Green Resolutions for 2009

As a kid, my dad always made us write New Year’s Resolutions, only he referred to them as goals.   Some goals became a major focus of our daily lives (for about a month), and others were  swept under the carpet as soon as January 2nd rolled around. In the spirit of all things “green,” I’d like to make some suggestions for easy resolutions that will become habits before you have time to forget about them!

  • Use reusable shopping bags. This one is such a no-brainer, it’s hard to believe that more people don’t participate! You can splurge on a set of nice, compact string bags (I prefer the Classic String Bags from EcoBags), or you can go with a cheaper alternative. Even many mass merchandisers are offering reusable bags at checkout for around $1 per bag. Add $2 to your next 5 shopping trips, and you’ve got enough enough for even your biggest shopping trips!
  • Research green energy alternatives through your local power company. Many providers offer a green energy program that allows you to invest in the development and production of sustainable energy in your area. The U.S. Department of Energy created the Green Power Network to keep you informed of your options. Go to their website and search for your state. Once you set it up through your power company, you just pay the bill as normal. Now that’s one resolution you don’t have to feel guilty about forgetting.
  • Say bye-bye to water bottles. We’ve all seen the ads… “An hour on the treadmill, forever in a landfill.” Instead of purchasing a case of bottled water this year, invest in a water filter and a safe,  high quality reusable water bottle. We love our Brita Ultramax Water Dispenser. One refill a day and keeps enough water for the whole family clean and cold! Once you get the whole family on board, it’s a lot easier on the budget too. Who says green can’t be cheap?
  • Eliminate 50% of your household chemicals. What many of us don’t realize is that most of our household cleaning can be done with basic ingredients that are safe enough to eat! Scrub your tub, sink, or cooktop to a perfect shine with a paste of baking soda and water. Use white vinegar for mirrors, windows, and even as fabric softener- try it and you’ll never go back! Not only are you saving money, but you’re reducing carbon emissions and energy in processing,  as well as plastics in packaging! Our fish and wildlife salute you!
  • And last, and maybe easiest- Go digital! Read your newspaper online. Subscribe to e-editions of your favorite magazine. Pay your bills online. Take advantage of online bank statements. Protect trees and our atmosphere in one sweep! How many unnecessary miles are traveled in production and delivery of these paper products? If you’re feeling really benevolent, visit 41pounds.org and join to reduce the junk mail you receive each year.

These are just a few simple ideas to think about to make your home a greener place this year.   Once you conquer a few new habits,  kick it up a notch.  Join a CSA, cloth diaper, plant a garden… but if there’s one thing I learned about New Year’s Resolutions through the years,  I know that the smaller the step, the easier it is to keep.  And for every step you take, you’re that much closer to your goal- being happy, healthy, and green.

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