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emerald

Make 2013 the year of the emerald

At the start of the new year, many families and individuals strive to be more green, or eco-friendly, but don’t always know how to get started. Pantone has selected emerald as the official Color of the Year for 2013, and with this in mind we think some green focused, eco-friendly tips are in order. Now that we’ve welcomed 2013 fresh out of the box, here are some ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home and on the road, and make your life more environmentally friendly.

pull out garbage and recycling containers

Go Green At Home

  1. Set up a recycling bin: If you haven’t already done this, it’s the easiest way to be more Earth friendly. A separate trash can right next to the original one makes it easy to remember to toss cans, bottles and glass separately. If you already have a recycling container, take it one step further by separating the plastic from the metals and glass.
  2. Invest in energy efficient appliances: You don’t have to go out and spend several thousand dollars on brand new appliances to be eco-friendly. When your next appliance wears out shop for a replacement with the Energy Star logo and ask the retailer about recycling your old appliance. If no recycling is available, try to sell or give away the appliance to someone willing to fix and reuse it. This can also be applied to things like windows and doors: when it’s time for a replacement, look into energy efficient options.
  3. Buy with purpose: If going green is a resolution, you might also have the resolution to save more money. Try to buy things you know for sure that you will use, rather than buying just because it’s on sale, or just because it’s convenient. For example, you can re-purpose old hand towels into reusable napkins rather than throwing out the towels and buying disposable napkins. It’s easy to buy cart fulls at giant retail stores, but keeping your buy with purpose mantra in mind can reduce your spending and help keep you eco-friendly.
  4. Reduce energy use at home: Washing your laundry in cold water rather than hot water saves loads (get it??) of energy and helps keep your clothes in like-new condition longer, reducing the frequency you need to buy new clothes. Also remember to turn off the lights when you’re not using them, close windows before turning on the heat or AC, and
  5. Rent furniture!: Discarded furniture takes up a significant portion of our landfills, and too often homeowners don’t believe others will want their discarded furniture and they don’t try to sell or donate perfectly good pieces. If this has happened to you, consider renting your furniture. You can change your mind any time you want, there’s no worrying about picking up heavy pieces, and if you really like something you always have the option of buying it.
san diego hotels

Go Green On The Road

  1. Get a hotel near your destination: This may seem like an obvious one, but getting a hotel that’s within walking distance of where you’ll be spending the majority of your time will eliminate the need for transportation. San Diego has plenty of lovely hotels in our Gaslamp District, making it easy to find a room right by where you’ll be. There are also short-term apartments available which feel more like home than a hotel, and are better for saving energy in the long run.
  2. Find a hotel that uses eco-friendly practices:  Most hotels have policies in place to reduce their energy dependence. For example, you can  hang your towels up to reuse them and refuse daily sheet changing to save energy and water. You can also leave the little soaps and shampoos untouched so they can be reused, or if you use them take them home to finish the bottle. Eating in the hotel restaurant is another way to save resources.
  3. Take advantage of shuttle services: While it’s well known that flying is the most energy intensive form of traveling, no one expects you to give up your seat for one on a Greyhound. However, most airports have a shuttle service that make it possible to commute to your hotel. This is especially true if you’re traveling for a conference and many other people will be going to the same location.
  4. Telecommute: Unless absolutely necessary, try to telecommute and host meetings online. Technology makes being in the office in person far less necessary than ever before, especially if that means a plane flight and a car rental. You and your company can save money with online meeting software, and if you have a long commute in a new location ask about telecommuting and saving the gas.
  5. Bring reusable bags: Reusable bags fold up into tiny, lightweight packets that can clip anywhere, and having one on you at all times eliminates your need for disposable plastic bags. These bags can also be used to pad fragile items during travel.

Image courtesy of PantoneBetter Homes and Garden and Discover SD

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