Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Green Year 2012!


Happy New Year 2012!

Who doesn’t make resolutions at the beginning of the new year? 
How about some green resolutions? 
Don’t worry about making a big commitment. Even few steps make a difference. 
Here are some tips on little changes that could impact the environment.

Reduce:
-Mail:
Reduce the junk mail coming to your house.More information here 
 https:/ /www.catalogchoice.org/
Consider not getting reviews or magazines if they have a website that you can access
-Paper:
Ask yourself if you really need to print before you do
Print double sided pages
-Books:
Consider borrowing books from the library or buy ebooks if you know you may not want to keep them
Pass down the books you have read and don't want to keep to another book lover
-Energy consumption:
Install a programmable thermostat for your heater/air conditioning
Switch off the lights when you are not in the room
Unplug unused appliances
Combine errands so you don’t use as much gas
Consider riding your bike or taking the bus when possible
Use cold water in your wash machine when possible and combine the loads
Install motion detection switches for outside lights
Replace conventional light bulbs by compact fluorescent light bulbs
Close closet doors
More tips here
-Packaging:
Use your own shopping bag when going to the grocery store
Try to combine different items on the same shipment when shopping online
Purchase items in bigger quantities (if you will need them) such as detergent
When possible, buy produce locally or join an organic buying club like this one  http://www.anniesbuyingclub.com/
-Gifts:
Make home made gift
Use alternative wrapping
-Eating/Drinking: 
Drink tap water
Use flatware and reusable plates for lunch
Bring your cup to seminars/meetings
Consider using fabric napkins at home

Reuse
Of the 3 Rs, reuse or repurpose is the one that is less undertaken. However try to consider it before recycling.
-containers: 
Tin containers that are given around the holidays can be reused year round for kids’ small toys
Gift bags can be reused for another gift
-clothes:
Baby clothes can be passed down as they usually only wear them for a couple of month
Clothes you have not used for a while and are gathering dust in your closet can be donated to the Salvation Army or Good Will
Clothes can be repurposed, http://www.newdressaday.com/
-Items that you have, don’t use and that don’t hold any sentimental value: you may want to ask around if someone need them.  For RSMAS, send an info message. You will be surprised how somebody might need something you don’t
-yardwaste: you can start composting and  reuse your food scraps and yard waste for your garden.See some more information here:http://www.howtocompost.org/
-craft: some everyday items might be reused in crafts
http://alphamom.com/family-fun/crafts/milk-jug-decorative-window-crafts/

Here are few ideas for upcycled gifts to sew for kids:
http://naturalfamilytoday.com/uncategorized/easy-upcycled-gifts-to-sew-for-kids/

Recycle
After reducing and reusing, the last is recycling. For items that can not be repurposed, find out where they may be recycled if they are not the regular single stream items.
Some schools have recycling programs for toners and sometimes phones.
Please find the Recycling Database from Ecomb.org here

This list is not meant to be exhaustive and you might find more tips on line.
If you have any additional tips,please feel free to leave them in a comment.
Finally, whatever step you might consider taking, remember that it will make a difference.

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