Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some eco-friendly resolutions

It may be too late to be writing about New Year’s resolutions, but I’m a firm believer in making commitments to improvements regardless of whether it falls exactly on a holiday or certain date. So, even if you have already made your resolutions (and maybe broken them…) or if you haven't made any, here are some simple lifestyle changes you can try to incorporate in your everyday life.

A few eco-friendly resolution ideas:

  • Only purchase reused or recycled clothing

Benefits: It prevents wonderful clothing items from being tossed in the landfill, conserves energy/material/time/costs to make new products, and saves you money. One of my friends made this exact resolution last year and it was such a success she is repeating it for 2011!

  • Bring reusable bags to ALL shopping trips

Benefits: They prevent plastic (produced from oil and a great input of energy) from being in landfills/streets/trees/oceans, they are more durable (no more double-bagging) than plastic bags so you can feel safer carrying heavy items, and they are often larger than the plastic bags, allowing you to fit more in fewer bags. Plus, as mentioned in my previous blog post, this may be a change you’ll be forced to make in Los Angeles come this July. Might as well get into a good habit!

  • Become a vegetarian

Benefits: Becoming vegetarian is one of the most important and effective actions you can take to reduce the negative impact you have on the environment. Livestock production accounts for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, generates an enormous amount of water pollution in the form of pesticides, antibiotics, and fecal matter, and requires an enormous amount of land, water, grain, and petroleum. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from a standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against climate change than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid. To find out more, check out this article: “7 Clear-Cut Reasons Why Meat is Bad for the Environment

  • Designate a box or bag for electronic recycling (batteries, cell phones, printers, computers)

Benefits: Having a box or bag set aside specifically for electronics to be recycled will help encourage and remind you to keep hazardous material out of landfills/groundwater and allow for those items to be reused. I know how hard it can be to hold on to used batteries instead of just tossing them in the trash, but if there is a bag already labeled for e-waste, it can help keep those tiny pieces together. Then, at the end of the year, you can stop by at a HHW/E-Waste Collection Event or one of LA’s S.A.F.E Centers

  • Make all mailings electronic (billing, magazines, newspapers, letters to friends, ask to be placed off of mailing lists)

Benefits: At least for me, electronic mailings are easier for me to track, categorize, and find than regular mail. They also save on paper, reduce postage costs, and prevent clutter. Check out http://www.catalogchoice.org/ to get yourself off of all those unsolicited mailings.

  • Stop drinking bottled water

Benefits: It’s healthier and cheaper for you and helps the environment. Read to find out more: "5 Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water"