Boy, did Kermit have it wrong: it's very easy being green. The only thing easier than being green is making it your New Year's resolution and never following through! The trick to keeping any resolution is to be realistic and specific about your expectations. So if you really want to be friendlier to the planet this year, the following suggestions are quick, simple, and great for beginners. While any one of these resolutions will make a positive impact on the environment, we don't doubt that you can get through several, if not all, of the ideas on this list and truly make yourself and the New Year green.
ECO-FRIENDLY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION SUGGESTIONS
Turn off the Water: You can waste up to 1.3 gallons of water by leaving the faucet running while you brush your teeth.
Spend Less Time in the Shower: You can save up to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air if you reduce your shower time by about two minutes.
Recycle Your Old Cell Phone: With advanced cell phones being released each year, you'll probably be due for an upgrade soon. Don't throw away your old cell phone, though; find a recycling center near you by visiting the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation website.
Download a Free Energy-Saving Application: Download an application like the one from Local Cooling or CO2 Saver and reduce the energy consumption of your computer when you're not using it. Or just turn it off.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water: Cause less heat damage to your clothing, use less electricity, produce less carbon dioxide, and help the environment by washing your clothes in cold water.
Consolidate your Hair Care Products: Buy 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner and save an entire plastic container from the landfill. Or check the bottom of the container and see if it can be recycled.
Stop Buying Bottled Water: Use reusable water bottles made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum. If you have to buy plastic bottles, look for the recycling numbers 1, 2, 4, or 5 on the bottom.
Stop Receiving Unwanted Catalogues: Visit CatalogChoice.org and put a stop to some of the 19 billion unwanted catalogs that are mailed to American consumers each year. Doing so will mean less clutter, less pollution, and less waste.
Switch to Recycled Toilet Paper: If every household in the U.S. bought just one four-pack of recycled bath tissue, it would preserve 356 million gallons of fresh water and save nearly 1 million trees. Recycled toilet paper also costs about the same as conventional toilet paper.
Give Up Paper Towels: Buy reusable microfiber towels, which not only grip dirt and dust like a magnet, but also cut down on waste. Even if you just switch to recycled paper towels, you'll be saving 544,000 trees.
Run a Fully Loaded Dishwasher: Running a fully loaded dishwasher can save 10 to 20 gallons of water a day, while using the air-dry setting will consume half the amount of electricity.
Use Less Gasoline: Check your tire pressure and increase your gas mileage. If every American kept their tires properly inflated, they could save 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline each year and curb global warming.
Give Up 2 Degrees: Save money on your utility bill and pounds of pollution by giving up 2 degrees. For example, in the winter set your thermostat to 68 degrees F (20° C) or less during the daytime and 55 degrees F (13° C) at night or while away, and during the summer, set it to 78 degrees F (26° C) or more.
Maintain your Refrigerator: Your refrigerator counts for 10 to 15 percent of the average home energy bill each month. To cut costs and make it run more efficiently, set its thermostat to maintain a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees (F) and clean its condenser coil twice a year.
Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs: Lighting accounts for 15 to 20 percent of a home's energy use, so you could be saving a lot of money and electricity by switching to compact fluorescents or LED lights. Visit EnergyFederation.org to find out more about energy-efficient lighting and to make a purchase.