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Jan. 3, 2013 11:50

Five New Year’s Resolutions to Ease the Gloom of the Fiscal Cliff While Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

A lot of us make resolutions we have no intention of keeping. In fact, a 2011 study found that 88 percent of the population ditches their well-intentioned resolutions by Jan. 31. If there is one resolution that you should consider for 2013, it is the spending freeze. With the state of the country’s legislative impasse and fiscal cliff fallout, most paychecks will begin to feel the impact of expiring tax cuts, which carries with it less disposable income and more excuses to skimp. Why not skimp now? Here are five resolutions that will save money, reduce your carbon footprint and eliminate waste:

Plant a garden or start a subscription with your local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Help local merchants, get fresh seasonal produce at a great price and reduce your carbon footprint. No more having to rise and shine on weekends just to make it to the farmer’s markets or pay supermarket prices for wilted produce.

Kick the plastic bag habit

Long Beach and Capitola implemented a surcharge for customers who use plastic, which ends up in the trash anyway—more than one million bags every minute, according to Planet Green. BYOB—bring your own bag—makes economic sense. Retailers like Target and Whole Foods have rewarded customers who bring their own bags at a nickel back per bag. Plus, Cost Plus, Stapes and Fresh & Easy occasionally offer coupons for free bags.

Use the library

Or if you prefer to own your books, try the library’s used bookstores. You’ll find bargain basement prices (usually under $3) on yesterday’s best sellers while keeping the library budget afloat.

Try Meatless Monday

Eliminate meat two days a week and you can reduce your carbon footprint by one-third of a ton, according to Planet Green. According to a 2006 University of Chicago Study, the average American diet adds 2.52 tons to the carbon footprint when as little as 47 percent of our daily calories come from animal sources. Ditch Taco Tuesdays and Fish Fridays for vegetables every other day.

Switch to fluorescents. By 2014, all incandescent bulbs will be toast. Replacing them with fluorescent bulbs makes perfect economic sense: fluorescent bulbs last longer and cut energy use by as much as 80 percent. The savings can come in handy when increased income tax withholdings finally kick in with the February paycheck.
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