What's Your Green Resolution?

Save money and live healthier by taking action. One to three (or more) changes per household can make a great difference in decreasing energy consumption, eliminating or minimizing toxins, reducing waste, and offsetting your carbon footprint.

Wise Bread bloggers share green resolutions for the upcoming year, beginning on October 15, 2007: Blog Action Day. Tell us what actions you intend to take to improve the environment. Be creative, and list resources for accomplishing your goals if you'd like. Share your resolutions in the comments and be entered in a random drawing to win a $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com.

This drawing is over. Congrats to E.C. for winning the drawing. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Julie Rains

I want to (and plan to) do more but I'm listing what I know I can accomplish in the next year:

  1. Install a programmable thermostat.
  2. Plant a tree.
  3. Research hybrid cars big enough to carry camping equipment and bicycles but with better gas mileage than my Corolla.


Will Chen

  1. Get at least 3 friends to switch from bottled water to Pur Water purifiers.
  2. For the next Father's Day, change all the lights in my parents' house from regular bulbs to CFC bulbs.
  3. Unplug all my electronic gadgets before I go to sleep every night. "The Department of Energy estimates that in the average home, 40 percent of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Add that all up, and it equals the annual output of 17 power plants, the government says." NY Times.


Justin Ryan

  1. Replace my 10-year old Camry with a smaller and more fuel efficient option.
  2. Find a place to recycle the baskets of glass and plastic bottles I have in the trunk.
  3. Ride the bike more often, once I'm actually within 10 miles of anywhere I want to go.


Linsey Knerl

  1. Take a trash bag with us when I take my kids for a stroll. Have them pick up any garbage we see and remind them of proper stewardship of the world around us.
  2. Continue using the clothes line for most of our laundry when it is above freezing temps.
  3. Commit to making one trip to town a week to cut back on gas usage and wasted time!


Sarah Winfrey

  1. Ride my bike to work.
  2. Wean myself off paper towels.
  3. Find a way to recycle normal household items that are not bottles and cans (it's pretty hard to do in an apartment in my neighborhood!)


Andrea Dickson

  1. Stop using toxic chemicals on my body, such as fingernail polish and polish remover.
  2. Start taking the bus to work - sure, it's going to take a lot longer than driving, but it's better than dealing with the blood pressure issues caused by the morning commute.
  3. No more take-out styrofoam containers - either I bring my own Tupperware to take it home, or I eat it in the restaurant.


Nora Dunn

  1. Switch to linen napkins as an alternative to paper napkins.
  2. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and stop using plastic bags altogether.
  3. Move to Hawaii, where I'll live an environmentally sustainable lifestyle! :-)


Jessica Okon

  1. Be more diligent about recycling things other than cans and newspapers.
  2. Switch to more earth-friendly cleaning products.
  3. Giveaway before I attempt to throwaway.


Ed O'Reilly

  1. Replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs
  2. Be very aware of water usage
  3. Completely eliminate the use of household cleaners and use alternatives


  1. Places where you can recycle batteries, electronic parts, plastics, and more at Earth 911-Recycling
  2. How to dispose of CFC/CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) from EnergyStar FAQs on CFLs
  3. Reducing your carbon footprint
  4. Wise Bread's Green Living section
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Will Chen's picture

Will be, of course, an electornic one sent over email.  No trees were harmed during this contest. 

Guest's picture

1) I started line drying my clothes. This is a HUGE savings to my gas bill. Plus my clothes dry less wrinkled. It's like a zen exercise in simplicity when line drying my clothes.

2) I've added a water heater blanket to the water heater. Unfortunately my house building codes can't support an on-demand water heater or solar water heater so I have to settle for the next best thing.

3) I stopped commuting. I talked my company to letting me telecommute. I saved over 12,000 miles of commuting and regained 15 hours a week for not being stuck in 1.5 hours of traffic each way. My company benefits by gaining more billable hours.

I estimated I slashed my carbon footprint by 75%.

