I'm Dreaming of a "Green" New Year



The Alpharetta Natural Resources Commission would like to encourage all Appen readers to include environmentally-conscious goals in their list of New Year's resolutions for 2013. The following are some ideas to help get the ball rolling.

1. Buy Less Bottled Water
• According to the Clean Air Council, up to 41% of the 2.4 million tons of polyethylene terephthalate plastic discarded every year is bottled water bottles. Help cut down on this by buying a reusable water bottle and drinking filtered tap water.

2. Only Use Reusable Shopping Bags
• The Clean Air Council notes that less than one percent of plastic shopping bags are recycled each year. Since Americans use nearly 1 billion shopping bags every year, this creates nearly 300,000 tons of landfill waste. You can help reduce this amount by opting for a reusable bag when shopping.

3. Reduce Paper Waste
• Resolve to subscribe to your favorite magazines and newspapers digitally. Whenever possible, choose to stop receiving bill payments and statements in paper form and instead opt for electronic bill payment. This will save on postage expenses as well.

4. Use Earth Friendly Cleaners
• Detergents and cleaning products heavy with chemicals wind up in our waterways and harm aquatic life. This can also lower the surface tension of the water, which is another threat to marine life. Choose eco-friendly washing and cleaning products which are now readily available at most retailers.

5. Eliminate Phantom Power
• Question: How much time does it take to unplug your cell phone charger, mp3 player, e-reader, or iPad? Answer: Approximately one second! But, if you really can't be bothered, let nifty electronic products do the work for you. Use power strips to turn off multiple appliances at once. Put lights, electronic gaming systems, televisions, DVD players and stereos on a timer so that they are automatically turned off at the same time every night. Invest in chargers that stop drawing current when the device's battery is full. These simple steps could cut your energy bill by as much as 10% each year and all of this without you having to even raise a finger!

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