Tips for a Green New Year

This year why not resolve to make a few simple lifestyle changes that could have a huge impact on the earth?

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New Year's Day is fast approaching, and along with it, all those resolutions. This year why not resolve to make a few simple lifestyle changes that could have a huge impact on the earth? To help you get started, here are 10 easy "green" New Year's resolutions:

1. Ditch the plastic. Carry a reusable bag with you for groceries, shopping and take-out food.

2. Tuck in your computer at night. Turn off your screen saver and cut even more energy that your computer uses by putting it in sleep mode when it isn't in use.

3. Clean with green. Clean your home with non-toxic and natural cleaning products. Just about anything can be cleaned with white vinegar, baking soda and a few drops of lemon.

4. Be good to your vehicle, and it will be good to you. Inflate your tires once a month or as necessary. Replace the air filter and tune up your engine regularly. A new air filter can get you 10 percent more miles per gallon, and a tune-up can boost miles per gallon from 4 percent to 40 percent.

5. Think globally, buy locally. Buy locally grown food that's in season. Food that hasn't traveled thousands of miles to your plate is fresher and tastier, and buying local food drastically cuts down on global-warming pollution.

6. Coffee — it's not just for drinking anymore. The next time you brew a cup of fresh coffee at home, don't toss the used coffee grounds into the trash. First, spoon some warm grounds into your hands and mix it with your favorite hand soap, then scrub away. The grounds will exfoliate dead skin and the soap will render your hands squeaky clean. Scatter remaining grounds around your evergreen shrubs and trees — it's an energizing fertilizer for them.

7. Start composting today. A compost pile or composter turns your food and lawn wastes into rich mulch. It's a great way to reduce your trash production, and if you start today, you'll have rich compost in time for spring planting.

8. Don't be a drip. Fix leaky faucets. A faucet that drips once each second can waste over 8 gallons of water per day and more than 3,000 gallons per year.

9. Turn dollars into sense. Save on energy consumption and your electric bill by turning down your thermometer and throwing on your favorite fuzzy pajamas.

10. Ease up on the pedal. Slowing down from 75 to 65 miles per hour will drop your highway gas consumption by about 15 percent.

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