It’s that time of year again – the month we compile New Year’s resolutions. Some people create an entire file, others just list a few. One important addition to your list is to work harder at being environmentally friendly. This can be habit-forming and reap significant benefits for both your household and your surroundings.

It’s easy if you just remember the expression “reduce, reuse and recycle.”

Adopt these hints to reduce the amount of over-packaged, non-recyclable items that you use:

• Choose products packaged with recyclable materials, such as glass or cardboard.
• Don’t buy eggs in Styrofoam containers.
• Avoid individually wrapped servings.
• Limit the use of take-out foam containers.
• Bring a mug to work instead of paper cups.
• Use dish towels and sponges instead of paper towels.
• Use cloth napkins instead of paper.
• Reduce the amount of plastic bags you buy and use.
• Use plastic produce bags, bread wrappers and reusable containers to store food.
• Buy refillable razors instead of disposable.
• Choose products packaged in recyclable No. 1 or No. 2 plastic. If a product is only available in non-recyclable plastic, choose glass.
• Buy in bulk or large sizes and choose concentrates.
• Use rechargeable batteries.

Adopt these hints to reduce the amount of water you use:

• Choose low-flush toilets or use a displacement device in your existing fixtures.
• Use low-flow faucet aerators and shower heads.
• Use the energy-saver or shortest cycle possible on your dishwasher.
• Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine.
• Repair plumbing leaks immediately.
• Insulate your hot water heater and pipes.
• Use a cut-off nozzle on your hose while washing your car.
• Use the wastebasket instead of the toilet when disposing of tissues.
• Don’t let the water run while brushing teeth, washing vegetables, etc.

Adopt these hints for the proper use and disposal of household hazardous waste:

• A product is hazardous if it is toxic or corrosive, can catch fire, or can react or explode when mixed with other substances.
• Don’t buy more than you’ll need.
• Buy phosphate-free detergents.
• Do not put hazardous products out with the garbage or pour them down the drain.
• Take advantage of household hazardous waste collection days.
• Keep these products in their original containers for easy separation at collection sites.

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