Going Green in 2013: New Year’s Resolutions

It’s easy to decide that you want to “go green” now that it’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions.

The truth is that there is more to being eco-friendly than remembering to recycle and only buying organically grown food.

If you really want to make the transition to “being green” you need to work on reducing your carbon footprint.

Here are some ways to do that:

Incandescent Bulbs Are So Yesterday

Replace incandescent bulbs with LED ones!

Image provided by flickr creative commons user plastAnka

As your incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with more environmentally friendly LED light bulbs. An LED light bulb is more than eighty percent more efficient than an incandescent bulb. It even beats the CFL bulbs everybody’s been using by a good five percent. You can reduce your CO2 emissions by hundreds of pounds by switching out one regular bulb for an LED bulb. Even better, LED bulbs last years longer than their incandescent and CFL competitors. So, in addition to helping the environment, you’ll save hundreds of dollars in energy costs as well as light-bulb replacement costs.

Phantom Energy is the Enemy

Phantom energy, in this case, is power that runs through outlets to devices that aren’t actually being used like device chargers, power tools, small appliances, etc. The easy version of conquering this phantom energy is to simply unplug whatever it is that you aren’t using. This can be a huge hassle, though, depending on where outlets are located, etc. The smarter money is on a Surge suppressor power strip. These power strips cut off the AC power before it has a chance to get to a source. Some are even high tech enough to have timers so that you can program the strip to supply power to some things but not others during certain times of the day.

Composting is the New Black

You already know about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. But what about composting? Composting has become quite popular over the last few years. In Portland, Oregon there is even a city-wide composting program in place. Composting reduces waste in a number of ways. First, it reduces the amount of literal trash that you have to put into trash bags (which aren’t good for the environment). Next, it reduces your dependency on fertilizer for your gardens and lawns. This, in turn, reduces the need for fertilizer production which is slowly but surely reducing the amount of methane gas being released into the atmosphere.

Bottled Water and Plastic Water Bottles – No More

Reduce your use of plastic bottles

Image provided by flickr creative commons user zone41

Drinking water is fantastic for your body, but bottled water is terrible for the environment. Buying bottled water results in billions of plastic bottles being tossed into landfills every year,

carbon emissions that are through the roof—from both factories making new bottles and the factories recycling the old ones – and is a terrible expense for your bank account. Instead, buy two things: a sink mount water filter and a reusable bottle (metal is better, lasts longer and is easier on the environment than the hard plastic varieties). You’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars a year and reduce your carbon footprint by leaps and bounds.

Obviously you can do other things as well: walk instead of drive, buy clothing and shoes made from recycled materials and repair them instead of replacing them, turn off the lights when you aren’t using them, grow your own veggies and fruits instead of buying them at the store, etc. There are lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint this year. The four methods listed here, however, will have the biggest impact in a practical sense.

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