Guest's picture

1. On every trip to the grocery store, take NO new bags. Either bring cloth tote bags or re-use plastic ones we already have.

2. Add layers (sweater, blanket) before turning up thermostat.

3. Use recycled water on plants, instead of filling a new pitcher.

Guest's picture

1) Start recycling all recyclable items in my house
2) Stop using paper products
3) Carpool to work with my husband
4) Stop shopping at Wal-Mart and be a more socially and environmentally conscious shopper.

Guest's picture

I just found out last night that you can take your batteries to a Batteries Plus store for recycling, if you have one nearby.

I wasn't able to find any resources on recycling batteries where I live, but we have a Batteries Plus in town and I checked their website and they do claim to recycle batteries.

Guest's picture

I've been diluting all kinds of liquids without any problems--shampoo, conditioner, cleansers, liquid soap, etc.--it makes everything last so much longer so you'll need to buy less.
More cloth bags--I'm getting pretty good at remembering.
No water bottles!
I'm not turning on the heat until we reach freezing temps!

Guest's picture

To remove as many paper products and chemicals from my home as possible. So far we've been 2 months without paper-towels, and it's EASY. And I've convinced my father to do the same thing :)

Guest's picture

I'm still working on putting my resolutions from January into effect. So far I'm succeeding wildly on 1 and 2. It turns out #3 is actually the hardest for me.

1. Take mass transit to work. (Work is 42 miles away, so this is not trivial)

2. Contribute regularly to Environmentally minded charities (this is part of a larger resolution to donate monthly)

3. Recycling is good, but reuse is better. See what can be done to reuse grocery bags before recycling them. Use canvas or other non-disposable bags when at all possible.

Guest's picture

The kids and wife are teasing me because I am constantly taking things out of the trash and putting them in the recycle bin.

Hold off as long as possible on turning on the heat.

Replace the windows and insulate the house better for our Maine climate.

Guest's picture

I will keep a bucket next to my shower to catch the water wasted while it heats up. After it sets out overnight & the chlorine has dissipated, I will use that water in my fish tanks!

And I'll use the fish tank water to water my plants!

Guest's picture

1. Just bought a reusable plastic water bottle and a Brita water filter so I won't be tempted to buy bottled water any more.

2. I'm going to try really hard to remember to bring my canvas totes to the grocery store with me or at least keep the plastic bags in the car to reuse them.

3. Every time a light bulb burns out, change it with a CFL.

Guest's picture


Everyone can make a difference! If you are passionate about stopping global warming and the environment you should check out this website http://www.nvisioncfl.com . Changing to CFLs is a great way for individual people to really make a difference! You should also check out this site http://www.youtube.com/user/helpourworld for more ideas on how to help our world!

Guest's picture

My boyfriend and I have started carrying cloth bags with us to the store. A few months ago, I noticed we had a GIANT bag filled with those god-awful plastic bags. I refuse to throw them away because I just feel wasteful and not eco-friendly. So, we're reusing the plastic bags we have and NOT acquiring any more!! because of this, it's really gotten me into reusing (I have SERIOUS issues with recycling) and so i buy milk in glass reusable bottles now. Both of the above mentioned items also saves me pennies each shopping trip, but pennies add up. Like I said, I have issues with recycling. I don't do it. Except, for aluminum which is a worthwhile recycling effort, which is why again, you get money back for it. I reuse plastic and paper anyway. I reuse plastic bottles and containers for drinks and food. And, I shred used paper and give it to my hamster for bedding. I love to reuse.

Guest's picture

I completely forgot about CFLs! Wonderful invention. Last forever, and use less energy. Brilliant. =)

Guest's picture

Not quite, I'm afraid.
Consider this factual information about CFLs:

and especially this one:


My invention of a quantum dot based light uses only 4 watts to produce the brilliance and colour temperature of an incandescent 100 watt light.
See our web site. www.deak-lam.com they will be out if January of 2008.
50,000 hours and can be dimmed, unlike that of the CFL. No mercury or phosphor. No glass, all plastic and an incentive recycle programme in place. Spread the word, a much better alternative to the incandescent and the CFL and tube type of fluorescent is here. This is 21st Century lighting.

