It’s a new year and it has so many of us wanting to really develop better habits and choices. Aside from all the usual personal things revolving around our health, you may be considering what more you can do for our planet. You aren’t alone! Lots of people are concerned with how they can make the world a better place, and how they can “Go Green” in 2019.

“Going Green” has been a slogan for a while now, so much so you may have even forgotten its true meaning. Going Green was a slogan created to remind people to recycle. But more than that, reduce, reuse and recycle. With the new recycling laws in effect many people are doing a better job at making sure they recycle certain materials. Public places are also offering more options for us to do the same as well with bins for plastics, glass, compost and more. Although the recycling part is taking off, our efforts at reducing and reusing might be slacking.

Reducing is probably the easier concept when it comes to recycling but as Americans its one we struggle with. Instead of reducing what we use, we use the excuse of “recycling” as a means for us to use more and more items such as: single-use plastic water bottles, single-use coffee pods, plastic shopping bags, straws and more. There are so many items that we just get in the habit of thinking that if we recycle them, it’s ok! But these items still have a long road of being stored, etc. before any recycling can happen.  Here are some really simple and easy tips for reducing this year:

  • Say no to anything single use!
  • Use refillable/reusable water bottles, coffee cups and drinkware. Always ask for “no straw.”
  • Skip the ease of paper/Styrofoam plates. (You’ll save money too! Just wash your own and store, and reuse.)
  • Bring your bags – everywhere! Not just the grocery store, bring your own bags to any store you make purchases at or simply request, “no bag.”
  • Skip the produce bags, or bring your own to the grocery store.
  • Use cloth towels and napkins.
  • Other ways to reduce your carbon footprint: Travel less or carpool. Unplug unused items. Buy less clothing. Eat less meat/animal products. Line dry clothes and hand dry dishes.

These are just a few simple ways to reduce this year.

Reusing is another way to go green in 2019. There are so many things we just use once and toss away to a landfill or “recycling” box when we could really reuse them. One fantastic way to do this is to buy quality items and maintain and repair as needed. Look for items that are multipurpose and turn down those that can’t be reused. A few fast reuse tips:

  • Buy reusable, refillable and rechargeable items like batteries, razors, coffee pods and more.
  • Reuse bags! Line wastepaper baskets with them. Bring back and use at the store. Protect items while packing and storing.
  • Reuse containers! Even cracked storage bins can be used for neat things like growing potatoes. Reuse take out containers to store small items like nails and screws. Reuse jars to keep yourself organized or even plant some green things!
  • Reuse clothes. Give them away for someone to use or see if you can fix up the ones you have. Many barely worn clothes take up a lot of room in the landfill. Even better, host a swap party and have everyone bring a couple items to swap. You’ll leave with new stuff and feel good about less waste.
  • Reuse office products. Use both sides of paper before sending off to recycling. Save paperclips and clamps to use again. Keep large envelopes to store documents.
  • Eat your leftovers or share them. Think twice before throwing away perfectly good food. Could you get another meal or snack out of it? Would someone else enjoy it?
  • Refill your mechanical pencils and pens.

Going green may have you thinking you will end up a hoarder of used and unwanted items, but that’s not it. It’s about practical ways of contributing to a healthier world. Most of us can already think of at least one thing we can do to reduce or reuse some basic items in our lives. Start with one small thing and once that becomes a natural habit, add another. Before you know it you may not only be helping to save the planet, but also save some extra cash in your wallet too. Going green is also a positive way to feel instant gratification that we are all doing our own small part. Join us! Go Green in 2019!