Believe it or not, 2015 is right around the corner. Start the year off right with these “go-green” New Year’s Resolutions as small ways to do your part for the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. You may even find yourself saving money with many of these steps for green New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Walk, run, take a bike-do anything but drive: One of the simplest ways to leave pollution in 2014 is to try to avoid adding to it as much as possible. If you go on foot to nearby treks or even ride your bike to work you will be reducing your carbon footprint and saving gasoline in the process. It couldn’t hurt to burn off some of the holiday season’s calories too.
2. Swap bottled water on your grocery list for a water filter: When you are continuously purchasing bottled water you are a part of the million dollar oil industry that makes the barrels for the bottles. According to Cupaunion, 17 million barrels of crude oil are used to make plastic water bottles every year. Invest in a water filter instead.
3. Reuse shopping bags: The less plastic bags you use this new year, the better. Instead of spending ten cents a trip with plastic, spend a few dollars on a cloth bag for your groceries. It may even make hauling some of the heavier things to your car easier.
4. Meatless Monday’s (or any other day of the week): In a 2006 United Nations report it stated that the process of raising animals for food production emits more greenhouse gases than every car and truck’s emissions combined. If you substitute even just one day’s meals with fruits and veggies you will find yourself feeling lighter (there’s many health benefits as well!). You will also not be aiding in the slaughter and destruction of many endangered animals and their habitats.
5. Support your caffeine addiction from home: According to the Clean Air Council, the average office worker disposes of 500 coffee cups every year. That’s over 23 pounds of waste for one person alone that could have been easily avoided had that person used a reusable coffee mug. You’ll also find that not buying that overpriced frappuccino won’t burn as big of a hole in your pocket.
6. Buy cruelty-free “anything” when you can: The fashion industry continuously abuses animals for their product lines. Buy cruelty-free cosmetics when possible to shy away from this process. There’s also many natural cleaning products that are better for the environment and don’t release as many greenhouse gases.
7. Purchase vegetables out of your comfort zone: Many mass-produced vegetables are actually not as good for the environment as one may think. Rice and avocados for example rob farmers from their own water supply due to the amount necessary for growing such large quantities. Give your taste buds something new this next year and try other protein packed vegetables like kale or quinoa. Also when you do go buy your veggies, get them locally grown.
8. Conserve water: The list of ways to conserve water are practically endless! Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth. Keep your showers under five minutes. Actually MATCH the water level to the load size when doing the laundry. Little actions like these can add up and can even help you save on your water bill.
9. Change your light bulbs: Instead of using light bulbs that waste energy, swap out for compact florescent lights. They last almost double the amount that traditional bulbs do so it could even help you save on your energy bill as well.
10. Recycle, recycle, recycle: It is possible to recycle just about anything now. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 31 million tons of plastic go to waste every year!
Save the planet one small step at a time. After all, we only have one.
Photo Credit: Flickr/pagedooley, slobikelane, chichacha