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20 Ways to Go Green in 2013

If your New Year's resolution is to live a greener lifestyle, check out these 20 tips to help you stick to your plan.

If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 20 ways to go green in 2013.

  1. Buy fresh, local food this summer at the Riverdale Park Famers Market.
  2. Have your kids make their friends birthday cards and bring gifts in decorated paper bags or a cool reusable bag. Kids love getting a handmade card—as do adults.
  3. Bring your own bags when you shop for groceries. 
  4. Shop at consignment and thrift stores such as Value Village.
  5. Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started?  Contact Byron Brothers Landscaping. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
  6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly at the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill.
  7. Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. Check here for a list of CSAs in Maryland. 
  8. Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
  9. Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot. 
  10. Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels in school lunches.
  11. Look for an environmental service project you can do with your children, such as removing trash and non-native plants and planting trees in their place.
  12. Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
  13. Plant a tree. A certified arborist can help you select and plant trees that will provide privacy and shade and even years of fresh fruit. 
  14. Dump your bottled water costs. You could save hundreds of dollars by buying snazzy metal water bottles for everyone in the family and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet. 
  15. Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the Hyattsville Library and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools.
  16. Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can find bulbs at Target or Home Depot.
  17. Expand your hand-me-down circle. Organize a clothing swap for your kids’ preschool or a group of friends. Everyone brings gently used and clean kids’ clothes to your garage and parents can take as many items as they donated. The rest goes to charity. You can also swap toys and books.
  18. Replace your showerheads with low-flow models. Low-flow showerheads can save you up to 15 percent on water heating costs and reduce your water usage by as much as 20,000 gallons a year.
  19. Save up to 30 percent on your monthly heating bills by having a home energy audit done by a professional. 
  20. Give service and experience gifts this year instead of stuff. Make homemade gift certificates for services and experiences that could include tech support, dinner and a movie, yard work, pet walking or babysitting, or a day of organizing support for the clutter challenged.

TELL US: Do you think you could stick to a green New Year's resolution? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments sections below.

Sarah Wayland January 01, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Great list! If you live in Riverdale Park, you can make your house much more energy efficient (12 & 19) through the Small Town Energy Program (STEP) http://www.smalltownenergy.org/. STEP covers $300 of the $400 cost of your home energy evaluation report. If you decide to make any of the report’s recommended improvements, STEP then helps you get up to 60% of the costs back through rebates. STEP Energy Coach Suzanne Parmet helps you every step of the way, making the whole process easy.
Jenni Pompi (Editor) January 01, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Thanks, Sarah!
Pachacutec January 02, 2013 at 05:31 PM
RE #9, cutting down on car trips; how about PARKING the car and taking the bus whenever possible?
Jenni Pompi (Editor) January 02, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Excellent suggestion!

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