It’s a new year and that means heaps of new resolutions. If decided to go green in 2017 (and, let’s face it, everyone should), then check out these 10 easy ways to accomplish those goals in the new year!
1. Stop It With the Bottled Water Already
Stop buying bottled water.
We all know bottled water can be convenient. Especially if you lead a hectic life like me. However bottled water is a massive waste of YOUR money and is horrible for the environment. Trade in your bottled water for at at-home filtering pitcher or a reusable bottle (preferable made of glass, aluminum or recycled plastic). By switching, you can save as much as $1,400 / year and help reduce the 17 million barrels of oil used to make disposable water bottles each year.
2. Brew Your Own Coffee
Did you even know it was possible to brew your own Fair Trade coffee?
You can carry your own coffee in a travel mug and reduce waste from all those cardboard Starbucks cups. Those pesky little devils are disposed of at an alarming rate – 58 billion each year!
Choose a Fair trade coffee blend that you love to enjoy delicious coffee right in the comfort of your own home. Add organic or locally farmed milk (or better yet, almond milk!) and even try using a French press to reduce on the electricity you use!
3. Reduce Those Paper Towels
Don’t grab a paper towel each time you have a spill. Don’t grab a paper towel for that dusty little mess you want to wipe up quickly.
Instead, invest in a few cotton cloths and fabric napkins. When they’ve been used, pop them into the wash when you run a load of laundry. By using these cloth alternatives, you save money and can help eliminate an estimated 13 billion pounds of paper towels in landfills each day.
4. Reusable Bags Are the Best
Taking reusable bags with you to the store is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are more than 1 million plastic bags that end up in landfills each year, and those bags take hundreds-upon-hundreds of years to breakdown (meaning they basically don’t).
By simply remembering to take a reusable shopping bag with you each time you go out, you can go green. To make it easier, try keeping folded reusable bags in convenient places like the pocket of your bag / backpack, the glovebox of your car, or near your refrigerator / front door.
5. Bike It Out
If you’re just going around the corner to grab some milk, take the bike instead of the car.
By riding your bike for short trips of 2 miles or less, you can almost cut your carbon footprint in half. Not only that, but you’ll save money on gasoline and car maintenance as well. Did I mention that cutting back on your car time can also extend the life of your car?
To top it all of, this minor life adjustment has major health benefits. It’s one of the best ways to get yourself in shape quickly and relatively painlessly.
So don’t start up the car for that ice-cream trip down the block. Get the bike out instead.
6. The Phantom Menace
Phantom power is a major drain on your energy bills and the environment…no pun intended.
It only takes about one second to unplug your iPhone charger, curling iron, or hair dryer, and it could save you more than 10% on your next energy bill.
If you just can’t be bothered unplugging everything for yourself, then use power strips. With just the flip of one switch (instead of the unplugging of 3-4), you can reduce your impact on the environment and save yourself some major bucks!
7. The Harper Valley CSA
While farmer’s markets might be all the rage, your local CSA is the way to go. Especially if you want fresh produce and foodstuffs easily.
CSA programs will do the hard work for you and put together boxes of their best produce each week. If you’re feeling especially lazy, they’ll even deliver it right to your door.
These programs are the best way to support your local agricultural scene while still getting fresh fruits, vegetables and other farm-raised foodstuffs. Even better? You don’t have to give up your lazy, coffee-and-cartoon Saturday mornings.
8. Take the Veggie Challenge
Giving up meat can be a hard thing, but even going part-time Veg Head makes a massive difference to the environment.
Just by cutting your meat intake in 1/2, you decrease your carbon footprint by about 1 ton each year. Not only that, but you open up a whole new world of delicious and easy-to-make foods that the whole family can enjoy. Think: pancakes with fruit, veggie pizzas, roasted veggie pastas. The possibilities are endless!
Start easy, cutting out meat only once a week. Gradually, try to build yourself up to 1/2 a week vegetarian, or eating only 1 “meat meal” a day. You’ll experience massive changes to your health and energy levels, and you’ll save yourself time and money too!
9. The Power of Green
Switching to green power is not nearly as major as it sounds. Yes, we’re talking solar panels, geothermal energy and tankless water heaters, but you don’t have to be a construction foreman to accomplish it!
Call your local energy company and see what renewable options they offer. Most companies have an array of programs that will help you install and maintain green energy features. Some states even have programs that will pay you money to switch over to green energy!
You’ll see a short spike in your bill at first, but after a few months of power saving and storage, you’re in for the lowest electric bills of your life. All you have to do is pick up the phone!
10. Wave Bye-Bye to Those Old Lightbulbs
Replace your outdated lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights.
It only takes one person a few minutes to change a light bulb, so there’s really no excuse not to. CFLs last longer than old-school light bulbs and use less power as well. That means that, in the long run, you’re going to save a pretty penny on both the bulbs and the cost of running them. Best part? They cut your energy usage by as much as 80%.
Who wouldn’t want that?
And just like that, you can go green in 2017. It doesn’t take a massive will-power, or even the best productivity skills in the game. All you need is a little desire and enough energy to change out the lightbulbs! Well…almost.