Committing to a Greener New Year: 5 Resolutions to Make 2011 More Eco-Friendly

It’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. Many people tend to focus on goals that only have an impact on their personal lives. Typical examples include losing weight, exercising more, or saving a certain amount of money. While goal-setting is a noble endeavor in and of itself, committing to making some lifestyle changes that have a more far-reaching impact will give you a greater sense of personal fulfillment. Here are some easy-to-follow tips for “greening” your New Year.

1. Take public transportation or walk/bike to work at least twice a week.

This one tip is beneficial on multiple levels. For one, it’ll drastically reduce your carbon footprint by the year’s end. You’ll be getting more exercise, and you’ll be saving on gas. If you already take public transportation, or you get to work on foot, think of other ways that you can reduce your energy output on transportation. Using your car just a few times less per week really adds up in the long term.

2. Commit to getting rid of disposables.

Plastic and paper are some of the most common disposable items that we indulge in on a constant basis. Sure, they’re convenient, but they create an unimaginable amount of waste that often ends up at landfills, polluting the air and soil. Think of different, creative ways that you can reuse household items. For one, use cloth napkins instead of paper, and eliminate paper plates and plastic utensils. Remind yourself to take your own tote bags to the grocery. Don’t think plastics are that harmful? Check these facts from ReUseIt.com.

3. Switch to paperless bills and publications.

I don’t know about you, but there’s something less aggravating about receiving a bill in my email inbox than receiving it in the mail. By switching to paperless billing, you’ll be reducing paper waste enormously. Same goes for your favorite publications.

4. Stop buying bottled water.

Bottled water is perhaps one of the greatest, most expensive marketing scams of all time. Studies have shown that bottled water isn’t all that much safer than tap. In fact, many bottled water brands use the exact same stuff. And bottled water produces over 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. According to this Mother Nature Network article, plastic bottle production uses up 47 million gallons of oil annually. Buy a filter for the tap, and stop contributing to a wasteful, environmentally harmful industry.

5. Participate in more outdoor activities.

While making lifestyle changes around the home, if undertaken consistently, contribute enormously to helping the environment, we should also take some time to enjoy nature more often, if only to remind ourselves how precious our planet is. Spend more weekends at the park instead of in front of the television. Take a family camping trip, or volunteer at a local farmer’s market. Any activity that enables you to commune with the environment is beneficial on so many levels it helps relieve stress, it encourages us to exercise more, and it enables us to see first-hand what we are striving to protect.

These are just a few ways that we can make the upcoming New Year greener. As with all goals and resolutions, the more reasonable you make them, the more likely it is that you’ll keep them.

*This guest post was contributed by Alisa Gilbert, who writes on the topics of bachelors degree. She loves to write on eco life, environment, & parenting. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: [email protected].*