While its time to look forward to 2010, I firmly believe that making New Year’s Resolutions also includes celebrating the successes of the previous year. I will also admit that I personally still have a “green” journey ahead of me in the future, but we did make some significant strides in 2009.
Tomorrow, we’ll post our resolutions for 2010. Today, we’re going to celebrate our top green changes of 2009.
Don’t believe that you can make a difference for Mother Earth? Trust me, there are many easy ways to go green, and you CAN make the world a better place as a result. Talk about a Happy New Year!
1. Cold Water Wash. With 6 of us in our immediate family, we do several loads of wash daily. However, by switching from warm to a cold water wash, the energy that would be required to heat all that water is conserved and our respective carbon footprint is lowered. That, plus an effort to wear clothing items more than once before washing has saved us significant “green” in every sense of the word!
2. School Transportation. We live in a fairly cold part of the United States during winter months. However, our children walk to and from their school which is located less than 1/2 mile away. My oldest son takes the school bus, and then walks home. The gas and hassle that we’ve saved is really adding up!
3. Reduced Water Usage. No more running water while brushing teeth. Showers are a bit less frequent, and definitely shorter. We all take a look at our water usage, from watering the garden to washing the car. Even though we live in the lush, Pacific Northwest, there is not a single person in the world that should take clean, potable water for granted. I’m proud that we’re doing our part and teaching our children some lifelong lessons on water conservation.
4. Recycled More Stuff. I have to admit that I am relatively new to the “recycling game.” Until 2-3 years ago, we stuck to newspaper and aluminum cans, but not much more. Today, practically every scrap of packaging goes into our giant recycling bin – from laundry detergent containers to the plastic trays that hold Oreo cookies.
My kids have become experts in de-coding the numbers, which indicate whether an item can be recycled and if so, how. We’ve also made strides in taking back old cell phones and other electronics.
5. Ditched the Water Bottles. While we DO recycle our water bottles, many people do not. And, why even waste the plastic in the first place? Purchasing a number of eco-friendly reusable water bottles has helped us save both the environment and a lot of cash on bottled water.
The water from our tap is clean and fresh. And it feels so wonderful not to cart around the petroleum-based plastic bottles!
6. Learned how to Precycle. When you reduce your waste before you even bring it home, there is less to recycle. Its called precycling, and its a wonder that more people don’t do it, and more corporations do not integrate it into their manufacturing and packaging. I have seen evidence of “precycling” at the grocery store, with some companies announcing that the products inside the boxes are the same, but the packaging has been reduced. You can also precycle by asking bulk mail companies to stop sending catalogs and credit offerings to your home.
I’m hoping that 2010 brings about significant change in this area.
7. Unplugged More Often. This has been a major change for me this year! I literally walk around the house looking for items to unplug – from the coffee maker to my computer, hair dryers to cell phone chargers. Even when you are not using these appliances, they suck a lot of wasted energy from the outlets during the day. Couple these changes with use of LED or compact florescent bulbs and your home energy costs could drop dramatically. We’ve seen a $20-30 monthly reduction in our electricity bill in 2009.
8. Achieved a General “Green Consciousness.” Even if the word “green” doesn’t come to mind, we have become much more mindful of the impact of our every day decisions on the environment. Instead of purchasing new books, we enjoy the selections at our local library. Packing lunch, instead of buying it saves in more ways than one!
What top green changes did you make in 2009? What is planned for 2010? Be sure to let us know below!
Happy New Year!