Guest's picture

1) Recycling as much garbage as I can, along with newspapers
2) Installed a Pur faucet water filter and stopped buying bottled water
3) Using canvas grocery bags
4) Swapping out lightbulbs for CFL's as they burn out.
5) Cleaning my bathroom with a vinegar & water solution instead of overpriced harsh chemicals.
6) Reading labels at the store and purchasing more things packaged in recycled materials.

Guest's picture

I've already been doing recycle for years, everything from plastic to batteries; also, I've been using CFLs since they came out years ago when they cost a premium...
Now, I've started to switch all of my bills over to e-bills...since I've overcome the fear of not physically sending out the checks.

Guest's picture

My husband and I went 30 days without buying any plastic. See our blog to find out more about plastic, it's impact on the environment, and ways you can lessen your impact.

Guest's picture

I have been doing the usual green things for quite some time. My latest goals: use reusable bags almost everywhere, avoid toxic chemicals (cleaners, pesticides, etc), eliminate all junk mail, and buy/own less stuff. But most importantly, trying to convince my family and friends to do the same, especially with the oncoming holiday onslaught.

Guest's picture

1) I currently reuse grocery bags as pooper-scoopers. We're moving in 9 months and I hope to have a place with an appropriate storage spot for a real pooper-scooper so I'll never touch plastic bags again.
2) Slowly transition from paper towels to microfiber cloths. Trying to persuade doubtful spouse of the possibility. (Might as well buy some cloth napkins to help with this).
3) Buy thermostat programmer/timer

Guest's picture

At some point in the next ten years, I will build and live in a strawbale or cob house. I'm obsessed, and they are a fantastic way to use the natural materials around you to create an beautiful, affordable, energy-efficient home!

Guest's picture

1) No more plastic grocery bags! They suck in so many ways.
2) Green-minded holiday gifts!
3) CFLs everywhere! (perhaps I could combine 2 & 3...)

Guest's picture

Using water purifier/filter like PUR or Brita can save a lot more money than buying bottle water every month/week.
Also, bring ink cartridges, plastic bags and batteries to stores like (IKEA, Best Buy, Target, local grocery stores, etc...) for recycle (each store offer different program, just ask.)
Finally, some cities around the country do offer FREE CFLs! just ask your local city council, for example, the city that I live in offer 2 free CFLs per household, all you have to do is ask. (CFLs can save a lot of money, I was shocked by how much lower my electric bill was when I changed all the light bulbs to CFLs.)
to save even more electricity, don't use the central heater...it's okay to wear sweater at home, or, just buy those smaller heater.

Guest's picture

As a graphic designer, I know that my work contributes quite a bit of environmental damage, even though I already use CLFs in the studio, re-use shopping bags, and bind my used paper into notepads for reuse. For many things, paper is still the best medium for the message. So, I resolve to:

• When designing for print, design smaller sizes to use less paper
• Only print with recycled/post-consumer waste stock from now on
• Soy or vegetable-based inks whenever I can get it
• Flatly refuse free varnish/UV coating offers from the printer, since they make paper less recyclable
• Reuse before I recycle to get the most out of the materials I go through
• Get other designers onboard with printing green

Guest's picture

We put CFL bulbs in every fixture, including our rental unit, and got a programmable thermostat. Next is a water filter, to keep from using so many plastic bottles.

Guest's picture

1. Keep preparing natural products like Hair-gel, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent.
2. Clean with baking soda and vinegar instead of nasty chemical detergents.
3. No more paper products.
4. Reuse containers and buy in bulk.
5. Start a compost.
6. Not buy any prepackaged foods.
7. Keep thinking of ideas (and put them into practice) that would be both economical and eco-friendly!

