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Environmental Services

Posted on: December 31, 2019

New Year’s Eco-Friendly Resolutions for Sustainability

hand writing the word sustainability on a chalkboard and creating a 3 part Venn diagram to show that

A recent survey shows 77% of people want to learn how to live more sustainably (Forbes). Here are 15 easy easy ways you can help make a big difference in the world, and maybe even save you some money, too.

  1. Stop Buying Bottled Water. Globally, humans buy one million plastic bottles of water per minute, and only 30% are recycled in the U.S. (National Geographic). Tap water is cheaper and, unlike bottled water, is regulated by the EPA. Drink from the tap and carry a reusable bottle.reusable water bottles
  2. Bring Your Own Shopping Bags. In the United States we use over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps per year, requiring 12 million barrels of oil to create them (EPA). Plastic bags are notorious tanglers at recycling facilities, so if you do use them, recycle at the retail store where you got them, not in your curbside recycling.woman shopping with a reusable shopping bag
  3. Follow a Recycling Recipe. According to the Carton Council of North America, 94 percent of consumers are supportive of recycling. Join the bandwagon and follow this simple recipe. Use 5 key ingredients - metal cans, cardboard/boxes, paper, glass, and recyclable plastics in your curbside recycling cart for best recycling results.recycle recipe that lists metal cans, cardboard, paper, glass and some plastics as the ingredients t
  4. Recycle Properly. Recycling conserves natural resources, uses less energy than that required for producing new products from raw materials and reduces pollution caused by waste. Not sure how or what to recycle? Visit the Can I Recycle It? search tool to learn more.can I recycle it-435x450
  5.  Go Paperless. Choose the email option when available on receipts. Thermal receipts contain chemicals that are known to be hazardous to health and are a waste of paper. Go paperless with your bills and unsubscribe from junk mail.computer keyboard with a key that says go paperless

  6. Compost at Home.  Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Mulch your leaves and grass clippings instead of bagging to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers (EPA). If you can’t compost, reuse as much as possible. Make soup out of leftover veggies and broth from a chicken carcass.composting vegetable peels and egg shells

  7.  Cut Back on Paper Towels. Invest in reusable towels and cloth napkins. Drop them into the wash to be reused again and again. Use rags made from old clothes for the nasty jobs and limit the number of paper towels you use daily.basket filled with reusable kitchen towels and cleaning rags

  8. Pack a Sustainable Lunch. Ditch the idea of “kid foods” that often encourage less healthy eating and pack locally grown veggies and fruit. Skip the individually wrapped food and use reusable food containers.  Pack reusable bottles instead of juice boxes and include a washable cloth napkin instead of paper napkins.reusable lunch box packed with rice, meat veggies and a reusable napkin

  9. Think Reusable Containers. Keep a tote bag with a few reusable food containers in your trunk and under your desk at work. Bring your bag of containers with you when you dine, and use the containers for leftovers. Bring your own coffee cup to work instead of using paper or Styrofoam.reusable shopping bag filled with reusable containers

  10. Shop Secondhand. Make the pledge to buy at least some of your new wardrobe vintage or second hand. While you are shopping, donate your still usable clothing items to the resale shop for others to reuse.customer looking through racks of clothes at a resale shop

  11. Declutter Smart. When you clean out the closets to make room for all the new stuff you acquired over the holidays, donate what is still useable and recycle what you can to limit what ends up in the landfill. Take your old electronics to the Hazardous Household Waste events to further protect the environment.computer and phone

  12. Meal Plan.  Avoid readymade foods with extra packaging that often can’t be recycled. Shop at your local farmers market to support your community and reduce fuel waste and emissions from long distance shipping.meal planning schedule with pasta, spices, fruits and vegetables

  13. Plant Native and Adapted Plants. Texas SmartScape advises the use of native and adaptive plants to conserve water, reduce stormwater runoff, prevent water pollution, provide wildlife habitat and to save time and money. Check out the Water & Environmental Class schedule for upcoming Texas SmartScape Classes.WaterEnv_PubEd_logo

  14.  Say No to Polystyrene Foam.  Every year Americans waste enough polystyrene (Styrofoam) that it could circle the Earth 426 times (EPA). Polystyrene foam is a plastic that is not accepted in your curbside recycling cart, even though it often has a recycling symbol printed on the product. Request aluminum foil, or better yet, take your own container instead of a take out box from your favorite restaurant. Buy your eggs packaged in recycled paper cartons. Bring your own coffee cup to work. Take your unwanted packaging pellets/peanuts to a local packing and shipping store for reuse.coffee cup sitting in front of a computer

  15. Kick Litter to the Can.  Most littering doesn’t just happen. Someone had to put it there in the first place. People often choose convenience over finding a trash can and the litter they create winds up in our waterways, polluting the precious water resources that we all depend on to survive. Do what you can to help.  Pick up trash every time you walk the dog or jog in the park. Take a minute to find that trash can, even if it means making an extra effort.group of adults and children picking up litter

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