Ringing in the New Year With One Easy Eco-Resolution

Everyone starts a new year with plans to improve–lose weight, save money, take a risk, accomplish a goal.  Enviro Girl thinks everyone should start the new year with an Eco-resolution, one small thing they can do to improve the environment.  The small things add up, as illustrated in this recent post over at Fake Plastic Fish.  Here are some free, incredibly convenient and easy Eco-resolutions for you and your friends to try:

1.  Quit the plastic bag habit.  Find that reusable shopping bag (Enviro Girl knows you have one somewhere) and stash it in your car/bike basket/briefcase.  Each time you forget to bring it in, refuse the shopping bag offered to you by the cashier and carry your purchases out of the store in your hands.  Using your hands or a reusable shopping bag reduces pollution, plastic use and can even result in 5-10 cent bag rebates depending on where you shop.

2.  Quit the bottled water habit.  Get a PVC-free water bottle and fill it up.  Drink tap water.  Drink tap water flavored with lemons or oranges.  Drink tap water chilled over ice or straight up.  Drink tap water out of glasses, mugs or champagne flutes.  By using your own container and filling it with tap water you’ll save loads of money (at a typical cost of $3.79 per gallon, bottled water is 1,900 times the cost of public tap water) and reduce the pollution, plastic, fuel and environmental devastation that comes with bottled water.

3.  Switch from conventional, commercial cleaning supplies to natural, environmentally safe cleaning methods.  You’ll save money, reduce air and water pollution, detox your household and reduce the trash your household produces.

4.  Start buying the locally grown organic version of one thing you consume.  Maybe it’s bananas, beef or broccoli.  Choose one product off your shopping list and commit to finding the locally grown or produced organic alternative.

5.  Turn it off.  Going low-tech saves electricity.  Switch off lights, stereos, computers, TV sets, video games and hair dryers.  You’ll reduce your noise and light pollution, reduce your electric costs and improve your quality of life.

6.  Quit using paper towels in the kitchen and elsewhere.  It’s easy–Enviro Girl did it and here’s her story.

7.  Reduce your trash by recycling more, consuming less or composting.

8.  Once a week, pass on the meat.  Meat is one of the biggest polluters on the planet, the major cause of deforestation and endangering species.  Raising cattle requires huge tracts of land for grazing and crops to feed them.  This might be the most challenging Eco-resolution, but will ultimately make the biggest environmental impact and save you the most money.

“Going green” works a lot like going on a diet–it’s little changes that incrementally add up.  Just as you can lose weight by giving up soda, you can reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact by giving up paper towels or bottled water.

Tell the Eco Women, what is your Eco-Resolution for 2012?

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113 thoughts on “Ringing in the New Year With One Easy Eco-Resolution

  1. Yup – #5 is where I slip, too. Makes me nuts around the house to be the turner-offer all the time – but hey, it’s a job, right?

    I’d like to figure out how to get our small office off of paper towels. I really don’t want to take on doing the laundry for co-workers, but I guess my own little contribution helps a bit. I take two cloth napkins in my lunchbag every Monday morning, and air-dry my hands when I wash them. We have a dishwasher there, and a decent supply of plates, mugs, silverware, etc., so we’re doing some things right. Always looking for more ways, tho 🙂

    • Offices are more challenging. I’d suggest doing what you can to cut back on your own paper towel use and then, if it’s reasonable, see if the office manager will start buying paper towels made of recycled content. Then, encourage people to either recycle or compost the paper towels when they’re done. (They can go right in the newspaper recycling bin.)

  2. I’ve recently quit the plastic bag habit — just trying to figure a way to quit the plastic bottle habit for school-age children who can’t bring containers of water from home (but can bring plastic bottles…grrr…).

    🙂

    • Simple Life – Paper towels are actually really easy to give up. I’ve written about it before (http://ecowomen.net/2010/03/11/rag-bag/) but the short answer is that you just use rags those times when you’d normally reach for paper towels.

