Resolving to go green
If 2016 is like any other of my last 40 new years, chances are I will spend the first six days utterly, obsessively, brainwashingly committed to a resolution and the remaining 359 days telling myself I shouldn’t set such unrealistic goals.
A few days ago I decided I was going to resolve to swear less in 2016. But anyone who’s ever had a conversation with me knows there’s no f***ing way that’s possible. Then I decided I should be more optimistic. But, sigh I know that will never work.
The fact is, we’re only a couple days away from another new year, and I’m still not the better person I resolved to be one year ago. I’m not in better shape, I’m not more organized and I didn’t save any more money. If I would just resolve to fail at my new year’s resolutions, I might actually succeed at one of them.
So this year, I think I’m going to go in a different direction entirely. In 2016, I’m not resolving to do anything to better myself. Rather, I’m going to work at bettering the environment. Despite the fact we’ve already had more powder days in the first few weeks of the ski season than we did all of last year, the fact is, we can all do more to reduce our carbon footprint, combat global warming, help out the polar bears and ensure future ski seasons start out as good as this one has.
Here are some tips from National Geographic, TheDailyGreen.com (and plain-old common sense) on how to be even greener in 2016.
1. Share a magazine subscription with a friend. Not only does this save some money, it also cuts down on the trees and ink used for printing.
2. Along the tree-saving note, do you ever get 100-page catalogs from a store you ordered something from five years ago? You can reduce this unwanted junk mail by visiting catalogchoice.org, or just call the store and ask to be removed from their mailing list.
3. When bringing your lunch to work, use reusable containers instead of plastic and paper bags.
4. Save money and electricity by turning your heat down just one or two degrees. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you’ll save between one and three percent of your heating bill.
5. When buying fruits and veggies at the grocery store, don’t put them in the plastic bags provided. Reusable bags are better for the environment and keep produce crisp.
6. Save energy and wear and tear on your hardware by shutting down your computer at night. You’ll save an average of $90 of electricity a year.
7. Enrolling in online bill-paying options saves paper and it also eliminates the fossil fuel needed to get all those billing envelopes into your mailbox and back. Plus, you’ll save money on stamps.
8. No more idling. Every moment you spend idling your car’s engine means needlessly wasting gas. In fact, idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than is needed to even start your car. Overall, Americans idle away 2.9 billion gallons of gas a year, worth around $78.2 billion.
9. Use both sides of paper. The U.S. alone uses 4 million tons of copy paper annually, which is about 27 pounds per person. Printing on both sides can cut that number down and most software programs offer a two-sided print option.
10. Turn the dial on your washing machine to cold. Most loads don’t need hot water, and 90 percent of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating the water. The higher the water temperature, the higher the cost to you and the planet.
Whatever resolutions you set for 2016, here’s hoping you do a better job than I do at keeping them!
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of a rescued Dalmatian named Stanley.
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