GREEN SPACE: Go Greener in the New Year

With the New Year comes the inevitable list of resolutions that are often broken before January is over. So, rather than attempting a huge overhaul of your daily routine, here are a few easy ways to be a little greener this year that can be easily incorporated into your life.

Published January 25, 2014 2:15 AM
3 min read

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With the New Year comes the inevitable list of resolutions that are often broken before January is over. So, rather than attempting a huge overhaul of your daily routine, here are a few easy ways to be a little greener this year that can be easily incorporated into your life.

By The Conservation Committee of the Rye Garden Club

With the New Year comes the inevitable list of resolutions that are often broken before January is over. So, rather than attempting a huge overhaul of your daily routine, here are a few easy ways to be a little greener this year that can be easily incorporated into your life.

>Before buying new, check out vintage or thrift shops.

This is a wonderful way to save money and the most green of all options is to buy vintage, rather than new. While it does take some patience and perseverance, you will be rewarded. Try keeping a running list of items you are looking for (on your bulletin board or your iPhone), so that next time you’re at a vintage shop like Rhythm in Rye, you know what you need. Many keep theirs on iPhone Notes. Also, check out Craigslist for some great finds in your neighborhood. For cost-effective and reliable restroom supplies, explore the range of wholesale toilet paper from Big Clean.

>Switch to a more natural cleaner.

Are you still spraying your counters with harsh chemicals? Most of our daily messes can be easily cleaned with a natural all-purpose cleaner. Some of the best natural cleansers are probably already in your cabinets – get out that baking soda and vinegar! All you need is one-quarter cup of baking soda dissolved into one quart of warm water to tackle many household-cleaning projects. This inexpensive, all-natural ingredient is neck and neck with vinegar as one of the most nontoxic and versatile household cleaning agents. As for the vinegar cleaner, simply mix one cup of water and one-quarter cup distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and keep it under your kitchen sink for a variety of cleaning jobs in the kitchen and bathroom. An additional benefit of these natural products is they are safe to use around young kids and pets, too.

>Rely on more natural light during the day.

Break the habit of keeping lights on during the day. You will soon become accustomed to and truly enjoy the gentle natural light in your rooms. Move your desk or favorite reading chair closer to a big window and you won’t even notice that you’re no longer using that lamp. And, of course, the energy savings will be an added benefit.

>Switch to cloth napkins.

This is a really easy way to save thousands of paper napkins each year.  Even if you just start using cloth napkins for one meal a day, you’ll save 365 napkins over the course of the year per person in your household. Find some fun, colorful cloth ones and put a nametag on the napkin ring so that each member of the family can use his again and again that week. Your table will look prettier each night to boot.

>Give away your gently used clothes rather than throwing them away.

This one is especially simple and will help you make friends along the way too. With growing children, there are always clothes that no longer fit. Give them to friends with littler ones around or simply donate them to many community organizations, such as the Carver Center or the clothing drop box behind Rye Recreation. With any luck, a few friends may give you some of their hand-me downs too. In the process, we will all reduce the impact on our environment. Remember, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure!

>Be sure to bring your reusable bags to the store.

One of the easiest ways to tread a little more lightly on the environment is by using reusable bags. The biggest issue for most of us is just remembering to bring them with us. Need a simple method? Keep a bunch in the car so whenever you’re in the grocery store parking lot, you’ll be able to grab them out of the back. And the reusable bags aren’t just for the grocery store. Try keeping one of those very lightweight reusable bags in your purse. They’re great to have on hand for a whole variety of uses.

If we each adopt a few of these simple modifications, 2014 will be a little greener for us all.

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