4 ways to go green this new year

(BPT) – This new year means fun-filled celebrations, spending time with loved ones and the excitement of new changes in the coming year. It’s also the perfect opportunity to break old habits and create new, healthy ones. While many put exercising, eating healthy or traveling at the top of their resolution list, this new year is a great time to start thinking green!

Some items that can be recycled are thrown away mostly because people do not know what items can be recycled or where to recycle them. For instance, rechargeable batteries that power the portable products on holiday gift lists (such as laptops, cordless power tools, tablets and even remote controlled toys), should be recycled when they can no longer hold a charge. These batteries contain metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel, which could harm the environment when improperly disposed.

Environmental concerns have become one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. From climate change to the rise of e-waste, making a choice to do our part to help the environment can seem like a daunting task. The key is to start small. While we don’t have the answers to the larger questions surrounding environmental conservation, we can do our part to help preserve our environment. It can be as simple as recycling or donating pre-owned items to family or friends to reduce the impact of waste on local landfills.

By starting small and making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance you will keep them throughout the year. You should also encourage your family and friends to join you in incorporating environmentally-friendly behavior into your everyday lives.

So how do you start recycling and making a difference in your community? Here are some tips to help incorporate green resolutions into your busy lifestyle:

* Your “fourth bin” — Set up a bin or bag (ideally near your front or back door) for your family to leave recyclables.

* Sound the alarm — On your smartphone or computer, set up a regular reminder to gather up your rechargeable batteries to take to your local retailer or collection site.

* Regularly clean out the junk drawer — On a regular basis, task a family member with going through the junk drawer for recyclables and other unused or old items.

* Keep your errand list on hand at all times — This will help you prioritize stops while you’re on the go, as well as remember to drop off your items to be recycled.

Once you’ve made the commitment to start recycling your old stuff and you know how, you need to know where to go. Organizations such as Call2Recycle offer an easy and free way to care for the environment year-round through battery recycling. Call2Recycle works with a network of businesses, communities and retailers in the U.S. and Canada — including Best Buy, The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Staples — that serve as drop-off locations. Additional participating collection sites can be found at call2recycle.org.

It’s never too late to learn about environmental issues and why they are important. Setting sustainability goals is your commitment to support the environment for yourself and future generations. Resolving to change your habits could not only have a huge impact on the rest of the world, but can also help you feel good because you know you’re making a difference. As you get ready for the new year, take that extra step to be prepared to maintain your green resolutions throughout the year.

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