      I started off by stashing our paper towels under the kitchen sink. Out of sight, out of mind. At the same time, I cut up a bunch of old t-shirts to make rags and then put them in an easy location. Any time someone asked where the paper towels were, I’d just point to the rags. (In my current house, they’re in a drawer; in my old house, they were in a basket in the pantry.)

      At some point, we used up the paper towels under the sink (I think it took a year or so) and I never got around to replacing them and no one noticed.

      • oooh… paper towels, not toilet paper! Here I’m wondering what on Earth to replace that with… LOL

      • I have a huge stack of rags (cut up from old towels and cloth diapers that were never used!), which I use for housecleaning sorted into categories (bathroom rags – floors – windows – dusting etc). The kitchen rags are red and stay in the kitchen (no cross contamination). I’ve been slowly collecting the red E-Cloths (micro-fibre cloths) as they go on sale. They are great for cleaning with water only.
        We use them for picking up spills etc. in the kitchen. We are trying to use less paper and try to reach for our cloth napkins as well, but that seems to be more difficult, not sure why…I will make that our eco-resolution, I’ll make our cloth napkins more accessible and think of you each time we succeed!
        Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Great suggestions. I’ve been on the one-change-at-a-time plan for a while now. I pick one thing to improve and once it’s a habit, I add something else. Already composting and shopping with re-usable bags. I rarely eat meat. My goal this year is in the area of cleaning supplies.

  4. This is all such wonderful advice! Quitting the bottle habit has been difficult, but we’ve almost conquered that one in my house… : ) The meat is sometimes difficult, but quite doable… I have to confess that one of the hardest ones for me would be paper towels. : ) I depend on them WAY too much! Certainly something to strive for this year!

    Thanks for the great advice and hope you have a happy new year!

  5. I’m so glad to say that I do most of the things in the list inspite of a few complaining… (especially my mum grumbling about my no-plastic-to-supermarket-rule:) … Really nice to find blogs promoting environmental awareness! Kudos !

  6. i’ve pretty much done everything, but cut out the paper towels! i will definitely try it! and I still find myself of using plastic bags often. I have tons of totes, and i sew, so no excuses for me. I am 3+months strong as vegan, though 🙂

  7. Great ideas! So true about meat! I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 11 years and am so glad I switched; for my health and the health of the planet!

  8. At first I thought the paper towels were toilet paper, and then realized you meant to quit using paper towels, not toilet paper. Made me laugh

    Anyways, great post. Thanks for sharing

  9. Too late, Too little!

    All the “green-ism’s” and eco-friendly habits in the book aren’t going to make one spit’s difference to the Global Climate Change crisis. It’s way too late. Planet Earth has passed the “tipping point” already. You’re just wasting your time. It’s just a fact.
    Read James Lovelock (the scientist who first coined the term “Gaia”) in The Guardian, “Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam.” : http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/mar/01/scienceofclimatechange.climatechange
    and see Lovelock’s homepage: http://www.jameslovelock.org/key1.html

    Lovelock is the one climate scientist we can believe. He is independent, not _any_ corporate or government payroll, and he’s been studying climate change since the 1960’s.

    His advice? Enjoy life while you can (soon things will be pretty grim), forget the fiddling with blue boxes and “green” products. They’re a waste of time and money. Rome is burning and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

    • Well, that’s certainly a pessimistic attitude. I refuse to stand by and not even try to do something to make life better for the next generation. For the record, most of the Ecowomen posts I’ve seen promote re-purposing items, eating your own food or locally-grown food whenever possible, and making your own eco-friendly cleaners and supplies rather than purchasing corporate gadgets, doo-dads, and such to “live green.” It’s better than standing around doing nothing, at least in my opinion, and it’s certainly not wasting money (and is, in fact, usually saving money, something most of us can stand to do in this economy).

  10. Nice and easy things to do. I have to admit (and I hope you’ll find this as amusing as I did after catching it) that at first glance I thought Eco-Resolution #6 was to quit using toilet paper! I was reading through quickly and the way the paper towels were photographed at an angle made me think of tp. I clicked through to read about how someone would accomplish this, only to then realize it was paper towels. Thank goodness. : )

  11. I agree with everything here, apart from the one about going organic. Organic produce contributes more to global warming than conventional farming. Organically reared cattle burp twice as much methane. Organic is essentially using more land and producing more greenhouse gas for the same output as conventional farming.

