If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 16 ways to go green in 2013.
1. Buy fresh, local food this summer at the Saline Farmers Market. The market even continues during the winter with the Winter Farmers Market at Liberty School.
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 local consignment and antique stores such as the Pineapple House, Resale Boutique, Nu2U Resale and Reincarnations and thrift stores such as Goodwill.
5. Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
6. Dispose of your hazardous waste properly by dropping it off at the Washtenaw County Home Toxics Collection Center in Ann Arbor.
7. Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
8. Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels in school lunches.
9. 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. There are usually opportunites for these at the local state parks.
10. Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
11. 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. Bed, Bath and Beyond has an assortment of kid-pleasing water bottles.
12. Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the Saline District Library and publicize to local parenting groups and preschools.
13. Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can find bulbs at any of the local hardware stores.
14. 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.
15. Replace your showerheads with low-flow models. Low-flow showerheads 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.
16. 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.