If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 20 ways to go green in 2013.
- Buy fresh, local food this summer at the Bartow County Farmers Market in front of City Hall, between June and September on Wednesdays and Sundays, from 7 a.m. to noon.
- 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.
- Bring your own bags when you shop for groceries.
- Shop at consignment stores such as local consignment stores, such as Psycho Sisters, and thrift stores, such as US Fashion Thrift Store, Kings Upscale Resale and The Evelyn Ashley Boutique for kids.
- Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started? Ask your local landscaper to help put in the beds. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
- Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Ask Bartow's Solid Waste personnel at the landfill on Allatoona Dam Road where to take it.
- Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. We know of a community garden in nearby Woodstock, and one for Cartersville had been proposed. Tell us in the comments if you know of nearby CSA.
- 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, if possible.
- Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels in school lunches.
- Look for an environmental service project you can do with your children, such as removing trash and non-native plants and planting trees in their place. Keep Bartow Beautiful's Great American Cleanup in Cartersville and Bartow happens in April each year and the annual Great Allatoona Cleanup at the lake is in September.
- 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 that will provide privacy and shade and even years of fresh fruit. Find a certified arborist in your area. Monk Tree Service in nearby Cumming has an on-staff arborist and Atlanta Arbor Care provides arborist services in the Marietta area.
- Dump your bottled water costs. You could save hundreds of dollars by buying snazzy metal water bottles for everyone in the family and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet. Kohl's, Target and Walmart have 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 Cartersville Public Library and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools, such as LifeSong Montessori, and those at churches, including First Presbyterian of Cartersville and Tabernacle Baptist Church.
- Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can find bulbs at Home Depot and Lowe's.
- 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 and parents can take as many items as they donated. The rest goes to charity. You can also swap toys and books.
- Replace your shower heads with low-flow models. Low-flow shower heads can save you up to 15 percent on 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. Cartersville Electric System helps its residential, commercial and industrial customers with energy audits by experts. Georgia Power provides free in-person (45 minutes, for customers only) and online (10 minutes) Energy Checkups.
- 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 walking or babysitting, or a day of organizing support for the clutter challenged.
Tell Us: Do you think you could stick to a green New Year's resolution? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments sections below.
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