Start the New Year with Steps toward Helping the Environment
© Linda McDonnell
When you're making your New Years resolutions, try adding a few environment-friendly practices you can follow all year to help save the planet.
This New Year why not make a few resolutions to help keep the environment healthy. Simple changes in daily routines followed throughout the year can make a difference. Below are some suggestions that are easy to do and can set you on the road to sustainable living. Some may even save money as well as helping the environment.
Reuse shopping bags, or better yet, get a durable bag to carry with you to the grocery store and on all your shopping trips.
Buy locally made and grown products. They usually require less packaging and eliminate the environmental costs of long-distance transport. The added bonus is that local fruits and vegetables are often fresher, and locally produced goods help support your own community.
Buy fewer disposable items. Look for long-lasting goods that won’t have to be replaced as often. You’ll reduce waste and save landfill space.
Compost leaves and garden trimmings. The compost will improve your garden soil while reducing waste.
While you’re shopping with your reusable shopping bag, look for products with recycled content. Buying recycled closes the cycle by putting resources back into use.
If possible, find a carpool partner to share your daily commute. Carpooling helps reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. It could mean room for more trees if less land is needed for highways!
If one of your resolutions is to get more exercise, try doing your shopping and errands on foot as part of your exercise program. Walking will help keep automobile pollution down and, like carpooling, help ease traffic congestion.
If you have a ceiling fan that’s reversible, don't forget about it when summer ends. In winter, set it to rotate clockwise at low speed. As heated air rises, the fan will distribute it downward to keep you warmer without turning up the thermostat.
Switch to environmentally friendly commercial laundry soaps.
More exercise! In sunny weather, dry your laundry the old fashioned way: outdoors on a clothesline. You'll save energy by not using the dryer.
Try using natural, home-made cleansers instead of chemical ones. Here are a few simple recipes: For an all-purpose cleanser, mix ½ cup vinegar in one quart of water (reduce water for hard jobs). Use it in a spray bottle. Instead of commercial fabric softener, add ¼ cup (or less) borax to the laundry wash cycle. To deodorize and soften laundry, add one cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.
Starting the New Year with a few environmental resolutions can offer the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something positive toward ecological sustainability.