GREEN PIECE: New Year, new Earth

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First Posted: 1/6/2014

At the beginning of each new year, most people vow to make a change either in their lifestyle or someone else’s. Keeping true to your word seems to be quite the challenge; at least for me it is. Whether you’re trying to lead a healthier life, read more, travel more, or volunteer more, it’s all for the better, but if you make your resolution about helping others, it will probably be a lot harder to break.

If you’re looking to protect the environment this year, there are several things you can do that don’t take much effort at all. For starters, you can stop buying bottled water. Get yourself a filtering pitcher and you can make a dent in the 1.5 million barrels of oil used to make plastic water bottles each year.

Another way is to keep using your reusable shopping bags. Over one million plastic bags end up in the trash every minute, which then end up in our oceans and scattered across the country. Most grocery stores sell their own reusable bags, so pick up a few next time you are out.

It’s rather overwhelming thinking about all of the issues that affect animals in our world these days; the list goes on and on. Make it a point to help our four-legged friends this year by resolving to volunteer more at your local shelter. Most shelters run on volunteers alone, so even donating a few hours a week can make all the difference. If you don’t have time to volunteer, you can donate dog or cat food, blankets, towels, bleach, and cat litter to your shelter.

Some cities make it mandatory to recycle. While the city of Wilkes-Barre is a mandated municipality to recycle, according to the Department of Environmental Protection regulation, there are still parts of the area that do not offer curbside recycling services. Throwing items that can be recycled out with the trash is one of the worst things you can do. If you recycle everything, such as plastic, newspaper, cardboard, cans, glass, and yard waste, you are making a huge difference. If you are not within Wilkes-Barre’s city limits, you can take your recycling to one of the city’s drop-off sites. Recycling drop-off dumpsters are located at the City’s Department of Public Works building on Conyngham Avenue.

Composting is a resolution of mine this year and is a great way to recycle while not taking up a lot of time. I always thought composting was something you could only do if you lived in the country, but that’s not true. You can easily build a compost bin or find one at just about any home and garden center these days. It’s best to stick to composting yard waste and food scraps; however, you should avoid composting meat. There are plenty of resources online to find composting tips if you aren’t sure about the process.

It’s a new year, which means sticking to your resolutions. Whether you have decided to make a change in your lifestyle or perhaps someone else’s, it’s important to stick to your goals. Try a few eco-friendly resolutions out this year and make a difference that will benefit everyone.