Don't know what to do to be greener in 2009? Here's a few things I'll be committing or recommitting myself to for the next calendar year.
1. Renew my commitment to recycling. I don't have curbside pickup at my apartment, so I have to haul my recyclables to the local center every few weeks. This winter, I got a little lazy, so there's lots of recycling piling up on my patio. Designate a day (Saturday morning? Sunday afternoon?) to take your bin to the recycling center, and stick to it.
2. Scale back on red meat. I won't be able to completely cut it out, but by scaling back (maybe to a couple times a week at most), I'll save calories and carbon. It takes lots of resources (water, food, energy) to raise cows—by replacing a few red meat meals with other foods such as salads, beans and fish, I'll reduce my carbon footprint (even if everything else I consume isn't local).
3. Lodge at green hotels. With the amount of personal and business travel I take each year, I am going to make the effort to research affordable, green hotels for each trip I take. The greenest thing to do, of course, is to stay with friends during trips, but when that's not an option, looking into local establishments that have a commitment to conservation helps contribute to the local economy and the environment. In January, I'll be heading to San Francisco and am excited to see the eco-friendly amenities that my hotel has to offer.
4. Stock my shelves with eco-friendly cleaners. Slowly, I'm making the transition to using greener cleaners. I wash knits with baking soda and vinegar and have given up conventional liquid fabric softener. I still use dryer sheets and conventional detergent for my regular washes, but am down the the last few cups before I open my new bottle of Seventh Generation. Knowing that my clothing is not doused with chemicals that can irritate my lungs and skin keeps me motivated to spend the extra dollar to buy green, or to take the extra time to whip up a homemade cleaning concoction.
What are your green new year's resolutions?