thrift stores, Craigslist, or similar places for recycled or gently used goods. Thrift Talk Diva Barbara Tobias has tips for shopping at garage sales and thrift stores.
8. Start composting.
Save your organic kitchen scraps to cut down on waste and get free fertilizer for your lawn and plants.
9. Adjust your thermostat.
If you set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer, you'll save energy, as well as cutting costs on heating and cooling your home.
10. Get unplugged.
Unplug your appliances when you're not using them, or use a Smart Strip power strip that senses when appliances aren't being used and turns off unnecessary power.
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