With each January come New Year’s resolutions: a promise to improve, to start healthy habits, or to kick unhealthy ones. Unfortunately, we are often overzealous in our resolutions, and many fall by the wayside all too quickly. Along with personal goals, consider making a resolution to be Greener in 2016 – a simple resolution that is easy to keep! To help you do so, here are 5 small ways you can help the planet this year:
- Use one less paper napkin: During an average year, each American uses approximately 2,200 napkins—around six each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.
- Wash in cold or warm: If all the households in the U.S. switched from hot-hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day. To save even more energy, only launder when you have a full load.
- Use cotton swabs with a paperboard spindle: Some brands of cotton swabs have a paperboard spindle while others are made of plastic. If 10% of U.S. households switched to cotton swabs with a paperboard spindle, the petroleum energy saved each year would be equivalent to over 150,000 gallons of gasoline.
- Give it away: Before you throw something away, consider if someone else could use it. Donate to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things, such as Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org – recycle, reuse!
- Go vegetarian once a week: One less meat-based meal a week helps your diet and the planet. For example, it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also save some trees because for each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest was destroyed.