19 Ways to Go Green in 2019

2019 is well underway and you may already be finding it hard to stick to your New Years Resolutions. That’s why Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful is proud to present a list of lifestyle changes that are EASY to embrace and – more importantly – will have a lasting and positive impact on the environment. Do you already consider yourself a fairly dedicated environmental steward? You may want to check the list below to see if there are one or more items you can incorporate to your current practices in order to become a slightly BOLDER shade of green!

  1. Explore Transportation Alternatives: Rhodium Group, a research consultancy, found that U.S. carbon emissions rose 3.4 percent in 2018. Ride Share, GRTA Xpress and Marta are all terrific eco-friendly substitutes to commuting solo on I-85 or Highway 316 during the work week. Carpooling with co-workers via Uber or Lyft are becoming increasingly popular options, as well.  By allowing someone else to sit in the drivers’ seat, you can make better use of your time by knocking out some emails or planning out your day while you kick back, enjoy the ride and help do your part to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.
  2. Have the Telecommute Talk with your Employer: While we’re on the subject of commuting, have you considered initiating a discussion with your boss about the possibility of working remotely one or more days a week?  The worst they can say is “no” and if they say “yes,” you’ll be making a significant reduction in your weekly gas usage and carbon emissions!
  3. Reduce: Besides gas-saving measures, really examine how you and your family members use resources like water and electricity. Sit down and have a conversation about ways you can reduce your consumption as a family. Shorter showers and reduced “screen time” are great places to start.
  4. Reuse: Reusable grocery bags, water bottles, straws, food containers, storage/sandwich bags and dedicated lunchboxes are all great ways to limit your use of plastic bags, plastic water bottles, prepackaged foods and paper lunch sacks. Become imaginative about ways to reuse everyday objects, like spaghetti sauce jars to store nails, bolts and screws or coffee grounds in your flower beds to add nitrogen and help your garden grow!
  5. Recycle: If you’re not already recycling, what are you waiting for?  It’s the responsible thing to do – separating out the recyclable items from the trash and leaving them curbside for your waste management company to take care of the rest. Bookmark your waste management company’s website so you know which items they’ll accept curbside. Remember that it’s just as important to know what NOT to put in your recycling bin. Things like plastic grocery bags and Styrofoam cups/containers can contaminate the recycling stream. For the items NOT accepted at the curb, check Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful’s Recycling Database for a list of locations that will accept certain hard-to-recycle materials.
  6. Encourage Your Kids to Be Green, Too!: Introduce them young to R by Dr. Seuss and keep the conversation going about WHY it’s important to protect our planet. Depending on their age, they may be able to volunteer during a Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful cleanup or community recycling event – a great way for them to ACTIVELY make a difference. Take them exploring and try to foster a love of the Great Outdoors so they feel a true connection with the environment.
  7. Load Up your Dishwasher: While you and your spouse may disagree on HOW to load the dishwasher, it’s important that you’re both on the same page when it comes time to run it. Make sure it’s fully loaded as opposed to half loaded every time you push the button to clean to save both water and energy.
  8. Don’t be a Junk Mail Junkie: Register with the Direct Marketing Association’s DMAchoice mail preference service at www.dmachoice.org. You should witness a significant decrease in “junk” in your mailbox after three months. (Note: there’s a $2-$3 processing fee for 10 year period). Until that happens, get in the habit of going through your mail near your recycling bin so you can immediately toss any junk mail you don’t want.
  9. Adopt-A-Road through Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful: You and your family, neighbors, fellow church members or co-workers can ADOPT a stretch of road in Gwinnett County on which to schedule semi-annual cleanups in exchange for two road signs that will let others know of your eco-consciousness and make your crew locally famous!
  10. Fall in Love with Farmer’s Markets: A number of municipalities throughout Gwinnett County offer their fair share of Farmer’s Markets during different times of the year. Purchasing from a Farmer’s Market is a great way to get your hands on fresh produce, support your local farmers and meet your neighbors.
  11. Flip the Switch: If you haven’t already made the switch to Energy Star-rated CFL bulbs, now is the time. CFL bulbs last years longer and use about 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs. For added energy savings where your lighting is concerned, you might want to add dimmer switches throughout the house and remind family members to turn off the lights when they leave a room.
  12. Set a Regular “Playdate” at a Gwinnett Park: Our county is truly BLESSED with an award-winning Parks and Recreation system. Make a point to get out there, find your personal favorite park and spend some dedicated time there with friends and family members. It’ll give you a greater appreciation for the Great Outdoors and this awesome community that we share.
  13. Gather a Group for a Cleanup Event or Create Your Own Project: Inspired by Keep America Beautiful’s Annual Great American Cleanup – the nation’s largest yearly community improvement program – we encourage local citizens, groups and companies to come up with environmentally-friendly projects of their own imagining. With a goal of motivating peopleto action and working together to have a lasting impact on the environment, the best projects submitted throughout the year may be selected to win a CASH PRIZE! GCB also plays host to a number of cleanup events year-round, so bookmark our calendar of events and visit it often to stay in the know!
  14. Set up Online Bill Pay and Ask for eBills: Save time AND paper by signing up for online bill pay with your bank, then ask your mortgage company, utility companies, auto lender, creditors and more to send eBills directly to you through your bank or inbox.
  15. Go for Eco-Walks in Your Area: Breathe in some fresh air, get a little exercise, gain an appreciation of the environment and pick up some litter along the way during regular eco-walks in your area. Even better, include the kids and focus on something different about the environment every time, such as flora, fauna, seasonal changes and more. These are teachable moments, ones that your little ones will remember forever.
  16. Find Your “Comfort Zone”: For energy savings, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you set your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. They also suggest turning it down lower when sleeping in the winter and dialing it up a few degrees while you’re away from home in the summer. Smart thermostats are an excellent tool for automating those slight fluctuations in temperature.
  17. Double Up on Recipes: Getting ready to fire up the grill, stove, oven or InstantPot for dinner tonight? Why not double up on the recipe and save what you don’t eat tonight for leftovers later in the week. You might cook double the amount of chicken breasts tonight and use them two different ways for some variety. Or use the left over vegetables you made in a stew a couple of nights from now. It saves both time and energy!
  18. Turn Off the Water While Brushing Your Teeth: The American Dental Association recommends that we brush our teeth twice a day – for two minutes each time. If you leave the tap running during those combined four minutes of brushing, each member of your family could be wasting up to 10 gallons of water a day. For a family of four, that’s 40 gallons of water you COULD be saving each day!!
  19. Donate to Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful: One of the EASIEST WAYS to show your support for the local environment is to make a donation to Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful. All donations are tax-deductible and go to support our programs and mission of “Connecting People and Resources for a Sustainable Gwinnett.”

From all of us here at Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, we wish you and yours a Happy, Healthy and GREEN 2019!