If part of your new year's resolution is to live more sustainably, there are countless, easy ways to get started. People often get overwhelmed by the task of decreasing their consumption and waste, but there are a few small changes that can make a big impact. Here are 13 tips for 2013.
1. Ditch single use plastic water bottles. Always bring your own reusable bottle. This is also a great way to stop impulse buys of sodas and other drinks (which will help you with your new year's weight loss goal or commitment to living a healthier life).
2. Put on a sweater, grab a blanket, and turn down the heater.
3. If it's wrapped in plastic, don't buy it. This includes food and other items.
4. Make your own cleaning products to not only save you money, but also detox your home.
5. Drive less. Ride your bike, walk, group trips, use public transportation, carpool, or just don't go.
6. Detox your cosmetic and personal care products. To see what you are using now and what you should change, check out the EWG cosmetics database.
7. Put away the credit card, stay away from the mall, block your favorite online shopping sites. If you don't absolutely need it, don't buy it. If you aren't willing to go cold-turkey, try the list method.
8. Bring your own lunch to work and make dinner at home instead of eating out.
9. Learn to sort your waste properly. Think you know what goes in your recycling bin? Some of your local rules my surprise you. Visit your local provider's webpage for a full list of what can be recycled composted, or put in the landfill.
10. Turn off the lights, TV, stereo, and everything else you are no longer using when you leave the room, not just when you leave the house.
11. Take a shorter shower. Shaving five minutes, or even 3, can make a huge impact on your water consumption and bill.
12. Wash your laundry in cold water. It will get just as clean and save you energy and make your clothes last longer.
13. Slow down. With most things in life, if you take the time to consider your choices and impact you will make a better, more sustainable choice. Don't just rush into what is easy or cheap. Hold yourself accountable and think before you act.