Now that “green” has gone mainstream, we all know the importance of living in a more environmentally friendly way. Nevertheless, if you have yet to take a first step, making a big lifestyle change may still seem a little daunting. To get you started, here are 10 easy resolutions you can make this year to go green and reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and improve your health in 2010.
1. Recycle. Unless a product is biodegradable, throwing it “away” means it goes to a planet-polluting landfill. Don’t toss your trash: reduce, reuse and recycle it wherever you can.
2. Switch to C.F.L.s (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs). Lower your carbon footprint by swapping out incandescent bulbs with CFLs. They use up to 75% less energy and last ten times longer—and can help you save about $30 off your utility bill over the life of each bulb.
3. Eliminate Energy Vampires. Most energy drained from your home comes from electronic appliances you aren’t using like TVs, computers and cell phone chargers. Unplug or turn off appliances when not in use for one hour, or plug into a power strip and hit the “off” switch.
4. Upgrade Your Appliances. Appliances account for 20 percent of home energy use! When old appliances give out, replace them with energy-efficient, Energy Star-certified models, which use 10-50% less energy and water and can reduce your utility bill.
5. Detox Your Home. Most homes contain dozens of hidden hazardous toxins. The biggest culprits are traditional cleaning products, which contain toxic chemicals that pose serious health risks. Protect yourself and the environment by choosing natural, organic and biodegradable cleaning and personal care products.
6. Say Goodbye to Plastic. Due to global warming and pollution, access to clean, fresh water is quickly diminishing. Cut water waste by turning off the faucet when not in use (including when brushing teeth!), and replace faucets and showerheads with low-flow alternatives.
7. Eat More Veggies. The meat industry wastes millions of tons of water, land and natural resources annually and is our planet’s largest industrial polluter. A meat diet requires 4,000+ gallons of water per day: By comparison, a vegetarian diet requires just 300 gallons. Go green and improve your health by eating less meat and eating local, organic fruits and veggies. You'll reduce your carbon footprint by nearly 15%!
8. Wear Eco-Chic Clothing. It takes 1/3 lb. of harmful pesticides to make one traditional cotton shirt. Instead, wear clothing made from sustainable, renewable fabrics like bamboo, hemp or organic cotton, or go vintage by shopping at thrift stores.
9. Green Your Commute. Cut down on greenhouse gas-causing C02 emissions by driving a fuel-efficient vehicle. Not ready to trade your car in for a hybrid? Walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation instead of driving.
10. Take Baby Steps. If overhauling your life to “go green” feels overwhelming, determine what level of green works best for your current lifestyle. Then, resolve to make one change you can commit to for 2010. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference. Here’s to a greener New Year!
Bianca Alexander is a green lifestyle expert and correspondent for Conscious Living TV and Soul of Green. Watch Bianca present a few of these tips live on WGN by clicking here: http://www.wgntv.com/videobeta/watch/?watch=18305a0c-0369-4e84-9596-c0a35f12f99c&src=front.
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