Green Living: Tips for the New Year
by Carla Hill
The new year is prime time to develop some new household habits. Many households shy away from adopting green living habits for fear that they’ll be too hard, time-consuming, or expensive.
In reality, there are many green habits that can fit easily into your daily routine.
To start out consider the old adage of "reduce, reuse, recycle."
Reducing your consumption means being a conscious consumer. Choose packaging that easily biodegrades, such as cardboard or paper. Avoid plastic when possible and only use plastic when it’s the kind that can be recycled.
Use your own grocery bags when shopping to reduce the amount of plastic bags you consume.
For young families, make the earth-friendly and cost-effective switch to cloth diapers. From birth to potty training the average child’s diapers cost $2,000 - $3,000. Cloth diapers on the other hand cost around $450 and can be reused for other children.
Next, reuse products when possible. Do you have the have the new "x" or is the old one still in good working order? Do you have jars, jugs, and containers that you can give new life to? Find creative ways to continue using products instead of sending them to the landfill.
Finally, recycle whenever you can! The best way to stick to a new recycling habit is to set up separate bins or storage containers in your pantry, kitchen, or garage. When you empty jugs, bottles, and jars, give them a quick rinse and then sort them into their appropriate containers.
Depending on your household usage, you’ll most likely end up having four separate containers. According to the EPA, "Paper accounts for more than a third of all recyclables collected in the US, by weight. Nearly forty-five million tons of paper and paperboard were recovered in 2010 -- a recycling rate of over 63 percent." Your paper bin can be used for newspaper, cardboard to name a view.
You’ll also have a metal bin for empty vegetable and soda cans, one for glass, and a bin for all your household plastics.
You can also recycle by making sure your old clothes and furniture are donated to those in need. What is old to you is new to someone else.
Finally, contact your local city offices to find out where you can take your recycling goods or if there is weekly or monthly recycling pickup in your area!
Reduce, reuse, recycle is a simple way of changing how your family thinks about living green. Post this motto on your family fridge to turn this new goal into daily habit.