10 Ways to go green in the New Year
The traditional beginning to a New Year’s resolution is January 2 and the usual end to your willpower is January 30. This year let’s try something different – make green living resolutions that are so easy to keep you won’t even realize your life is more environmentally friendly.
As we move toward a new year we encourage you to try one or all 10 of these suggestions to make your life (and the planet) go green in 2015.
10 Ways to Go Green Today
1. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
According to an article published in Rolling Stone magazine, “American shoppers use an estimated 102 billion plastic shopping bags each year — more than 500 per consumer. Named by Guinness World Records as “the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world,” the ultra thin bags have become a leading source of pollution worldwide.” Join the fight against single-use plastic bags by bringing your own reusable cloth bag when you do your shopping.
2. Buy more vegetables
Meat is a drain on natural resources. The 2,464 gallons of water used to raise livestock in one state can be used to supply clean water to thousands of acres of crops, effectively producing food for millions versus meat for a handful of people. When you choose a meatless meal just once a week you will be saving more natural resources than you will by recycling your plastic bottles. Talk about going green!
3. Drink filtered water
Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80 percent of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become “litter,” reports The Water Project. Instead, buy reusable bottles and refill them with filtered water. Not only will you be saving our environment, but you will also be saving yourself the cost of buying prepackaged water.
4. Say no to liquid soap
Think about it: the soap you use to wash your clothes and dishes is just detergent mixed with water. Then you add more water to get the items clean. That’s a lot of water. Fifty thousand gallons of water every year, to be exact. Purchase dry detergent (powdered) and save our planet’s water supply for things that really matter, such as drinking water and growing food.
5. Switch on the lights
Conventional lighting versus energy conscious lighting isn’t even a fair fight. Environmental bulbs save enough energy to power up over 3 million homes for 365 days, not to mention the more than $600 million saved in energy costs and the toxic greenhouse gases prevented (an amount equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars) says Energy Star.
6. Use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels
Made with fibers smaller than a human hair, microfiber cloths are reusable green cleaning towels that are created to absorb more liquid, up to eight times their weight – a feat impossible for paper towels. They also lift dust away from surfaces through a naturally generated electric charge. That means you remove dust (not just spread it around) without using toxic conventional cleaning products.
7. Hail a bus. Or a boat.
Next time you’re trying to get from point A to point B, consider public transportation instead of taking a car. Cabs are convenient for you, but not so much for the health of our environment. When was the last time you took a boat to Brooklyn? New York Waterway’s East River Ferry is an alternative means of public transportation that makes getting around the city fast and fun. No cars allowed, so shake the dust off your bike and try getting to work or an outing by bus, boat or bike this week.
8. Upgrade your kitchen
Replacing old appliances with new energy-saving fixtures can be a huge money-saving and health-saving switch this year. Not only do these modern appliances draw on less energy to function, but many of them are created to help maintain a safer indoor environment for your good health. For example, the Greenhood stove hood is an air purifying appliance that eliminates odors while sanitizing the air around it, a similar technology to an ionized air purifier. Better air quality and lower electric bills? That sounds like an ideal start to the new year.
9. Take a vacation
Yes, you read that correctly. Volunteer vacations offer the opportunity to spend time working to support at risk causes one on one. “The key to a successful Volunteer Vacation is being realistic about your desire and abilities,” says Doug Cutchins, one of the authors of Volunteer Vacations. This is the chance to support your passion, whether that be saving sea turtles in Costa Rica, protecting dolphins in Greece, or studying climate change in the Arctic.
10. Use green cleaning products
Conventional cleaning products you can buy in the supermarket are filled with toxic chemicals and packaged in plastic bottles that are destined for the landfill. Not to mention how much they cost! This year you can save your money, the planet and your health by switching to green cleaning products, whether they be our own line of Ecospirit vegetable-based cleaning products or you can make your own natural cleaners. Baking soda, lemons, and vinegar are our three favorite ingredients to use when we’re cleaning. Between the three of them you will be able to scrub, scour and shine almost everything in your home.
Making better choices in your daily life directly affects your health, wealth and environment. It’s easy to make a switch, and you’re not alone – even we are searching for ways to go even greener this year. We’d like to know how it’s going. Chat with us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.