If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 16 ways to go green in 2013.
1. Buy fresh, local food this summer at the White Lake Farmer Market or Long's Family Orchard.
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.
5. Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Highland Township usually has a Hazardous Waste Day for residents. Other options include:
- Royal Oak Recycling, 10320 Highland Rd - Royal Oak recycling accepts - paper products, plastic (#'s 1 thru 7), cardboard, tin cans, and metal. They also accept computers, (there is a 30¢ per pound charge for monitors) and calculators. Items that are not accepted are glass, batteries, and Styrofoam. Royal Oak Recycling will pay you 2.5¢ per pound (50¢ per 20 pounds and $50 per ton).
- Batteries Plus, 9064 Highland Rd - Batteries Plus recycles all types of batteries accept alkaline and mercury.
- Home Depot, 9078 Highland Rd - Home Depot accepts small Florescent lights and batteries.
- Innovative Recycling and Waste Service, Inc (IRWS), 28265 Beck Road. Suite C-6, Wixom, MI 48393 - IRWS accepts spent solvents; oils and coolants; oil-based paints; aerosol cans; latex paints; fuels; waste based sludge; absobent mats; laboratory chemicals; anti-freeze coolants and reagents; computers and elections; MDI, Polyol Equipement; lamps; mercury devices; batteries; pesticides and more.
7. Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
8. Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels in school lunches.
9. 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. There are usually opportunites for these at the local state parks. Check with Highland Recreation Area or Pontiac Lake Recreation Area.
10. Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
11. 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. Bed, Bath and Beyond has an assortment of kid-pleasing water bottles.
12. Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the either the White Lake or Highland libraries and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools.
13. Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can find bulbs at any of the local hardware stores.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.