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Green New Years Resolutions

December 31, 2010

I’m almost back to rejoining the world of the living after being hit HARD this past week.  Well, it turns out that my sister came down hardcore with the flu and a fever of over a 101F, so who is sitting happy (ok, coughing up a lung) that she got her flu shot this year? That’s right, this girl!

Anyways, I’ve been thinking about making some green resolutions for the coming new year. How about you?

I came across The Daily’s Green’s 15 New Year’s Resolutions That Actually Make a Difference for the Environment, from the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and thought how wonderful it might be if each of us could even do 5 of these things throughout the next year.  Some you may even do already!

I’ve mentioned 10 of them here to get you started:

1. Give up both plastic and paper bags.

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As we all know by now, neither is good for the environment.  Reusable bags are the way to go for all of our shopping trips.  According to the NRDC, 12 million barrels of oil were used to make the 88.5 billion plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. And before you think that automatically makes paper better, you should know it takes four times more energy to make paper bags.

But of course, paper is more biodegradable than plastic, so if you find yourself without your reusable bag, go for paper and make sure to recycle it later!

2. Stop buying bottled water

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The NRDC says that it takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic for a 1-liter bottle of water, and in doing so, it pollutes 25 liters of groundwater. Invest in a stainless steel or aluminum reusable water bottle that won’t degrade over time and can possibly be recycled later or, if you must buy plastic, choose one with the recycled number 1, 2, 4 or 5 on it – they are more easily recycled and can cause less of a health threat.

3. Stop receiving unwanted catalogs

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I get so many catalogs, especially after buying things online, and I don’t even know how I got on some mailing lists.  Apparently all those catalogs come from 53 million trees and 56 gallons of wastewater.  Waste indeed! So either head on over to to get off those lists or, like me, spend some quality time calling up each catalog you don’t want and requesting to be taken off their list. It works!

4. Give up conventional detergents

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I know you’ve read my spiel about how terrible conventional detergents can be, with the number of toxic and nonbiodegradable chemicals many don’t even tell you about.  If you don’t make your own (or buy mine! :) ) choose laundry products that are plant-based and biodegradable, like 7th Generation, Ecover, Bio-Kleen, or Sun and Earth!

5. Give up the clothes dryer

The biggest household energy waster after the fridge, it also has a financial cost as well! Don’t forget to clean the lint filter after every load and only dry full loads of laundry. Using a folding indoor rack or hanging outside to dry is the best and most environmentally friendly way to go!

6. Give up conventional toilet paper

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This was one of the biggest changes K and I made this year, and an especially tough one since we were used to going to BJ’s and buying huge packs of TP.  But according to the NRDC, if every household in the United States bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, instead of the typical tissue made from virgin fiber, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution, preserve 356 million gallons of fresh water and save nearly 1 million trees. We all can make this easy switch, especially because the price isn’t that much more if you shop around.

7. Give up paper towels

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Another big step forward K and I took this year was buying washclothes that we could use in place of paper towels.  We still however, buy recycled paper towels for those times when we just need one instead of a cloth towel. But The Daily Green suggests buying reusable microfiber towels, which grip dirt and dust like a magnet, even when they get wet.  When dirty, just toss them in the wash and reuse again and again!  If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100 % recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees.

8. Use your dishwasher

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If you have one, use it.  But only use it fully loaded. Running a fully loaded dishwasher without pre-rinsing uses 1/3 less water than washing dishes by hand.  Unless your dishwasher is ancient, it can handle non pre-rinsed dishes!  Don’t forget to use the air-dry setting instead of the heat-dry setting to save half the electricity per cycle.

9. Sacrifice 2 degrees

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You can do it! By lowering your heat by two degrees or raising your AC temp by two degrees, you can save pounds of pollution and money off your utility bills.  According to the NRDC, electric power plants are the country’s largest industrial source of pollutants that cause global warming.

10. Recycle, recycle, recycle

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Did you know that for every bag of garbage that’s picked up by your trash collection service or that you bring to the dump, about 70 bags of waste are used in order to create that trash? Change that by looking for products in returnable and recyclable containers and recycle everything you can.

Although K and I already do most of these resolutions, my biggest green resolution next year will be switching to air drying my clothes instead of using my clothes dryer so much. I love it so, but air drying is so beneficial, green, and low energy, I have to get on the bandwagon.  My goal will be air drying  one full load of laundry a week, to ease my way into it.

Do you have any green resolutions for the next year?

Happy New Year!!

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 7, 2011 10:22 pm

    Great suggestions! You know, around here, the recycled toilet paper is actually cheaper than conventional toilet paper which is probably also because it’s store brand. It was an adjustment at first because it’s a little thinner and not as soft as what we had been using, but now that we’ve been using it for over a year, it’s weird to me when I go to people’s houses that don’t have it. My biggest vice is paper towels…. I have started using regular towels in the kitchen more often, but I am still too quick to grab the paper.

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