It is 2015, which means a fresh start for all of us. If you are looking for some realistic New Year’s resolutions that you can really keep, here are my suggestions for habits that will be easy to incorporate into your 2015 lifestyle.
• Resolution 1: “Tree-cycle” your live Christmas tree by Jan. 10. Trees are a renewable resource. When we recycle trees, they can be reused purposefully as mulch or fish habitats. Or homeowners can chop them up for firewood. Through Jan. 10, trees can be turned in at any of the following locations around the county:
• 25 S. Dairy Road in Gum Branch
• 156 Pate Rogers Road in Fleming
• 836 Limerick Road, near Lake George
• 64 Left Field Road (Highway 84 at Miller Park)
• 619 JV Road (west of Hinesville)
• 50 Isle of Wight Road in Midway
• 344 Fort Morris Road, near Sunbury
• 111 Carter Road (behind the old Poole’s Deli)
• 129 Sandy Run Drive
• 941 E.G. Miles Parkway (Highway 196 West at the training center)
• Walthourville public-works site
• 4000 Coastal Highway (Highway 17) in Riceboro
• Fort Stewart PX
Residents in Hinesville can have their undecorated trees picked up by OMI, if they prefer.
On Jan. 10, Keep Liberty Beautiful will have its annual chipping day from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at our chipper mulch site in Hinesville at the Liberty County Health Department, 1113 E. Oglethorpe Highway. Everyone who drops off a tree will receive a tree seedling and Ferry Morse seeds while supplies last. All trees must be free of decorations.
• Resolution 2: Remember to use reusable shopping bags. With approximately 1 million plastic shopping bags being used every minute in the United States, we all need to remember those reusable bags when we shop. Also, if you do use plastic bags, take them back to the store to be recycled on your next shopping trip.
• Resolution 3: Use less water. Did you know that those long, leisurely soaks in a hot bath typically require nearly two times as much water as a shower? Also, every two minutes you can shave off your shower time could save as much as 10 gallons of water.
• Resolution 4: Use less energy. Commit to using less electricity in 2015. When you leave a room, make it a habit to turn off all of the lights. And when you power down your computer at the end of the day, don’t just put it in sleep mode — power it all of the way off. Reduce phantom power. It takes approximately one second to unplug the charger for your cell phone, mp3 player, e-reader or iPad. But if you really can’t be bothered, then let nifty, energy-efficient gadgets do the work for you. Use power strips to turn off all your appliances at once. Put your television, DVD player, game system and stereo on a timer so they automatically shut off overnight, and invest in chargers that stop drawing current when the device’s battery is full. You could cut your energy bill by as much as 10 percent annually — without lifting a finger.
• Resolution 5: Cut down on the paper towels. If you’re always grabbing a paper towel for everything from wiping up spills and cleaning your counters to scrubbing the bathroom and keeping your hands clean at dinner, it’s time to make a simple change. Instead, invest in a few reusable cotton cloths and some fabric napkins. Use them and then drop them in the wash when you run a load of laundry. Using the cloth alternatives is just as easy as using the paper versions and cheaper in the long run — plus you can help eliminate the 3,000 tons of paper towels that end up landfills every day.
• Resolution 6: Get a reusable water bottle, coffee mug and lunch container. It’s time to reduce your paper and plastic waste each day for your coffee breaks, water breaks and even your lunch. According to the Clean Air Council, “26 to 41 percent of the 2.4 million tons of polyethylene terephthalate plastic discarded every year is bottled water bottles.” Help to reduce this number by buying a reusable water bottle. When discarding plastic water bottles, make sure to recycle them properly. After all, single-use water bottles are so yesterday.
• Resolution 7: Change some lightbulbs. Replacing your lightbulbs with LED lights may be the ultimate change for an eco-slacker. Despite all the jokes, it takes only one person to change a lightbulb. And since LEDs last longer than traditional bulbs, you’ll be saving time and money for years to come while cutting your energy use by as much as 80 percent.
• Resolution 8: Start your own garden or take part in a community garden. Whether you grow fruits and vegetables in a raised garden in your backyard or you cultivate herbs in containers on your apartment balcony, these are great ways to support sustainability. If you don’t have the space to spare, start a community garden in your neighborhood.
• Resolution 9: Recycle your stuff. The third “R” in the three “R’s” of environmentalism is recycle. If you don’t recycle on a regular basis, please start. Just start with one item. See how easy it is to make recycling a habit. And if you do recycle, make sure you’re doing it properly.
• Resolution 10: Reduce your stuff. Adopt a “less is more” attitude. The first “R” in the three “R’s” is reduce. Make a concerted effort in 2015 to buy and use only what you need. It is an easier way of life — less stuff to take care of and less stuff to clutter up. Try this simple lifestyle, particularly when it comes to items that are known to pollute our waterways through runoff, such as paint, electronics, household chemicals, etc. When you do buy these items, turn them in each quarter at our Recycle it! Fairs.
Start 2015 by going green with these easy resolutions. Happy New Year!