By Janine Kick
The New Year is in full swing and, if you’re like most people, you’ve made at least one New Year’s resolution. But it’s not too late to add another one, or in this case, three — especially when they’re easy and better the world around you.
We’ve covered plenty of ways to go green in the past. Here’s your chance to make a change and make it last!
Easy Resolution #1: Resolve to Recycle
Reduce the amount of waste you produce by purchasing products in returnable or recyclable containers, and then recycle them.
If you’ve ever told yourself that one little bottle or can that lands in your garbage can instead of the recycle bin can’t possibly be all that bad, consider this: According to the Oro Loma Sanitary District, a wastewater collection facility that provides recycling services in the San Francisco Bay area, the amount of energy you save by recycling one aluminum can is enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours.
That’s three episodes of The Voice, or six episodes of Big Bang Theory. That’s a lot of saved energy just for tossing one can.
If saving all that energy isn’t enough to make you feel warm and fuzzy, here’s something that might: Recycling costs you absolutely NOTHING.
Nada. Zilch. Zero.
Many communities provide designated bins for recyclables, but if yours doesn’t, create your own recycling bin, fill it with newspaper, plastic, aluminum and other recyclables, and then take your homemade recycling bin to the nearest recycling center.
Don’t know what materials can be recycled in your community or where to take your materials to be recycled? Look in your phonebook under “recycling” or contact your city or county government office (usually called the Department of Sanitation or Department of Public Works). A good online source is Earth911.com, where you can type in your ZIP code or state to locate recycling centers near you.
Easy Resolution #2: Don’t Buy Bottled Water
Stop contributing to the nation’s landfills. Save money and the earth by not buying bottled water.
“Roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year —that’s 140 million every day!” says Bank2Tap.com, an informational website that helps communities reduce plastic waste. “That’s enough, laid end to end, to reach from New Jersey to China and back each day.”
If you must choose plastic, select bottles and other plastic containers that have a 1, 2, 5, or 6 on the bottom. These plastics are accepted by most curbside recycling programs.
Easy Resolution #3: Give Up Plastic (and Paper) Bags
Use reusable shopping bags at the grocery.
A reusable bag will put you back about a $1. Ask yourself, when was the last time you bought anything for a buck that made such a difference? Many stores offer discounts for shoppers who use their own bags (and that’s savings in your pocket!).
Keep a few reusable bags in your car for your next shopping trip. If you happen to forget, choose paper in the checkout lane. It recycles much more easily than plastic!
Making resolutions and sticking with them all year isn’t hard, not when you know you’re creating a positive impact on the Earth. What earth-saving resolutions have you made? Share them with us!