A Green New Year

New Year’s resolutions are easy to keep when you go green with some of these easy to implement environmental ideas.

Catch a bucket

Place a bucket where it can catch rainwater. Use this to water your plants or wash your car instead of the hose. Recycled water is great-pour fish bowl water on your plants. Bathe the dog in the yard. Rinse dishes in 1/2 sink full of soapy water, then place in dishwasher. Use the water to wash the sink.

Sort it out

Sorting your trash reaps big environmental rewards. Here are just a few statistics to help you keep the resolution:

Trash Recycling with Disposal Containers

Sort by recyclable material.

  • Composting vegetable waste makes natural fertilizer- reusing, reducing and recycling in one pile. This is better for the environment than a garbage disposal and requires no water.
  • Sort all plastic out. Bottles, packing plastic and shopping bags are all recyclable and reduce production energy up to 67% and air pollution emissions more than 25%. Recycling one plastic bottle conserves enough energy to fuel a 60 watt light bulb for almost six hours.
  • Crush those cans.
  1. English: Everett, Wash. (May 31, 2005) - Firem...

    Steel is the number one recycled material in the United States. Of the 100,000,000 steel and tin cans used in America everyday, enough cans are thrown away to build all of the cars in America.

  2. Make aluminum a contender: Recycling of one ton of cans will conserve 12,725 kilowatt hours, equal to the amount of the electricity used in the average American home in 10 years. This energy is the equivalent to 2,350 gallons of gasoline, or enough to drive a new car 82,250 miles. Recycling one saves enough gasoline to fill it half full.
  • Read the paper online. Of the 62,000,000 newspapers printed today, 44,000,000 will be thrown away- 30,000,000 trees. Recycling one ton of paper conserves 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy or enough to heat and cool an average American home for 6 months.
  • See through the waste. Recycling one glass bottle will light a 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours.

Turn it off.

Sleep mode requires energy. Turn off the computer, DVD, shredder, satellite converter, TiVo, lights, television, every appliance.

Down the drain

Water dropping from a tap.

Image via Wikipedia

  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth (save more water than some humans get in a whole day), install low-flow shower heads, turn off the hose at the faucet.
  • Turn off the water while you shampoo and condition- that’s 50 gallons a week.
  • Take a short shower- 5 minutes less will save about 1,000 gallons a year.
  • Front loading washing machines: If you cannot afford one, wash only full loads of clothes. If you cannot do that, use the correct water height and the coldest water temperature. Line dry- uses less electricity and naturally humidifies the air.
  • Sweep the driveway: Save 80 gallons of water, and burn some calories.
  • Cut the grass higher. More shade + better roots = less water.
  • Don’t plant grass on a steep incline. More water washes away that gets to the grass.
  • Weed regularly. Don’t support them.
  • No plumbers! Put food coloring in the toilet tank. If color is in the bowl in 30 minutes, it leaks.
  • Low capacity flush toilets: If you cannot install one, place a weighted 2 liter bottle in your tank.
  • Turn off water at the meter and note the reading. If after an hour it changed, call the plumber.
  • Know where the main shut-off valve is. If a pipe bursts, save those gallons! Faucet drips waste 140 gallons per week.
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge instead of running the water until it is cool. Skip the water and ice in the refrigerator door.
  • Rinse fruits and veggies in a bowl or sink instead of under running water.
  • Smaller pet bowls. Give your pets a smaller amount of water more times per day.
  • Use one glass per day to drink.
  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full. Never Rinse and Hold- in the sink it takes 5% the water.

Whether you are in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry or the yard, you can save environmental resources and money with these easy ways to go green…and keep the Earth blue!


What resolution did you make for the conservation of the planet or natural resources? Will it save you money?

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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  1. One more: kick the kids out of the house. Save on (who the hell left the light on in the bathroom?!) electricity

    • Hallelujah! I wish there was a sensor for the silly thing to go off when the short ones exit the bath. My problem? Most of them are taller than I. Sheesh.


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