Guest's picture

1. Reduce water use by collecting rain water and planting only native drought-tolerant plants.

2. Replace packaged foods by buying from the bulk bins using a reusable container from home.

3. Buy second-hand whenever possible.

4. Ride my bike for errands around town . . . and get rid of my car altogether within a year.

Guest's picture
Christy N

We've already made the incandescent-to-fluorescent switch and use the curbside recycling program in our city. My resolutions for next year:

1) Take reusable bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags (I've tried it this year, but I keep forgetting the bags.....)
2) Switch to using 100% recycled materials for our paper goods (paper towels, printer paper, etc.) and use less paper in general.
3) Stop using toxic chemicals for household cleaning and start using eco-friendly solutions.

I own a business that sells fair trade and local products (shopghia.com), and I am looking at greener ways to do business, too. My thoughts:
1) Use a bike instead of a car for local deliveries.
2) Provide more organic and recycled products to my customers.
3) Use recycled materials for my business cards and stationery.

Guest's picture

I am working with a coalition to make sure Congress sends the president a strong energy bill with meaningful changes for our environment and planet. This legislation would be a monumental step toward stopping global warming.

Go to www.energybill2007.org.
and sign the petition. This is our chance for real progress, don't let Congress back down!

Guest's picture

I'm going to quit buying crap.

Guest's picture

Reading through these lists, I realized that as my family has become more committed to handling our money responsibly, we have also become more green.

1. WE DID build a rain barrel (a free neighborhood association event) that we use to gather water for our outdoor pond, vegetable garden, and indoor fish tank. WE WILL use that water for indoor plants and see if we can’t use it to flush the toilet as well
2. WE DID install a programmable thermostat this summer – we couldn’t figure out how to use it, which really cut down on our use of air conditioning ☺
3. WE DID just replace all our light bulbs with CFC bulbs, for which we got a rebate from our local energy company that made the $4.95 bulb 79 cents!
4. WE DID just put our electronic equipment on power strips so we can turn them all off at once every evening. I WILL unplug power strips in the evening.
5. WE WILL become a one-car family, using carpools and busing. We donated one old car to charity – one more to go. WE DID buy a scooter, which my husband uses to get to work when it’s above freezing. It gets 90 miles per gallon!
6. WE WILL stop using paper towels.
7. WE DID stop buying lunch at work, saving money and a massive amount of paper waste. I WILL start bringing silverware from home and stop using plastic silverware from work.
8. WE DID pick up some free reusable grocery bags at our state fair and we’ve been using them about half the time. WE WILL find a way to remember them every time we go shopping.
9. WE WILL find more ways to walk to our errands rather than drive a car. Two weeks ago we walked to the grocery store with our reusable bags and two of our kids. We had a great conversation along the way about what we are doing to be more financially and ecologically responsible. We asked for their ideas as well.
10. WE WILL sign up for a CSA (community support agriculture) share next summer as a way to eat local and minimize the gas used to transport food long distances.
11. WE DID bring paper home from work that had been printed on one side so we could use the other side for printing.
12. WE DID spend much of the year decluttering. We posted items online on Freecycle and were able to recycle ceiling tiles, old wood paneling, old bicycles!
13. WE DID start this month sending cease and desist notices to vendors who send us catalogs. We’ll check online if we need something.
14. WE DID save a couple of plastic drinking bottles. We buy the large container of V8 juice and pour a day’s drink into the smaller plastic bottle to bring to work.
15. WE DO wash and reuse plastic sandwich bags, but WE WILL start using more durable plastic containers and try to live without the baggies altogether.
16. WE WILL look for ways to avoid using the clothes dryer.
17. WE WILL look into e-bills to see if we can do it without losing track of bills!
18. WE WILL sew some decorative bags that we can use and reuse, instead of wrapping paper, for the holidays; better yet, we will look for ways to give non-tangible gifts.
19. With the money we are saving with tips from Wise Bread and other sources, WE WILL make progress on our 10-year plan to make our house more energy independent with solar or geothermal.

Guest's picture

Start cooking more and buy less pre-packaged goods, after all potato skin and such will degrade completely versus cardboard/plastic wrapping. This will also save me a trip to the garbage container, it smells there just an FYI.

