Go Green: 10 eco-friendly New Year's resolutions

Allecia Vermillion

Use less paper

Always buy recycled paper, and reduce waste by printing on both sides. Avoid printing documents or e-mails unless it is necessary.

Switch out your light bulbs

Yes, compact fluorescent light bulbs and LED bulbs are more expensive, and it can be tempting to reach for the incandescent bulbs when you're at the store. But keep in mind that energy-efficient bulbs last 10 times longer and consume a fraction of the power of traditional ones.

No more excuses for forgetting your shopping bag

Owning a reusable shopping bag is one thing. Remembering to bring it to the store is another. Write a note, keep one in your car and do whatever it takes to make sure you've got one with you when you hit the checkout line.

Streamline your mailbox

Most households receive unwanted catalogs and brochures in the mail every day. Be vigilant in your fight against junk mail. Visit to remove yourself from mailing lists, and set aside an hour to call catalogs and organizations directly.

Unplug your appliances when they're not in use

Your microwave, your lamps and certainly your computer all draw energy when they're not running. A few power strips with on and off switches can help.

No more plastic water bottles

A reusable, stainless steel bottle can help you kick the plastic habit. If you don't like the way your tap water tastes, consider a water filter or filtration system, as well.

Consolidate your errands

Run errands together and plan the most efficient route to conserve gas. If possible, park your car and walk from store to store. Seize any opportunity to walk, bike or take public transit.

Familiarize yourself with recycling guidelines

Recycling capabilities vary drastically by municipality. Take some time to study your provider's website or call their customer service line. That way you can be sure that your paper, glass and plastic end up in the right place.

Wash your clothes in cold water

As much as 90 percent of energy consumed while washing clothes comes from heating water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Many detergent brands now make versions specially meant for use with cold water.

Eat what's local and in season

Eating 100 percent local food isn't always realistic. But a commitment to buying produce exclusively from locals or farmers markets can go a long way in reducing carbon dioxide emitted in transporting your produce.

Did you know

Refrigerators suck up more energy than any other appliance in the home. The Natural Resources Defense Council recommends setting your refrigerator between 31 and 36 degrees to keep food fresh without expending unnecessary energy.

According to U.S. Department of Energy, if every U.S. household replaces just one light bulb with a CFL this year, the country would save enough energy to power three million homes.