    Aside from that, spot on.

  12. I disagree with Will. It IS dire, don’t get me wrong. I recommend “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet” for more information. Yes, we’ve hit a tipping point. But to just continue wantonly wasting is irresponsible.

    We’re pretty successful at those tips listed above. One thing I’m going to be doing is reassessing our needs. Do we really NEED that plastic wrapped item? Can I get it used? Can I do without?

  13. Just found your blog via Freshly Pressed on the front page of WordPress. Thank you, WordPress!

    Anyhoozle, I have been fairly consistent in the last year, making 1 thru 7 a part of my total routine and I think I am good at it about 85% of the time now. #8 intrigues me. I never considered going meatless once a week – but what a great idea. It just might do me good!

    My big thing that I talk to people about is not letting the water run while they brush their teeth. I live in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, where water is abundant – but I feel strongly that this doesn’t give someone an excuse to waste it. We may be called on to share someday. Plus wasting resources is SO UNSEXY.

  14. My city banned plastic bags starting yesterday! I’m excited to see if this affects our neighboring cities and maybe eventually all of California. I’ve checked off most of the things on your list, though I do keep paper towels on hand for when the cat barfs. My goals this year are to not fly, look for local free range meat for the cat (the humans are already vegetarian), to switch to loose tea instead of tea bags, and end the year with less stuff than I started. Will has a point that we’re not going to save the planet with any of these actions, but I think we can still mitigate the worst effects of climate change. And besides, I feel like it’s my duty as a responsible earthling to, well, act responsibly towards the planet as much as I can, whatever its eventual fate.

  15. Great ideas! Personally, I need to work on reducing paper towel use. We all need to make an effort to consume less — or at least, consume better.

    – John Watson, Waste Diversion Education Coordinator, Halton Region

  16. These are all fabulous tips. I’ve been taking reusable bags to grocery stores for a few years and I think they’re great. They don’t break and hold more than standard bags. I’ve been saving the old plastic bags because I’ve found patterns online where you can cut them into strips and knit/crochet them into another grocery bag!

    I also second using homemade cleaning supplies. Baking soda does amazing things!

  17. Congrats on the freshly pressed! Nice blog, looking forward to following you. Great list! I love that I’ve done everything on your list! YAY! 🙂 I am vegan so I gave up meat and dairy completely not just one day a week. I’m surprised how much resistance there is to giving up such a harmful product. I can’t even get some people to consider giving it up for one meal a day one time a week. We have our work to do to help educate and inspire the world.

  18. We’ve been doing those for a while. A hard one these days, though, is number 5. Here’s why (as I type, and where I’m typing–Wordpress). Get away from the computer. Turn it off. “Get a life.” (Sounds cruel, no?)

  19. As a German, I am absolutely used to not using plastic bags for shopping, so it was a huge shock for me when I came to the UK, and these things are everywhere! I posted about it just last week (http://islandmonkeys.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/lets-talk-rubbish/) because it irks me beyond belief that such a simple thing is not done more here.
    Thanks for this post. I am trying to be a good girl about the meat which really is the only thing I am not doing already. Maybe there is a New Year’s resolution waiting to be made by me after all?

  20. Great tips. I follow practically all of them, except for the TV thing which I do at night. It would be a godsend if people around the world joined forces and gave this some consideration.

  21. Great post! Find Number 7 difficult though as live in a flat – did try and was giving the compost to a friend with an allotment but kept getting infested with fruitflies! Any tips to reduce that would be welcome!

  22. Question: I use my plastic bags from the market for emptying my cat litter box.
    Does anyone have a new way to empty the box without the use of plastic bags? I’d love to stop using them, but I haven’t an alternative now.

  23. Good ideas! I adopted a few of them after an Environmental Biology class several years ago. There we learned that the healthiest water is actually well water, if soil contaminates are low. It has more vitamins and doesn’t have to travel in pipes as long to reach the faucet.