Guest's picture

I will stop using disposable baggies and bring my lunch in reusable containers. I will also buy cfl bulbs for my parents & aunt.

Guest's picture

Start cooking more and buy less prepackaged goods, after all potato skin will degrade completely versus cardboard/plastic wrapping. This will also save me a trip to the garbage container, it smells there just an FYI.

Guest's picture

1. Replace the rest of the bulbs with CFL's
2. Find where to recycle beer cans
3. Continue collecting AA batteries to recycle and look into rechargables for my camera
4. Use natural cleaners in several areas
5. Walk to work (2 miles) when the temp is above 50 degrees and there isn't inclimate weather, unfortunately, I live in Ohio, which lessens this opportunity
6. Hang even more of my clothes to dry than I already do
7. Winterize the windows with a kit
8. Research joining a CSA
9. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and walk when the weather cooperates
10. Buy used when possible

Guest's picture

1. I'll use a mug from home instead of the syrofoam cups provided for coffee at work. (saves 3 X 5 X 50 = 750 cups per year!)

2. I'll drink my coffee black.

3. I'll take shorter showers.

4. I'll only wash laundry when it's dirty, I can get at least 2 days out of a pair of jeans before they are dirty.

5. I'll repair my car rather then trading for a new one.

Guest's picture

These are things I have done recently to help the environment:
1. Our office's garbage collector does not recycle. So, I volunteered to handle the recycling in our office. I have a tub at the office that I take home with me every other day and sort and then take to my local recycling center. We recycle everything from water bottles and soda cans to frozen dinner trays and boxes.

2. I traded my SUV in for a compact that gets 35 miles to the gallon.

3. I hang all of my laundry out to dry.

My resolutions are to:
1. Stop using plastic bags at the gocery store and take my own cloth bags or boxes.

2. Carpool to work.

3. Stop using styrofoam.

Guest's picture

I have started to become more vocal with my green-ness and thankfully people are beginning to take notice. We have started a "green campaign" at my church. Even though we are starting small, for example printing on both sides of a page and recycling, I have high hopes for the future.

Personally, I am going to become more diligent about my actions. I am pretty good about bringing my own canvas bags when I go grocery shopping, but I am going to start taking them when I go to other stores as well.
My boyfriend and I have also stopped buying coffee and we now make it at home. We also carry around our reusable thermoses just in case.

Guest's picture

I use cloth napkins instead of paper. They look nice, feel great and are recyclable. I bought a whole bunch of pretty green and white ones at the local discount store, and even take them to work for an elegant touch.

Guest's picture

Things we are working on to save money but also help the environment. I want to be a good steward!

1. Switch all light bulbs to CFL's.
2. Reuse paper/plastic bags and get cloth bags for all shopping.
3. Turn off lights when we are not in the room.
4. Continue to use cloth diapers.
5. Hang my laundry to dry when possible.
6. Limit trips into town to 1-2 times a week for errands, groceries, etc.
7. No more chemical cleaners in my house! All eco-friendly!
8. All bills and charity gifts are given online to eliminate extra use of paper, envelopes, stamps, etc.
9. We already reuse all plastic zip-block bags. Look into buying small reusable containers instead.

Guest's picture

I'm doing my best to cut down on my meat consumption. I don't think I'll ever give it up entirely, but if I eat it once a week or less instead of nearly everyday as I did when I lived at home, that should have a serious impact on the amount of energy required to produce my food.

Guest's picture

My husband and I are working on our home to not just make it more energy-efficient, but also energy self-sufficient. Some of the technologies are mainstream (wind, solar) and others are rather experimental. My goal is to have the house generating enough electricity through completely renewable and environmentally responsible means that it actually puts power into the grid at least 80% of the time.

Guest's picture

well I am late in the day but mine are here http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2008/01/green-new-year-resolutio...

trying to cut out palm oil and campaign against biofuels are my big ones

Guest's picture

The comments in this list helped me to write my own blog for today on Resolutions for a Sustainable 2009.