We're one month into 2013. Was one of your resolutions to live more green? If so, how are you doing so far?
Patch has organized some ideas for you on how to be more earth friendly, right here in Reston.
- Buy fresh, local food this summer at farmers markets. Reston has two - Saturday at Lake Anne Plaza and Wednesday's Smartmarket at 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr. Both will reopen in May.
- Have your kids make their friends birthday cards and bring gifts in decorated paper bags or a cool reusable bag. Kids love getting a handmade card—as do adults.
- Bring your own bags when you shop for groceries.
- Shop at consignment stores such as Small Change Consignment and Reston's Used Book Shop.
- Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started? Your kids may eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
- Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. Check out everything you need to know from Fairfax County here.
- Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. Check this list of local CSA's here.
- Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. I like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
- Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot. Reston has 55 miles of bike paths, so you can get just about anywhere you need to go without a car. Need some new bike equipment? Check out The Bike Lane or Performance Bicycle.
- Pack cloth napkins instead of paper napkins in school lunches.
- Look for an environmental service project you can do with your children, such as removing trash and non-native plants and planting trees in their place. Check with which is always having Weed Warriors and other local efforts.
- Got an older house? Install double-pane windows and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
- Plant a tree. A certified arborist can help you select and plant trees that will provide privacy and shade and even years of fresh fruit. Find a certified arborist in your area here.
- Dump your bottled water costs. You could save hundreds of dollars by buying snazzy metal water bottles for everyone in the family and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet. Check out some nice ones at Reston's Whole Foods.
- Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the Reston Regional Library and publicize by putting it on Patch's events calendar.
- Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. You can find bulbs at Home Depot and Target.
- Expand your hand-me-down circle. Organize a clothing swap for your kids’ preschool or a group of friends. Everyone brings gently used and clean kids’ clothes to your garage and parents can take as many items as they donated. The rest goes to charity. You can also swap toys and books.
- Replace your showerheads with low-flow models. Low-flow showerheads can save you up to 15 percent on water heating costs and reduce your water usage by as much as 20,000 gallons a year.
- Save up to 30 percent on your monthly heating bills by having a home energy audit done by a professional.
- Give service and experience gifts this year instead of stuff. Make homemade gift certificates for services and experiences that could include tech support, dinner and a movie, yard work, pet walking or babysitting, or a day of organizing support for the clutter challenged. Check out Reston's Useful Services Exchange.
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