Ring in the New Year with eco-resolutions

The following entry is a guest post from Paul Batistelli. He freelances in the energy field for the promotion of a greener society and energy means. He works to raise awareness on ecological issues, energy dependency, and reducing carbon footprints. On Twitter: @PaulBatistelli.

Many people set New Year’s resolutions to get fit or to lose weight, though few focus on eco-resolutions. The New Year is not only a time to reminisce about the past, but also an opportunity to look ahead to the future. Unfortunately, the outlook today doesn’t seem too bright.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average global temperature will increase 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the coming century, an event scientists refer to as climate change. Without significant reductions to greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA believes climate change could affect the world’s food supply, water resources, ecosystems, human health, and even energy supplies.

In order to combat climate change, it’s important for everyone to make changes to their everyday life. And what better way to ring in the New Year than to make some eco-friendly resolutions that will make your next year a little greener.

Unplug

On an everyday basis, many of us use computers, cell phones, and other consumer electronics, but leaving our devices plugged into the outlet still creates a spark of energy, even though you’re not using the device. Vampire power lurks year-round in your household or office, so fight it by unplugging electronics when they’re not in use.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

It may seem like the most basic step toward going green, but making a commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle can really improve your carbon footprint. You can reduce by doing simple things such as purchasing products with less packaging or remembering to buy only what you need and nothing more.

When you can, reuse old items instead of throwing them away. You might choose to use and reuse real dishes, for example, as opposed to disposable paper plates, cups, or bowls. And for what you can’t reuse, recycle.

Whether your recycling gets picked up at your residence or not, there may be recyclable items that are not getting recycled. Most cities offer recycling programs where items such as milk jugs, aluminum cans, and even old consumer electronics along with wires and batteries can be repurposed. Since many recycling centers take different things, check your local recycling center to see what you can and can’t recycle.

Go paperless

Regardless of whether you’re trying to green your office or be a little more environmentally friendly at home, cutting back on paper waste can be a huge help. When you stop to think about it, a single piece of paper has an unfriendly environmental history. From cutting down trees to make the paper to the environmental cost of transporting it to a store or your office, paper has a negative impact.

Consider a pledge to lower your paper consumption in the next year. Instead of printing documents out, save them to your computer or a backup hard drive. Send emails and digital cards instead of paper letters or cards. And if you’re giving a PowerPoint presentation, you can get away without printing handouts.

Change up your commute

Instead of driving your car to work each day, think about walking or riding a bike if you live close enough. Most major cities already have bike share programs, making it easier to do your part. It’s not only a healthy option, but it can also minimize your carbon footprint by eliminating the emissions from your daily commute. But even if you don’t live near your office, there are still plenty of ways you can green your commute like taking public transportation or participating in a ride share program.

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