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'Going Green' Year-End Wrap Up

The best of this year's 'Going Green' tips.

During the course of the year, I've covered many aspects of how you can be more eco-friendly in your daily life. I've talked to you about super simple changes you can make, and I've talked about things that might mean stepping a little outside of your comfort zone. But, I've done it all because I wanted to show you that you can save money, conserve energy, create less waste and reduce the impact that you have on your environment, without having to dramatically overhaul your life. Here are some of our favorite "Going Green" columns from 2012.

Way back in March we talked about donating clothing items that that no longer fit, no longer get worn or were just taking up space. Charitable donations are still one of my favorite tips of the year. It is appropriate year-round. You can lighten your load and help someone else in the process. Purple Heart is just one organization that will come out and pick up all of your unwanted clothing and household items year-round right from your doorstep. You can even go online to schedule a pick-up time.

That same month we tackled gas prices. While gas prices have come down some from when that column was originally published, it's always a good time to talk about how we can save gas and money. Walking, bicycling or taking public transportation were all suggested. And if you you must drive to your destination, perhaps carpooling is an option? All of these will save you precious dollars at the pump, and have a good “green” impact as well. If you’re still struggling to pay high gas prices, the end of the year is a good time to trade in your gas-guzzling car or SUV for a more fuel-efficient model. If this is still not something you can do, keeping up on regularly scheduled maintenance, making sure your oil and fluids are checked and changed regularly, and keeping tires properly inflated are all easy ways to ensure that you are getting the best gas mileage for your money.

As the weather warmed we talked about how to host a green holiday event for Memorial Day. That column lent itself to one of my favorite tips of the year: Using washable plates, cups and cutlery instead of disposables. It's something that I try to do whenever possible, and have been trying to sell others on for years. It’s a little more work, but worth keeping all of those disposables out of the landfill. Too much work? If disposables are a must for a large crowd or celebration, steer clear of styrofoam and look for a brand of paper plates and cups that offer a high post-consumer recycled material level. Hefty, for one, offers completely biodegradable paper plates in a variety of sizes. You can even buy plates and bowls made from materials like sugarcane or corn instead of paper or plastic!

One of the most well-received "Going Green" columns of the year was one that was posted back in October about going green at work. You can read the full article here. I got several email comments and questions with people seeming to enjoy the suggestions we made. One of the biggest hits? Making available reusable water bottles with a company or business logo to employees instead of offering bottled water. 

As we moved through the fall we offered a host of suggestions for an eco-friendly Halloween, including DIY costume ideas

Seven Super Stomach Remedies provided some good old-fashioned, holistic health-care suggestions, and included several super-simple, natural remedies for the belly blues. With the holidays here, and the indulgence of Christmas and New Year's upon us, now might be a good time to pay this "Going Green" column another visit. 

Whether it was getting ready for Back to Cchoolhosting a greener kids' party or gearing up for the holidays, I have enjoyed bringing you all of my ideas for a cleaner and greener home and environment. It is my sincere hope to bring you new ideas and suggesstions in the coming year.

May your holiday be merry and bright, and may you all have a Happy Green Year! 

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