  24. to MJ Nonstepmom:
    I understand your sentiment re: “I’d rather go down holding a bucket of water than a torch!” …but _sentiment_ is what it is. Logic would lead a reasonable person to do as James Lovelock prescribes: Enjoy what you can, while you can. The game is done.
    That “bucket of water” you’re carrying around flaming Rome is like trying to bail out the stricken Titanic with a tin pail. “If I just pray and pray and bail really fast, maybe I can stop this disaster”!
    Personally, I’d rather face reality head-on. I find the blue boxes and recycling bins and “green” everything all over everywhere laughable, knowing what we know from scientists like Lovelock.
    While you and Prince Charles et al are mucking around, up to your armpits in organic manure and compost boxes, I’ll be on the beach, thank-you very much {likely drinking bottled water!}.
    Guess who’ll go down smiling, all relaxed and ready (and reading his favorite Shakespeare)?

    ….”O God! God! 
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
    
Seem to me all the uses of this world! 
Fie on’t! Ah fie! ’tis an unweeded garden, that grows to seed;
    Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely. That it should come to this!”
    “Hamlet” Act 1 Scene2

    • Alrighty then, well, Will, I do not usually comment, really a face to face girl, however, I have to say, however well written and edgy your comments, it sounds like a day at the beach is definitely your highest priority! Rather than argue the facts, or misalignment of them, I will say to you this: do, enjoy your days at the beach, an excellent choice; may you become less of a crumudgeon (sp?) in the process, and save your litany of negativity and one-sourced arguments for the bar, where everyone can yell louder until no one gets their point across!!! You are, I will say, gifted at a rant-style writing, it may just behoove you at this point to find an audience that will nurture your style!

      At the same time, I say to the Eco-Moms’…well done! We all can do something, and at the very least, an exercise in futility, is still exercise, and I happen to support this exercise fully! I believe I may have lost it for the last time about the wrong stuff in the wrong bins in the storage under our sink!! And have been fighting the good compost fight all my life!

      And Will, you pessimistic dude, I LOVE that in your anger, you are reading Shakespeare!! Beautiful!!

      Peace, love and survival!
      The Garden Muse

  25. I’m inspired. The 1 day a week without meat seems easy and sensible. I stopped buying bottled water for anything but emergencies years ago. We pay $5 for 500ML at the local shop which. Keep in mind there are 3800 ml in a gallon $38 a gallon in Australian corner shop terms. That’s without having to take into account the disposal of more plastic. We use a water filter which filters 5 of 6 litres a day which works out at a few cents per litre as opposed to nearly $10 a litre buying bottled! It’s madness.

  26. Hi all 🙂 I’ve got a couple of suggestions :

    – in the kitchen replace paper towels with a box of tissues and a tea towel. We use the tea towel for drying our hands [not for drying the dishes!] and we use the tissues for those occasions when you just have to use something disposable. The tissues work as well as paper towels and can go straight into a compost bin [where they take up less room].
    – we have replaced all our incandescent light bulbs with low energy ones. Took a little getting used to as they take about 10 seconds to brighten to maximum but they last so much longer and they use less energy.
    – grow a few things in pots on a sunny deck or balcony. We have a north facing deck [gets most sun in Australia] and I just put two big ceramic pots out there. Added some decent soil, planted some mixed lettuce seeds and voila! Was astounded at how much lettuce popped up. You can pull the plants out as you need them /or/ just give them a haircut until you have enough for a salad. You get no waste, the taste is incredible and there are zero food miles 😀

  27. Great ideas but the paper towels would be tricky with kids in the house. . .hmm. I’ll take filtered tap, too, not straight up. So easy to give up plastic bags! Everyone should try it! Thanks for educating us!

    • Pamanner – I have two kids, Enviro Girl has three, and the other Eco Woman all have children or grandchildren. I don’t think any of us use paper towels, although I’d have to ask, to be sure. It can be done and won’t add much to your laundry loads.

