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 various farms in town, including Roche Farmstand and Barker's Farmstand.
  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. 
  4. Shop at consignment stores such as Kids Karousel and Jane on a Budget and thrift stores such as North andover Thrift Shop.
  5. Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started?  Contact any of North Andover's many landscapers including Desmond Landscaping and more. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
  6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Chec out the town Web site on how to dispose of hazardous waste.
  7. Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. Smolak Farms has one.
  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 a bike-riding workshop.
  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. Check with the Friends of North Andover Trails.
  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.
  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 Stevens Memorial Library and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools such as Family Cooperative Preschool and Community Cooperative Preschool.
  16. Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can find bulbs at Stop & Shop.
  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 National Grid to get more information on energy 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.

MikeA January 07, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Mark, I want to be clear that Green Up electricity is about 34% more expensive than "normal" electricity. I agree that only the electricity supply portion of your electric bill will go up about 34%. By my calculations, your (Mark's that is) electric bill which includes all kinds of charges and taxes in addition to the energy supply portion went up 16.7%.. I've read a recent report stating that the 2009 "Cash for Clunkers" program was a net negative for the environment. It would not surprise me if wind and solar energy aren't as Green as advertised. With all the tax breaks Big Green is receiving, wind and solar energy is certainly more expensive than advertised. I would consider many other measures before I'd agree to pay 34% more for electricity (or for my electric bill to increase by 16.7%).
Maria Rea February 05, 2013 at 01:10 PM
I think it is time to teach our children about littering and recycling. How about organizing neighborhood clean ups. This is a beautiful town but the roadsides and woodlands are littered with fast food wrappers and beer cans. We need to bring back the Keep America Beautiful campaign.
Michael Quinlan February 05, 2013 at 06:31 PM
After twenty years or so of 'green' fluorescent bulbs being used heavily residentially (due to government fiat), there will be a 'concern' over the large amount of mercury leaching out of landfills. If business rather than government were responsible, the left would riot. Since it's an unintended consequence of another leftist policy, the dissemination of the environmental impact information will be squashed and licenses (or deposits) will be required to purchase light bulbs.
Michael Quinlan February 05, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Let's organize them into environmental youth brigades that can report their parents for not recycling adequately. Maybe a sporty bandana or beret can be issued. A little 'community work' never hurt anyone, 'Arbeit macht frei'.
MikeA February 05, 2013 at 07:21 PM
I think this would be a great time for the US Postal Service to stop Saturday mail delivery.


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