In the words of the famous carol, fast away the old year passes. And as we gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays, it’s a natural time to reﬂect on the year gone by and make resolutions for the year ahead. This year, in addition to eating less chocolate and getting to the gym more, consider adding Mother Earth to your list. To get you started, here are five resolutions that are easy to execute, but add up to a major impact for the environment.
Drink Tap Water Instead of Bottled Water
The average American consumes some 35 gallons of bottled water per year, which translates to about 300 bottles per person. All of that plastic comes at a cost, to the tune of 17 million barrels of oil used to produce bottles that, in 86% of cases, wind up in the garbage. And as for the idea that bottled water is cleaner than tap water, a report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund disagrees, pointing out that there are more standards regulating tap water in the US and Europe than in the bottled water industry.
Be an Ecologically Conscious Car Buyer
Although a hybrid car may not be in your price range, there are a number of tips that can reduce your carbon footprint when purchasing an automobile. Manual transmission is more fuel eﬃcient than automatic; diesel engines last longer than gasoline-powered ones, reducing environmental impact; sport suspension requires less brake use and less fuel burn. Even color matters: avoiding black interiors, for example, can save you on air-conditioning. And whatever car you choose, keep those tires properly inﬂated!
Break Out the Bike
Of course, the best way to be a green car owner is to use it less. And here is where bicycles – the most eﬃcient transportation ever invented – come into play. So how about challenging yourself to make trips of less than two miles with your bike? While saving money on gasoline and car maintenance, you’ll be helping yourself stay fit at the same time. And while other cars are sitting in traﬃc, you’ll already be at the local café enjoying a cappuccino. To discover 40 more advantages to bike-riding, click here.
Ax the Paper Towels
But it’s so much easier to rip a towel off the roll than use a regular one! Indeed it is, to the tune of 13 billion pounds of paper towels used each year – or 45 pounds per person. In fact, just using one fewer paper towel a day per person could save some 570 million pounds of paper waste per year. To fill in the gap, try using cotton towels and fabric napkins that you can drop into the laundry with your clothes; with a little practice, it will become just as automatic.
Eliminate “Phantom” Power Usage
You know all those devices plugged in around the house – cell chargers, Ipads, laptops, and kitchen appliances? Well, they’re still using energy, even if they’re turned off. Although the amount is small, a lot of such small draws add up over time. So make a regular point of unplugging anything that’s not in use – or connecting them to a smart power strip. However insignificant it may seem, you could find yourself saving up to 10% of your electricity bill.
By adopting easy ecological resolutions in the new year, you can feel good about yourself and good about the environment at the same time – just make sure the money you save doesn’t go towards buying more chocolate! For more energy-conservation hacks you can employ at home, check out our blog post here.