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5 Tips to Break Bad Habits & Get a Green Routine

By Kristin Finley

Get the new year off to a good start with a resolution to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Here are some ideas:

1. Quit Smoking

REDUCE the number of cigarettes you smoke (hopefully to zero!). It will ensure cleaner air for all of us to breathe, decrease the number of cigarette butts littering the outdoors, and make a small dent in cigarette production and packaging.

REUSE some of that unspent cigarette money by donating to organizations involved in cancer research, smoking-cessation campaigns, or prevention efforts – especially for children and teens.

RECYCLE old ashtrays and all of those empty cigarette boxes.

2. Clean Out the Closet

REDUCE the amount of stuff in your closet. Stop buying things you never wear – it just adds to the clutter in your closet. Clutter blocks air flow, which leads to dust, mites, mold, mildew, dirt and bacteria.

REUSE everything. Re-cover or decoupage old storage and/or shoe boxes and reuse them to store something else – you can even put them in your living room for some new decorative flare. Research arts & crafts websites and discover ways to reuse old things from your closet.

RECYCLE everything in your closet that you cannot reuse. Donate old clothes that can be used again by someone. Even the hangers can be returned to the dry cleaner.

3. Exercise More

REDUCE your driving habits. Biking, rollerblading and walking/running are a few of the easiest ways to exercise and have fun.

REUSE the money you’re not spending on gas and put it on a Metro card. Let someone else REUSE your cobwebbed exercise equipment. Donate it to a local nonprofit group or faith-based community.

RECYCLE old video tapes, DVD’s and whatever old and broken exercise equipment you don’t donate. Old cars, running or not, can also be donated or their parts recycled.

4. Eat Better

REDUCE your non-local food intake. Get smart about what you’re eating and where it originates! Educate yourself about nutrition. Choose healthy foods that you like and are therefore more likely to actually eat. Check out the local food co-op or farmers market in your area. Fresh, local food is your first step toward a healthier you.

REUSE canvas shopping bags. Don’t forget them at home when you go shopping.

RECYCLE non-perishable food that you are not going to eat. Donate to a local shelter or food drive. Gather your friends and neighbors for a food swap party where everyone combines what they want to get rid of and everyone takes what they want. Whatever is left over can be donated.

5. Do More to Enrich Your Life

REDUCE the amount of time you spend sitting on the couch. Get out and enjoy nature while cutting back on the energy and expense of running the TV, lights, computer, and cable. Your body will appreciate the increase in physical activity, and you’ll be doing your part to help improve the environment.

REUSE the energy you stored up sitting on the couch to make a difference. Give your time and energy to help people, animals and plants – it’ll benefit you as well.

RECYCLE the newspaper after planning your couchless weekend and enjoy your life and our beautiful Mother Earth.

Learn more about Recycling and Sustainable Materials -- and how to recycle or dispose of almost anything.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Tips for the new year: Get the new decade off to a good start quit smoking, clean out the closet, exercise more, eat better and do more to enrich your life.

Copyright 2013 by Bethesda Green