If you want to be kinder to the planet and save some money at the same time, here are 20 ways to go green in 2013.
- Buy fresh, local food this summer at the Patchogue Farmer's Market, which traditionally runs in the spring through early November from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in the parking lot at 225 E. Main Street.
- 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 thrift stores such as Salvation Army Thrift Store, Goodwill of Greater NY and Savers.
- Rip up some lawn and create new garden beds this spring, and then grow your own food this summer. Need help getting started? Contact landscaping companies like Lyon Landscaping, Four Leaf Landscaping, Park View Landscaping and H. Steurnagel Inc. Landscape Specialist. Your kids will eat more veggies if they grow them themselves.
- Dispose of your hazardous waste properly. For Patchogue Village, contact the Department of Public Works. Other Patchogue areas and Medford should contact Brookhaven Town's Department of Waste Management.
- Buy a share in a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local, sustainable farming and enjoy fresh veggies weekly. The Patchogue Planting Patch Community Garden can be reached at email@example.com.
- Ditch those dreaded plastic sandwich bags and get some washable containers or bags. Like ReUsies, created by two Seattle moms.
- Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot. Find bike path maps and routes in the Patchogue area here.
- Pack cloth napkins instead of paper towels 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. The Medford Volunteer Gardeners can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Patchogue Garden Club can be reached via their website: http://www.patchoguegardenclub.com/.
- 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. Updated 2/6/13: Patchogue Village has had tree committee since 2006 and a volunteer arborist. Ivan Frank is the official arborist of Patchogue Village and the committee is called the Conservation Tree Committee. Residents who have questions regarding suggestions for types of trees to plant in Patchogue they can contact village trustee Lori Devlin at email@example.com and she can forward requests to the committee or Ivan. Other nearby professional arborists are Morning Star Arborist, 3 Woods Lane in Centereach, 631-737-2400, and Aronica Professional Lawn and Tree Care, 15 Kasper Court, Setauket-East Setauket, 631-928-9000. Know a closer one? Add them to the comments.
- 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. Know a store that sells these? Add them to the comments.
- Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Reserve a room at the Patchogue-Medford Library and publicize.
- Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. Know a store that sells these? Add them to the comments.
- 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. Resources regarding power can be found on LIPA's website, http://www.lipower.org.
- 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.
TELL US: Do you think you could stick to a green New Year's resolution? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments sections below.
Update 2/6/13: Added information on Patchogue Village's official arborist, Ivan Frank, and the Conservation Tree Committee.