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8 Green New Year Resolutions

Pick just one green New Year resolution this year

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Promises are made to be broken, and we all know how hard it is to keep your New Year resolutions -- by February, it's back to business as usual. These green New Year resolution ideas, however, are easy to keep, and in many cases, they'll even save you money.

1. Try One New Organic Food

organic produce
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It's healthy for you and for the environment, so why not try just one additional organic food this year? More and more types of food, from popcorn and kiwis to potato chips and avocados, are available as organic. You can also keep your New Year resolution to save money by purchasing only these best organic food buys.

2. Line Dry Your Sheets and Towels

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Doing your laundry the green way could hardly be easier -- simply hang a clothesline across the yard and drape your just-washed sheets and towels on it. If that's not an option, try drying smaller items inside on a drying rack. The small effort will also save you money, since dryers consume between 5 and 10 percent of home energy.

3. Try Public Transportation One Day a Month

For folks used to commuting in their own car, it can be tough to give up the convenience it provides. Ease the transition by making a New Year resolution to use public transportation just one day a month. Pick a day when you don't have a bunch of errands to run, and can afford to get home a little later than usual. Remember to pack a book or magazine, and enjoy the ride!

4. Buy Less Crap

This one is easiest of all, since it requires you to do absolutely nothing. Next time you're tempted to shop for some new trinket, or drive all over town looking for a new doohickey, just don't -- instead, just make do with the things you already have. This New Year's resolution will save both time and money, and you'll have less junk to throw away later.

5. Change One Light Bulb

energy efficient light bulbs
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Better to change one light bulb than to curse the electric bill. Newer energy-saving lights like LED and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) save tremendous amounts of energy, even though some people (like me) are disturbed by the mercury content in CFLs. Try finding just one place where an LED light will work well, like a porch light that you leave on for hours, and make the switch.

6. Get One Reusable Bag

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All the world loves a shopper who brings his or her own bags into a store. Doing so can save you money two ways -- many shops offer a small discount for using your own bag, and some chains are now charging for bags. And with many retailers offering smart, stylish reusable bags, you might want to start carrying one even when you're not shopping.

7. New Year's Recycling

Most of us try to recycle at home, but how many people really recycle at the office, or when they're out shopping? If your workplace doesn't have a recycling program, make a New Year's resolution to at least try to start one. And if you're town doesn't have a recycling program, one phone call to the mayor's office is a step in the right direction.

8. Chill Out on Green Guilt

green guilt
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We all have friends who don't recycle, drive a big fat SUV and keep their house 65 degrees all summer, and 85 degrees all winter. Before you blow a green guilt gasket, make a New Year's resolution to take a deep breath and relax. Some folks will take a little longer to come around than others, and the best thing you can do is lead by example. Without saying a word, show your friends how easy and inexpensive sustainable living is, and eventually they'll come around.
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