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20 Ways to Go Green in 2013

If your New Year's resolution is to live a greener lifestyle, check out these 20 tips to help you stick to your plan.

If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 20 ways to go green in 2013.

  1. Buy fresh, local food this summer at local farmers' markets.
  2. Have your kids make their friends birthday cards and bring gifts in decorated paper bags or a cool reusable bag. Kids love getting a handmade card—as do adults.
  3. Bring your own bags when you shop for groceries. 
  4. Shop at consignment stores and thrift stores.
  5. Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
  6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Check Patch's event calendar for local dropoff events.
  7. Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly.
  8. Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
  9. Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot.
  10. Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels in school lunches.
  11. Look for an environmental service project you can do with your children, such as removing trash and non-native plants and planting trees in their place. 
  12. Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
  13. Plant a tree. A certified arborist can help you select and plant trees that will provide privacy and shade and even years of fresh fruit. Find a certified arborist in your area.
  14. Dump your bottled water costs. You could save hundreds of dollars by buying snazzy metal water bottles for everyone in the family and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet.
  15. Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. You can also buy used Halloween costumes at consignment stores or sales.
  16. Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy.
  17. Expand your hand-me-down circle. Organize a clothing swap for your kids’ preschool or a group of friends. Everyone brings gently used and clean kids’ clothes to your garage and parents can take as many items as they donated. The rest goes to charity. You can also swap toys and books.
  18. Replace your showerheads with low-flow models. Low-flow showerheads can save you up to 15 percent on water heating costs and reduce your water usage by as much as 20,000 gallons a year.
  19. Save up to 30 percent on your monthly heating bills by having a home energy audit done by a professional.
  20. Give service and experience gifts this year instead of stuff. Make homemade gift certificates for services and experiences that could include tech support, dinner and a movie, yard work, pet walking or babysitting, or a day of organizing support for the clutter challenged.

TELL US: Do you think you could stick to a green New Year's resolution? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments sections below.

Lindsay at Flag Lady Gifts January 02, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Great tips, Kathleen! I'm pleased that our family already does nearly all of these. I would also suggest to tuck away the paper towels and replace them with a bag of old t-shirts and socks. Rags will work just as well for nearly all of your routine cleanup needs! Also, Main Line School Night is a great resource for beginners' classes for gardening, as I discovered last year.
Julia Gould January 03, 2013 at 01:13 AM
I really appreciate this list. It's an inspiration. In Radnor I hope we can support the continuation of the trail so that people in the Rosemont/Bryn Mawr section of the township can access the trail w/o the use of a car.
Tina Rush January 03, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Great article Kathleen! Your healthier, greener readers might want to consider the 100 mile diet. Not about dieting at all, but rather what we eat and where it comes from! the hundred miles diet simply says to reduce the carbon footprint you will on consume products produced, (grown), within 100 miles of your home. Quite challenging for those up to it. Eating foods grown closer home means reduced levels of fuel exhaust in the air, as distance to transport foods will be greatly reduced among other things. Not to mention it supports local growers and is a healthier choice!
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