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How to Live an Eco-Friendly Hudson Valley Lifestyle This Year

Adobe Stock | Photo by Joshua Resnick

Want to reduce your environmental footprint? Here’s how to create a sustainable home and save money while caring for the Earth.

It’s hardly a secret that “green” living is good — good for you, good for the planet, and good for your wallet. Oftentimes, however, eco-friendly practices get overshadowed by easy, routine ones. Why recycle that aluminum can when the trash bin is right in front of you? What’s the point of turning off the kitchen light when you’ll be back there later?

It does make a difference, of course. According to the most recent 2018 report from the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generated a whopping 292.4 million tons of waste that year. Of that, only 94 million tons were recycled or composted. While some of the remaining million tons were combusted with energy recovery, approximately 146 million tons went to landfills.

Cringing? Yeah, it’s a lot. Fortunately, a new year means it’s the perfect time for a new, green approach to eco-friendly living in the Hudson Valley. Check out these easy, not-so-obvious tips to live more sustainably in the region, courtesy of CouponChief.com. Want more? Visit the discount site for additional ways (41, to be exact) to go green on the cheap.

1. Ride your bike instead of driving.

As traffic congestion and pollution get worse, many cities are opening bike paths to encourage self-transportation. By riding a bike whenever possible, you’ll save money on gas, save wear and tear on your car, and improve your fitness.

Keep Reading: Bike, Run, or Walk Your Way Along the Hudson Valley’s Rail Trails

2. Use heat and air conditioning in moderation.

While heat and AC may be necessary certain times of the year, you can save money and energy by using them only when necessary. When it’s hot, cool off with fewer layers of clothing and a cold glass of ice water. If you have a ceiling fan, use it. When your home is cold, try bundling up with blankets and sweaters before cranking up the heat.

Keep Reading: 7 Tips to Stay Cool Without Cranking the AC

3. Buy second-hand clothing.

Shopping for clothing second-hand helps the planet in more than one way. First, it helps keep used clothing out of landfills. Second, it doesn’t encourage the production of new clothing.

Keep Reading: These Are the Best Places to Shop in the Hudson Valley

4. Recycle when you can.

Many waste companies have instituted their own recycling programs, some of which are free. If your trash service offers free recycling, your only contribution is time. Spend time rinsing recyclable plastics and glass and putting them in the appropriate bins to do your part.

Keep Reading: This Workshop Builds Gorgeous Furniture From Recycled Wood Pallets

5. Grow your own vegetables.

Eating vegetables is great for your health and the environment. Unfortunately, much of the produce we consume is trucked or shipped in from distant environments, creating pollution and waste in the process. You can reduce your food footprint by growing some of your own food and consuming it yourself.

Keep Reading: How to Dry Your Favorite Herbs at Home

Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. #dontbuyfoodfromstrangers

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6. Eat less meat.

Meat is not only costly; it’s bad for the environment. Research shows that animal agriculture plays a huge role in the depletion of our water resources and the increase of global warming. You can reduce animal-related pollution by avoiding meat or eating it sparingly.

Keep Reading: A Vegetarian’s Guide to the Hudson Valley

7. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only around 5 percent of the 1 trillion plastic bags used each year are recycled. You can avoid contributing to this problem by investing in reusable grocery bags and bringing your own.

Keep Reading: This Hudson Valley County Placed a Permanent Ban on Plastic Bags

8. Make homemade, healthy meals with few ingredients.

Processed foods require lots of labor and energy to make, use too much packaging, then require transportation to the store. You can avoid much of the environmental impact of processed foods by buying ingredients in bulk and making meals simple meals at home. As a bonus, homemade meals are almost always healthier.

Keep Reading: Make This Easy, Vegan Mac and Cheese Tonight

9. Bring your own coffee to work.

Stopping by Starbucks on your way to work is not just costly; it’s bad for the environment, too. Instead of purchasing a disposable cup of Joe every day, invest in an insulated mug and make your own coffee at home. You’ll save money and time, and keep paper products out of the trash.

Keep Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Coffee in the Hudson Valley

10. Donate instead of throwing away.

If you get tired of your furniture, clothes, or household goods, don’t throw them away. To save space in your local landfill, strive to make sure someone else doesn’t want your used items. Post a free ad on craiglist.org, or mention your items on Freecycle.org.

Keep Reading: This Croton Designer Is on a Mission to Make Fashion Sustainable

Want more? Visit CouponChief.com for the full list of 41 Inexpensive Ways to Go Green.

Related: Hudson Valley Colleges Think Green With Environmental Initiatives