By Jordan Green |
Gyms are bracing for impact, as the most common New Year’s resolution – weight loss – means many of us will be running out to join them to shed some pounds.
According to a University of Scranton study, only 8 percent of us succeed in achieving our New Year’s resolutions. That is a lot of wasted money on unused gym memberships, home exercise machines, and fad diets.
Although cutting out cheesecake may be difficult, there is an easier way to keep your New Year’s promise, while helping the planet – go green.
It doesn’t take as much effort as resisting your sweet tooth. Honest. Here are five easy and effective ways to go green this New Year’s:
Stop Buying Bottled Water
Americans consume 1,500 plastic water bottles every second. That works out to about 50 billion bottles of water, 80 percent of which end up being tossed away and buried in landfill, instead of being recycled. And on average, Americans pay about $1,400 USD on bottles of water per year.
Save yourself over a grand by purchasing a far cheaper home filtering water pitcher and you’ll not only save yourself some green, but the planet as well.
Always Carry Re-Usable Cloth Bags
Over 1 million plastic bags go into American trash heaps every minute, marking our planet with perhaps the ultimate symbol of our disposable society, the disposable shopping bag. Here’s the simplest environmental New Year’s resolution on our list, always carry re-usable cloth bags wherever you go. That way, even when you suddenly remember you have to buy milk, or anything else on your way home, you already have your cloth bag at hand. They come in all shapes and sizes too, so the smaller ones fold up and can neatly fit in a pocket, backpack or purse. Never leave home without your re-usable cloth bag again.
Kill the Phantom-Power
The average Canadian or American household has over 25 devices on standby, tapped into the electrical system, chugging power all day, every day, always. From televisions and toasters, to mobile phones, tablets and laptops, to just the chargers without their mobile devices connected. We can save about 10 percent of our home’s annual electrical consumption simply by unplugging anything that we aren’t using.
Don’t want to constantly plug and unplug your chargers? Use a power bar to switch off everything at once. You can even purchase smart power bars, which automatically cut power to outlets not consuming the full charge, so the drain on our electrical system – and ultimately out of your bank account – is lessened.
Recycle Everything You Can
Over thirty years ago, only the folks at Greenpeace and other environmentally-aware groups even thought about recycling. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that has not heard of the concept. Surprisingly, it is not a basic habit for all of us.
Recycling aluminum pop cans saves 95 percent of the energy it took to purify the metal and 95 percent of the water pollution and 97 percent of the air pollution created in manufacturing that pop can. We don’t usually think about these savings achieved through recycling, but this, as well as the obvious space saved from landfill, are enormous. There are similar numbers for the savings achieved through recycling paper, and just about anything else with the Universal Recycling Symbol on it.
Making recycling a habit is one of the most environmentally-friendly things you can do.
The easiest way to make recycling a habit, is to replace all your garbage cans with Blue Boxes, or other recycling containers. This way, you’ll be forced to recycle whatever you can. And you’ll be able to tackle the next item on our list too.
Vow Only to Make Green Purchases
When the environment became trendy in the late 1980’s, corporations jumped on the green bandwagon by creating environmentally-friendly products. This shows us the power we consumers have at the cash register – companies will create products which they know there is a need and/or a want for.
So put your wallet to work, and vow only to purchase products which are environmentally-friendly. Refuse to buy something packed in excessive amounts of packaging. Don’t buy something that can’t be re-used, recycled or composted. And don’t buy anything that has a list of chemicals you can’t even pronounce. If you can’t pronounce it, it probably isn’t good for you, let alone the environment.