    • I have four kids, and we rarely use a paper towel. I cut up old bath towels, edge them so they don’t get ratty. My kids learned long ago to use them. When I wash linens, they don’t take up additional room or soap. Keep small scraps of worn out clothing (like t-shirts) and use that when you want to clean up something and not wash the cloth.

      Really, it’s easy to do all of this stuff with kids in the house. They are the ones most willing to do “green” things.

      Gloria

  28. To answer The Eco Women’s question, my eco resolution is actually to donate more to environmental organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation (Canada) and websites like Grist.org and The Story of Stuff Project.
    Also, I’d like to convince my school (where I teach) to buy 100% recycled paper!
    And, regarding paper towels, if you absolutely have to buy them, look for 100% recycled. Same with toilet paper. There is a huge difference in energy, water consumption and you reduce the need to cut old growth trees.

  29. My eco-resolution this year was to get an allotment. An old man who comes into the shop where I work offered me half of his. Next week, BEANS!

  30. @ Will. Forgive me for sounding critical but isn’t this just an excuse to keep doing all the things that got us into this climate change mess in the first place?

    What people on this site are doing is every bit as important as curbing greenhouse gases because they are changing entrenched /attitudes/ on consumption and responsibility. Without these changes nothing bigger can possibly happen because ordinary people would not support it.

    Ecowomen are making voluntary changes in their own lives and I’m sure that they would support government initiatives if there were any. This is a meme that can and should spread like a benevolent virus.

    Personally I’d rather try and fail than sit sipping a cocktail while going boo hoo the world is ending. Besides, there are 100’s of scientists saying it’s not too late. Why should I buy into the pessimism of one man? [Sorry not being sexist here but he is a male].

    On a final note I’d just like to say that win or lose I am going to continue doing what I can simply to thumb my nose at all the corporations who profit from business as usual. <>

  31. As an adult college student I was amazed at the information I received in my Enviromental Science course last semester. This was a great post. The passing of knowledge from one to another reminds us that we are the “somebody’s” who need to do something about pollution and taking better care of our Mother Earth.

  32. We started a recycling program at my college, Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, in January of 2009, and we’ve already “rescued” more than 150,000 pounds of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass since then. Most importantly, we’ve taught our students, faculty and staff how to recycle. It’s now become a habit. Think globally. Act locally. Everyone can do something. You’ve just got to start. Thanks for your great list! Cheers, Denise

  33. Thanks for a lot of these great suggestions. I think that there are several here that I can easily implement this year.

  34. I just found your blog today & love the message! I have a fairly new blog & one of my 1st post will resonate with ya’ll! http://emmonslori.com/plasticbags
    Even though my topic there is a bit different than ecological issues, I can see us in alliance at some point. I agree with the concept of doing my part & believe that, while it is a mess, this amazing planet is capable of renewal IF we all pitch in and get things back on track. I can’t sit by with a coctail on the beach either…though it sounds enticing! 😉
    Reform, renewal & revitalization is what my main topic is all about at it’s core.

    Thanks & Keep up the cause!

  35. I recycle and use recyclable bags. I grown my own veggie garden or buy local produce at the Farmer’s Market. I also am armed and dangerous with multiple water bottles to refill and reuse on a daily basis.

  36. i bring my own shopping bags and i recycle. my target before the year ends is installing a solar powered water heating system.. but i wish i could lessen our use of the paper towels..

  37. Not using plastic bottles is an awesome way to reduce waste. Unfortunately the water here in So Cal is horrible and barely drinkable. It is not suited for consumption by children, pregnant women or the elderly. I installed a drinking water system in my home which is cheaper and far better than bottled water and eliminates everything out of my water.

  38. Coming from a vegetarian family I am already following the meatless day everyday. First kid in the house and we switched to natural cleaning products and we are a recycling freaks. Plastic is something we are working on. We figured out that tobacco is harmful to us and started to tax it heavily … we know plastic is harmful to environment can we start taxing it too? May be that will change our habit.

