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Green up your New Year’s resolutions

By Cecilia Cho

This New Year, kick your resolutions up a notch by adding a green twist to eating healthier, losing weight, saving money and creating a healthy home.

For many of us, the same resolutions appear on our list each January. In 2016, there are many more options to make resolutions good for us and for Mother Earth. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Choose the outdoors as your gym

Getting a gym membership is easy, but choosing to walk, run or bike outdoors is even easier – and it is free. There are many parks in the Kansas City metro area. Find one near you or discover a new park in Kansas and Missouri.

The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department also offers an affordable all-access pass to its community centers.

2. Eat healthier foods that are local and organic

If losing weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions, make it even healthier with organic options from local farmers. Not only are you supporting local businesses, but also pounds will start to shed as you choose meals that start with fresh food. Find a list of local farmers and markets at Kansas City Food Circle.

3. Cut fossil fuels out of your investments

The start of a new year is a perfect time to review investment and savings strategies. With more scientific facts pointing to the environmental damage of fossil fuels, it’s time to make sure your investments reflect your values. Check with your investment advisor, or seek an advisor that specializes in socially and environmentally responsible funds. For more information, contact Jim Horlacher at First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC.

4. Save money with a home-energy audit

Saving money is always on the to-do list. But sometimes the savings can be right under our noses. Getting a home energy audit will show you where your house is leaking energy and provide recommendations for the improvements with the biggest paybacks. Check Metropolitan Energy Center for a list of certified auditors and contractors.

5. Detox your home with earth-friendly household cleaners

Making it a priority to get your home spic and span is always a great resolution, but harmful chemicals found in popular household cleaners are not only bad for the environment, but can be harmful for those exposed them.

Homemade cleaners are some of the best and cheapest options for green cleaning. For example: Salt can be used to clean dirty ovens and is also a natural abrasive for removing fresh carpet stains like coffee, ink or red wine. Lemon juice can be used as a way to bleach items and is most effective while working with the sun. Baking soda is a multipurpose cleaner that is the best option to replace powdered cleaners for tubs and sinks.

If you don’t want to make your own cleaners, look for non-toxic options likely Faultless Starch’s locally produced Bon-Ami, a non-abrasive powder cleanser, and a series of cleaning products from local-owned, Epic Cleaning Products. Epic Cleaning donates 100-percent of its profits from its Whole Foods profits to the local environmental group, Bridging the Gap.

6. Avoid “fast fashion”

Shopping for new clothes just seems to come naturally for some, especially when chain stores constantly offer cheap clothes that are comfortable and stylish, aka: fast fashion. The process of making these clothes is extremely harmful to the environment. According to Small Footprint Family, “Cheap fashion also supports the petroleum-based, highly toxic synthetic fabric and dye industry, and uses tons of fossil fuels during farming, manufacturing and shipping.”

If you want to update your wardrobe, purchase items that you will not throw out in a few months that are higher in quality and domestically made. Choosing to swap clothes with friends and family or buying items at thrift stores are also great ways to recycle clothes.

7. Use a reusable beverage container

This may seem obvious, but choosing a reusable beverage container is one of the easiest ways to reduce waste. Some coffee shops, like Starbucks, will offer discounts to those who bring in their own coffee mug.

8. Reduce water usage

Save money on your water bill and help conserve water by reducing water usage. Turn off faucets while brushing your teeth, take shorter showers or wash fruits and veggies in a bowl instead of running it under the tap. If you have plants, use that water from the washed foods to water your plants. This spring, install a rain barrel or plant a rain garden to collect water for your landscape.

9. Eat less meat

Choosing “meatless Mondays” or going vegetarian for the weekend can reduce one’s carbon footprint and fossil fuel dependence. According to Mother Nature Network, going meatless for the weekend can “decrease your carbon footprint by about one-third of a ton.” When choosing to eat meat, select local, grass fed options for a healthier choice for you and the planet. Local meat providers can be found at Kansas City Food Circle.

10. Get rid of phantom energy

If there are items around the house that do not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet 24/7, pull the plug. Even when electronic items are turned off, devices still use electricity when they are plugged in. So, if you don’t need it, remember to unplug.

Top Image: By Julian – licensed under CC By 2.0

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