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Still time to make resolutions
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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Here it is just a few days in to the new year. Have you made your resolutions yet?  Are you hesitant to make any because in a matter of weeks you will have failed to keep any of them?  The usual resolutions — lose weight, exercise, quit smoking, eat healthy — are all commendable actions to consider, but unfortunately in everyday life, they are not so easy to put in action long term. However, if you are looking for some resolutions that might stick — and be good for the earth, too — I have a few that might work.  They might even make you healthier and save you a little cash, too.
Here are my fresh ideas for New Year’s resolutions:
1. Consider recycling —  even just one item. Once you do one item, you may realize that it is much easier to incorporate recycling in your life than you think.  
2. Run full loads in your dishwasher and your washing machine. Wipe the food residue off your dishes but don’t pre-rinse before washing them. If you do full loads and don’t pre-rinse, you will save up to 7,300 gallons of water a year.
3. Take a shorter shower. Please get clean, but keep in mind that every two minutes of shower time that you save conserves more than 10 gallons of water. If you are wondering: Showers save much more water than baths, too.
4. Turn off the tap. Don’t let the water run while you are brushing your teeth or shaving. You could save more than 5 gallons of water a day.
5. Dust your light bulbs and change them out when they wear out to compact fluorescents. You will increase light output and increase energy efficiency significantly. Reducing electricity production will also reduce pollution.
6. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is going. An open damper can let 8 percent of your heat escape. In the summer, that means you are losing cool air, too. That can add up to about $100 in energy costs going up the chimney.
7. Close your curtains during the summer when it is sunny and in the winter when it is cold.  You could reduce your energy needs by 25 percent.
8. Clean your dryer vent screen and don’t overload your dryer. This is one I really need to work on.  You’ll save up to 5 percent on your electric bill as well as energy savings.
9. Recycle telephone books. Estimates suggest that telephone books make up almost 10 percent of waste in landfills. That is incredible! Starting next week, we will have several locations for recycling phone books.
10. Wrap your water heater. Get an insulating blanket for your water heater and then set the thermostat no higher than 120 degrees to conserve energy. You could save 25 percent of the energy used in your home.
There are 10 easy resolutions that you can actually keep. If you want even more, check out “The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time” by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen. This New York Times bestseller has loads of ideas for ways to “resolve” to make a difference. Put some of these ideas in practice and maybe you won’t feel so guilty when you get on those scales this year.

Upcoming Keep Liberty Beautiful events:
• Jan. 15-Feb. 15, Telephone book recycling. Several drop-off locations for phone books and large catalogs will be available around the county. For more information, contact Keep Liberty County Beautiful at 368-4888 or .

Sara Ann Swida is the executive director of Keep Liberty County Beautiful. For more information on KLCA programs, contact her at 368-4888 or
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