  39. Great tips! Best part of your message here is that small steps make a difference. I think that sometimes people get so overwhelmed that they don’t bother trying. Every step, no matter how small, is an important one!

  40. Yes, practical tips! All very good suggestions! When we began composting (family of 3), our small bags of garbage went from 14 stuffed into the curbside bin to just 4! Four!! Thanks to a local plastics recycling depot that takes styrofoam, electronics, and soft plastics, on top of composting, I think we shocked the bi-weekly garbage men!

  41. I have made a conscience effort so far to be environmentally friendly. First day of the year I started by using my travel mug to get coffee. It’s funny how unused to that idea people seem to be. Then again, maybe it’s where I live or something..

  42. For me this was the best post to start the year. We never forget to enjoy & celebrate what this planet gives us, but we forget, what’s our duty being part of this beautiful planet. Thank you for this wonderful post. Let’s hope everyone will remember this post, for a long time.

  43. Every time I walk through the Chemist (drug store) in Nottingham, I look around at all the wasteful packaging used for “beauty” products and think about all the environmentally harmful production of make-up and its OTT packaging. Start using cold-cream, its as good as the majority of moisturisers but comes in larger packages, maybe this is the year to try and stop trying to conform to the media’s view of what women should look like, and cut out all the unnecessary make up regime.
    Just looking at the women behind the counters in the store makes me laugh…..they have more make-up on than a clown. Natural beauty is so much nicer.
    XX

  44. Number 5 is something everyone can do! I know I’m always trying to shut things off at our house. Thankfully, we started doing Number 4 a few years ago. There is nothing like fresh produce from your local farmer’s market. Plus, they are SO much more fun to shop at! These changes are not hard to make, and there is nothing challenging about them. Everyone can use the reusable bags at the grocery store! And buying a reusable water bottle benefits everybody.

  45. When I came to America twenty years ago, the first thing I noticed was the terrible waste. The outrageous packaging was what hit me first. Then the paper towels …. and finally the ridiculous bottled water. I follow nearly all your suggestions as a matter of habit. But the only one I don’t follow is the “organic” suggestion. The produce is way too expensive. If I had a space for a garden I would definitely grow carrots ( so much better than the grocery store ones) and tomatoes and onions. But I think we’re being scammed a bit with “organic” hype. Way way too expensive.

  46. Lovely post! Sme thoughts:
    1. A few years ago, shops here in South Africa started charging a few cents for plastic carrier bags. We had a problem called the “South African daisy” – being the millions of plastic bags that littered our roads, our fields, etc. A few years later this problem has decrease dramatically.
    2. Those who are fortunate enough to gave access to clean tap water (USA, South Africa, most of Europe, etc) really should not take it for granted. Mot to mention that bottled water is a ridiculous waste of money.
    3. Unfortunately in places like South Africa, these kind of products are still unaffordable for the masses…
    4. Our biggest problem here is that our country exports all their best products, and we are stuck with second grade fresh produce. Which leaves those who can afford it to buy from places that import from other African countries.
    5&6. Excellent ideas (even though I am scared of the dark)
    7. This is becoming more accessible to South Africans and is gaining popularity, yay.
    8. A huge challenge for everyone! Except me, since I hardly eat when I am at university. 🙂

  47. Ah, these are lovely doable goals!
    I’m just struggling to even start the plastic bottle thing…
    …but I try to offset the negative aspects by recycling the bottle lids at Lush, and then I donate the washed bottles (after using them a fair few times – usually by the time they smell pongy) to my uni.
    The education department have a dedicated cupboard for materials that could be used for arts and crafts and ask for plastic bottles. 🙂

    I want to be more firm with myself about reducing my meat intake…
    I’ve managed to reduce how much red meat I eat… It’s chicken that I’m finding hard.
    Oh well, I can’t change all my habits at the click of a finger. 🙂

  48. Great post! Thank you for sharing your tips for a better and more eco-friendly life. My girlfriend and I are actually doing most of the things you have mentioned in your post apart from the paper towel challenge, which I have set myself to change this year. Another great things that I do for the past 2 years is using glass as a packaging material as often as possible. We use instead of nearly everything and resuse more then recycle. We also try to buy as much as we can in glass containers, such as ketchup, mayonnaise.

