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20 Ways to Go Green in 2013

If your New Year's resolution was to live a greener lifestyle, check out these 20 tips to help you stick to your plan.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to be kinder to the planet and save some money, here are 20 ways to go green in 2013.

  1. Buy local at the Farmer's Market at the weekly Sarasota Farmers Market
  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 including The Pink Orchard, and thrift stores including Goodwill.
  5. Rip out some lawn and create some new garden beds this spring and grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started?  Contact Plants & Treasures. Your kids will also eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.

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  • Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Contact the Sarasota County Landfill.
  • Buy a share in a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm and support local, sustainable farming and enjoy weekly fresh veggies. Sarasota has one at Gamble Creek Farms.
  • Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
  • Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot. Rusty on two wheels? Take a workshop at the New College Bike Shoppe via Suncoast Community Bikes.
  • Buy some cloth napkins and start packing them in school lunches instead of paper towel.
  • Look for an environmental service project you can do with your children such as removing trash and non-native plants and planting trees. Contact Marie Selby Gardens for tips.
  • Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
  • Plant a tree. A Certified Arborist can help you select and plant trees to provide privacy and shade and even years of fresh fruit.  Find a certified arborist in your area – contact the University Florida ag extension office in Sarasota.
  • Dump your bottled-water costs. Buy snazzy metal water bottles for everyone in the family and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet, and you could save hundreds of dollars. Environeers has an assortment of kid-pleasing water bottles.
  • Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the Selby Library and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools.
  • Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. Find stores with bulbs like Home Depot and Lowes.
  • 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; parents take as many items as they donated. The rest goes to charity. You can also swap toys and books.
  • Replace your showerheads with low-flow models. Low-flow showerheads can save you up to 15 percent of water-heating costs and reduce your water usage by as much as 20,000 gallons a year.
  • Save up to 30 percent on your monthly heating bills by having a home energy audit done by a professional. Contact Florida Power and Light for information.
  • 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 or babysitting or a day of “organizing support” for the clutter challenged.
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    TELL US: Do you think you could stick to a green New Year's resolution? Share your thoughts in the comments sections below.

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