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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 (or winter) at the Wayland Winter and Summer Farmers' Markets.
  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 the Clothing Exchange and CafeLemon Tree Goods in Natick or Second Time Around in Wellesley.
  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 Upham Landscape Company, MacDowell Company, Lynch Landscape in Wayland, or Gardens by the Yard in Wayland. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
  6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Check out details the next Weston Transfer Station Hazrdous Waste Day (PDF flier).
  7. Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. Land's Sake Farm offers CSA shares.
  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 workshop at Bicycle Riding School in Somerville.
  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. The Weston Community Green Team organizes efforts and volunteer opportunities.
  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. Pollack Bros. Tree and Landscape offers the services of certified arborists.
  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 Weston Public Library and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools such as the Weston Community Children's Association.
  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 anywhere in Weston that you normally purchase your lightbulbs.
  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 Nstar for more information.
  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.

Katharina Wilkins February 05, 2013 at 01:45 PM
We did #19 this December through Next Step Living and I would highly, highly recommend it. The wonderful contractors even detected a serious problem in our roof that would have cost us lots of money to fix down the road if we hadn't noticed and fixed it now. The insulation work they did makes a huge difference and it was done timely and reliably, and heavily subsidized, so it was a great deal. As far as our family and goals to go greener: We try to reduce our meat consumption, in particular of beef. The effectiveness of a lot of the above tips pales in comparison to a low-meat or no-meat lifestyle.
Nina February 07, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Thanks for these excellent reminders! On 12, watch out for the new window deals. A historic Weston home would do just as well repairing the old windows and adding good quality storms. Weston Historic Commission has names on their website of recommended contractors who can help you save your beautiful old windows.

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