20 Ways to Go Green in 2013

If your New Year's resolution is to live a greener lifestyle, check out these 20 tips to help you stick to your plan.

If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 20 ways to go green in 2013.

  1. Buy fresh, local food this summer at the Mass Horticultural Society's Farmers Market. For more information, contact at wellesleyfarmersmarket@masshort.org. 
  2. Have your kids make their friends birthday cards and bring gifts in decorated paper bags or a cool reusable bag. Kids love getting a handmade card—as do adults.
  3. Bring your own bags when you shop for groceries. You can often buy reusable bags at the stores you buy groceries. 
  4. Shop at consignment stores such as Second Time Around, and thrift shop run at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.
  5. Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started? The folks at the Mass Horticultural Society will have more information. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
  6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Head to the Recycling and Disposal Facility and see their webpage for more information.
  7. Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. Land's Sake farm and the Needham Family Farm have CSA programs.
  8. Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
  9. Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot. Rusty on two wheels? Take a workshop at Landry's in Natick at International Bicycle West in Newton.
  10. Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels in school lunches.
  11. Look for an environmental service project you can do with your children, such as removing trash and non-native plants and planting trees in their place. 
  12. Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
  13. Plant a tree. A certified arborist can help you select and plant trees that will provide privacy and shade and even years of fresh fruit. Find a certified arborist in your area. The Mass. Arborists Association has a list of certified arborists in the area.
  14. Dump your bottled water costs. You could save hundreds of dollars by buying snazzy metal water bottles for everyone in the family and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet.
  15. Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the Wellesley Free Library, and use the Patch Events calendar to publicize it.
  16. Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can likely find bulbs at Wellesley Hardware or your preferred hardware store.
  17. Expand your hand-me-down circle. Organize a clothing swap for your kids’ preschool or a group of friends. Everyone brings gently used and clean kids’ clothes to your garage and parents can take as many items as they donated. The rest goes to charity. You can also swap toys and books.
  18. Replace your showerheads with low-flow models. Low-flow showerheads can save you up to 15 percent on water heating costs and reduce your water usage by as much as 20,000 gallons a year.
  19. Save up to 30 percent on your monthly heating bills by having a home energy audit done by a professional. Contact the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant for information on local audits.
  20. Give service and experience gifts this year instead of stuff. Make homemade gift certificates for services and experiences that could include tech support, dinner and a movie, yard work, pet walking or babysitting, or a day of organizing support for the clutter challenged.

TELL US: Do you think you could stick to a green New Year's resolution? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments sections below.

Carolyn Edsell-Vetter February 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Thanks for posting on this important issue! Some other ways we've tried to go green recently include upgrading our vehicles (biofuel trucks, fuel efficient/hybrid cars); finding a recycling center that accepts used plastic plant pots (we go through a ton!); and installing low-voltage LED landscape lighting whenever possible so our clients can enjoy their outdoor spaces into the evening without wasting energy. Also, we encourage consumers to make sure their landscapers are accredited by NOFA and follow all of their standards for organic and sustainable landcare.
Karla Vallance February 25, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Carolyn, thanks. Think of posting or blogging on Patch about sustainable landscape care/gardening. That's not a topic I've read a lot about.
Robert February 27, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Beware of Electric rechargable cars. They require electricity to...well...go. The majority of US power plants run on coal. So cars like the Chevy Volt ,that Obama wants us to buy from government bailed out GM, are actually coal buring vehicles. Which seems wierd our Pres is telling us to buy Chevy Volts as he is waging an all out war on the coal industry.


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