With the New Year, many Georgians may be resolving to live greener in 2014. The best way to start may be by making a few small changes at time. Here are a few ways that Georgians can start saving money, conserving natural resources and reducing waste without sending their families into green culture shock.
- Take a reusable bag to the store when you grocery shop. Plastics (including plastic bags) make up 8 percent or 14.4 million tons of trash each year.
- Downsize by donating things you no longer use. If you want to give away things you no longer need, donate to a local non-profit or check out a local web-based Freecycle Network. This is a grassroots, nonprofit movement of people who are giving away things they no longer need or want and getting new stuff for free from other people in their community. Local groups are moderated by a volunteer and membership is free.
- Start recycling. To find recycling centers in your community go to Earth911.com.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). According to the EPA, if every home in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with a CFL, enough energy would be saved to light more than 3 million homes for a year.
- Limit your use of paper cups, paper plates and paper napkins. Use washable dinnerware and cloth napkins.
- Select the appropriate load size on the washing machine and follow the detergent’s manufacturer instructions on using the right amount.
- Instead of washing one dish at a time under running water, fill up the sink or a dishpan with soap and water and wash several dishes at once. You could save 5 gallons a day of water.
- Sweep off sidewalks, driveway and porches instead of wasting water by hosing them off.
- Start a compost pile for food scraps, grass and other yard clippings. You will reduce your garbage while improving your garden.
- Replace old appliances and plumbing fixtures with new Energy Star and Water Sense labeled products. Replacing appliances can save you about 30 percent on your utility bills.
For more green tips, go to www.UGAGreenWay.org.