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.

  1. Buy fresh, local food this summer at Lake County farmers markets, including the Grayslake Farmers Market.
  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 and thrift stores such as Tri-County Thrift Shop, Hainesville Thrift Store and Goodwill.
  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 Natural Environments or one of the other landscapers in the Grayslake Patch directory. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
  6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Check SWALCO for upcoming hazardous waste collection dates.
  7. Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. Here are some CSAs that deliver locally, such as Sandhill Family Farms and Prairie Crossing Learning Farm. An option for winter is Door to Door Organics.
  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.
  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. Join a restoration workday at the Lake County Forest Preserves or volunteer with Citizens for Conservation
  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.
  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. Target has an assortment of kid-pleasing water bottles.
  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 Grayslake Area Public Library and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools. 
  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 Home Depot.
  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. Make an appointment with a Sustainability Guru. 
  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.

Check out our topic's page: Local Food and Sustainable Farming

Grayslake Patch Local Editor Angela Sykora contributed to this report.

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.

Amy KS January 05, 2013 at 03:29 PM
There are many great options here. We support many of these organizations and encourage folks to check out the Farmers Markets and CSAs in our communities. Even small steps can be helpful, not only "green" but save dollars over time. For those wishing to buy reusable bags for snacks and sandwiches locally, we sell them at Northerly Outfitters in Grayslake. These, plus our water bottles, are made in the USA. Another note: It is worth doing energy audits and many groups will pass along savings outright to consumers and businesses. Our store is lit up with LEDs and the work was worth it -- less power consumption and lower costs, cool output, and less damage to merchandise. It's a win-win.


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