  49. I didn’t quit yet the plastic bag habit, but I recycle every weekend (In the other days I am collecting garbage so I could recycle it later sunday or saturday). By the way, cool post 🙂

  50. I’m already on track with all of these. The only time I use paper towel is when I fry bacon. Grease is just a pain in the butt to get out of cloth napkins when your washer isn’t hooked up to hot water.

    It’s hard to go local when you are in Canada in the winter, but I still look for grown/made/harvested in Canada produce and products when I’m in the grocery store. The items are a lot fresher when they are closer to home.

    Thank you for putting all these great (and real easy) ideas in one place.

  51. Great tips. If everyone does a little bit it will all add up to a fantastic result.

    Having said this I always reuse plastic bags as my rubbish bags (would have to buy new ones otherwise which seems just as pointless) and I would love to find environmentally cleaning products that work well and genuinely cost less. Usually they are more expensive and you have to use more to get the same result. Let’s start a plea to the manufacturers to actually make something that works that doesn’t cost the earth (in more ways than one!)

  52. Hooray I already do all of these. I add:

    #9- Spread the word about these easy eco resolutions. The best way is through being the example of the changes, with repetitive sticking by one’s resolutions.

    I end up looking like a nag a lot of the time in front of my family because I live at home and constantly ask my mother not to use paper towels/plastic bags/plastic water bottles. But slowly, it is starting to sink in!

  53. Fantastic advice. Trying just one of these things will “get the ball rolling” for a lot of folks!

  54. Paper towels. Can’t think of one reason to have them. The bacon thing above is close, but nothing a newspaper can’t handle. Oh, yeah – cancelled the newspaper because of waste and the plastic bag it always came in… Cut out the bacon.

  55. I don’t know if I can hold too easily to resolutions, but I think there are a couple I can go with- firstly, spending less time wasted on the computer and perhaps the television (ties in with #5) and secondly, the plastic bag one. The trouble with the latter is I always intend to re-use bags when I go to the shops but always keep forgetting, then end up accepting them anyway.

    Paper towels could be good, buit some things a damp jay-cloth doesn’t work for. Old rags might be a good idea, though they still inevitably need rinsing out and end up wet.

  56. The best suggestion on here is the one about not drinking bottled water. I live in New York City, and I continuously am amazed by the amount of bottled water that people in this city drink. The tap water is just fine, way cheaper (NYC prices are high), and best of all, comes right out of the sink. I have seem hotels in this city charge upwards of $10 for a small bottle, and I really just don’t understand the whole thing.

    If people won’t make the change for the environment and the future of the planet, they should do so for their wallets. It just makes cents (yes, I will put bad puns in my comments). Thanks for the great post!

  57. These are all such cute suggestions & I get that everyone wants to make some efforts (although I’m kinda siding up with Will on the “Too little, too late” sentiment & don’t think that he necessarily implies a do-whatever-you-want-it’s-all-going-to-hell-anyway approach). But truly, the really, really profoundly effective actions would be…
    …stop eating animal products all together, one day a week without meat isn’t going to amount to much….
    …stop buying so much “stuff” that you don’t really need every time you turn around…
    …stop making so many new consumers (aka, babies)…I can never resist linking this video from one of my favorite contemporary philosopher/comedians at this point, hope y’all got a sense of humor…

