Every New Year, I decide that there’s room for a few improvements to my “environmentally friendly” lifestyle. And every year, one or two of those changes stick.

This year, as you make a list of New Year’s resolutions, include a few about your environmental world. Hopefully, you already recycle glass, aluminum, and newspaper.

Take a look at the ideas below, which are beyond the igloo-basics. Give yourself five points for each item you already do. Check your score below to see how you fare ecologically.

  • Recycle all possible paper and chipboard, as well as newspaper, tin cans (be sure to discard the lid after opening), plastic bottles and grocery sacks.
  • Recycle old motor oil (a good use for plastic milk jugs).
  • Don’t buy condiments and other foods in plastic containers that are not marked with a 1 or 2 – buy glass instead.
  • Buy eggs in cardboard containers, and recycle them with your paper.
  • Take your own sacks or canvas bags to grocery stores, and use your own containers at their salad bars.
  • Use rechargeable batteries. Recycle old alkaline batteries.
  • Boycott plastic sandwich bags – wrap sandwiches in wax paper.
  • Don’t buy the larger plastic storage bags. Use produce bags from the grocery store or even bread wrappers.
  • For kids’ lunch boxes, pack drinks in plastic, reusable juice box-sized containers instead of buying juice boxes.
  • Use popcorn instead of plastic peanuts for packaging.
  • Use the return envelopes from junk mail for grocery lists and to carry coupons.
  • Compost yard waste and kitchen scraps.
  • Buy large-size, refillable or concentrated laundry and cleansing products.
  • Use aerator-type faucets, low-flow shower heads, and water-saving devices in your toilet to save water.
  • Reduce the amount of store-bought cleansers you use; try homemade recipes.
  • Decrease the amount of chemicals you use on your lawn; become an organic gardener.
  • Recycle hangers and dry cleaning bags.
  • Avoid using Styrofoam cups at work; bring coffee cups and glasses from home.


0 – 24: A moderate beginning effort – but there’s room for improvement. Try adding more items this year.

26 – 54: You’re on your way to being eco-friendly. A few more selections would round out your efforts.

56 – 84: Good commitment to reducing, reusing, and recycling. A bit of refinement is all you need.

86 – 100: True commitment. Maybe you should be writing this column!

You’ll find that these ideas are simple to add to your daily routines and can be habit forming.

Newspaper Recycling Update:

The newspaper recycling program is collecting 210 tons of newspapers each month. The newest East Dallas location is Greenland Hills United Methodist Church, 5835 Penrose, 826-2060.