    Anyway, nice post, go forth & re-cycle! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for posting Doug Stanhope! I’ve never heard of him before, but he’s EXACTLY what this country needs to get us off our butts and realize there are BIG problems going on here and we need to ACT, not just acknowledge and go on with our boring lives doing NOTHING to change the slow destruction of the planet. Why isn’t there a World Committee that’s only goal is to make a plan to DECREASE the world population in a nonviolent, logical manner? Free condoms? Depovara shot for everyone for one year? $5000 check from the gov’t for everyone who doesn’t have a child in 2012- SOMETHING. Just getting the POPE to tell everyone “OK people, thanks for procreating- you can use birth control now.” would make a dent at least… Unfortunately,maybe there IS something in effect. Think about it. Obesity is at an all time high, heart attacks, strokes, CANCER (I have a feeling they HAVE a cure, but they are #1 making too much money treating it- rather have you pay hundreds of thousands to stay alive than cure it, #2 Cure cancer- really- think about it- it would collapse our economy. You think health insurance is expensive now, think of all the doctors and hospitals, not to mention all the people the American Cancer Society employs- its BIG BUSINESS. IT would cost too many people, making too much off the disease, for them to EVER let us CURE it. Maybe they are letting us kill ourselves off. Ok. I’m done ranting now.

    • That video is in all honesty pretty silly. The fact that another new person is born doesn’t mean much in itself- it’s how much that extra person consumes. One new American is going to end up consuming the same amount as several new Africans. So, if you raise that kid up to consume far less, it’ll mitigate the impact to some extent.

      Anyway, I think a few odd tips like this are at least a good start- how many people do any of these things in some countries? Most of the waste is just blatent stupidity anyway.

  58. So in a word, adopt the kind of lifestyle that was common 30 years ago. I’m old enough to remember when there was no bottled water in the local supermarket or corner shop. We used to have a guy come round selling bottles of pop(soda) then come back the following week for the bottles and sell you some more. And we used flasks when carrying drinks around. I use reusable shopping bags or if not, use my rucksack when I cycle to the supermarket or farmers market.
    In saying that, there are too many people preaching the same kind of message, and it does sound like preaching to me. I understand Will doesn’t appear to care less, but I bet he doesn’t appreciate been told, “do this or do that”. A good reason why not enough people are adopting new habits to help save the the human race.
    Sorry everyone, but if someone comments on here and you don’t agree with them, don’t be critical, try and understand the opinion, they are all valid. Pushing your opinions down peoples throats doesn’t work, why not try leading by example. When people see the benefits of adopting a more eco or frugal lifestyle(save money, maintain a good weight and feel and be healthier) they will ask questions about.

    • I know I should keep my mouth shut but that was never one of my new year’s resolutions. Sites like these are not preaching. If anything they are doing exactly what you suggest – they are leading by example. Will however is preaching : “Enjoy what you can, while you can. The game is done.” Comments like these should be posted on a thread devoted to the debate on climate change/global warming where they can be addressed properly.

      Debate is fine, dissent is also fine but I dislike pointless mockery.

  59. Thank you for the blog! Lots of excellent ideas. My current way of being more eco friendly is following the no poo method of hair care. I love it. I really don’t think that there will ever be a time that I will go back!

  60. I’ve been using re-usable shopping bags and re-usable cloth wipes for more than 20 years. Something taught me by my European-born parents. I’ve been a green eco-woman since long before it was fashionable. Glad the world is finally catching up with me. It’s been lonely out there at times.

  61. I bought a new product a reusable, freezable, microwavable water bottle. It’s pretty cool. Bubi Bottle and it beats tossing plastic into the trash heaps + the money I save from using tap water adds up. NYC / NJ water is darn good coming right out of the tap.

  62. these are all good ideas but. the amount of plastic being manufactured is more than anybody can put a dent in. we need to also stop the manufacturing of products needlessly made of plastic. i always say take the tax of gas/oil and put it on plastic.

  63. I share your sentiments and have been living the suggestions you made in this post and more for years! I I believe in good stewardship of time, talent, and resources and as an educator I try to explain to my students the value of “less is more,” self sufficiency, and earth friendly practices. I grow most of the vegetables we eat in a large garden and preserve the food to be eaten throughout the year. We have a small farm and between my husband and I, have a wealth of knowledge to share with those that are interested. My dream is to open our farm for families to visit and educate them about the benefits of raising goats and chickens, growing a garden, horticulture, beekeeping, making your own soap and natural cleaning products including bath and body items, sharing hearth and home activities and explaining land stewardship.
    Glad I found others that care about things I think are vitally important to future generations. Keep up the good work.

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