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About ten years ago I decided to change my lifestyle into a greener, more eco-friendly way of life. I thought it was going to be one of the toughest things to do but it wasn’t. Of course, after the first few days, when “change” is at its toughest, it was difficult at times, but after a few weeks, the transition of going green was one of the healthiest things I did for myself, my family and our environment.

Becoming green isn’t just a New Year’s Resolution that comes and goes, it is a permanent lifestyle change. You can start out small by sorting and recycling your cardboard, aluminum, glass and plastic into separate bins. Once your recycling becomes a daily habit, add another change, for example, water conservation into your routine. There are so many things to choose from, all depending on how environmentally conscious you want to be. Where should you start this wonderful change? How about on your phone!

The newest wave in 2015 for the environmentally conscious person are apps on your phone that will help consumers make environmentally-friendly decisions. For example, www.thinkdirtyapp.com compares ingredients in beauty and cosmetic products. While shopping, just scan the barcode to see if any of the product’s ingredients are known carcinogens, neurotoxins, or hormone disruptors.

How about finding info on where to buy the most sustainably grown vegetables? www.shft.com/foodtripping can do just that! Food Tripping is a GPS based app that points you towards the local farmer’s markets, cafes and juice bars.

Then there’s www.irecycle.com, an app that shows places where you can properly dispose household items like cell phones, grills, and paints.

In 2015, why not make your home a smart home? This year’s latest trends makes being green a lot easier at home. Smart thermostats will automatically adjust the climate in the home to save energy and can be controlled remotely from your phone. Remote controlled windows will soon be able to shut out heat on demand. Electric meters and appliances like refrigerators will be connected to the internet to help track how much energy is being used in the home every day. Having a smart home is useful in developing more efficient habits while reducing energy bills.

When it comes to food, growing your own is very beneficial. Attend a seed swapping event to see what it’s all about. Get used to brazing, curing, fermenting, and brewing your foods. Learn to compost all leftovers.

We all know that using solar panels is a better way to heat our homes, and driving hybrid vehicles are better for the environment. To help decrease the amount of waste created each day, here are some things to consider:

Conserve water when washing dishes, brushing teeth or shaving. Pre-soak dishes to reduce the amount of water spent on scrubbing the tough spots clean. Check for toilet leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the color ends up in the bowl, replace the flip valve on the inside of the toilet. Turn off lights when not in use.

Always use reusable bags.

Buy a household plant to improve air quality and remove toxic indoor chemicals like trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.

Stop buying bottled water.

Buy local and eat organic.

Plant a tree.

Ride your bike more.

Collect Rainwater.

Make your own natural household cleaners.

Go Paperless.

Become an advocate.

Be a voice. Many famous celebrities lend their time and effort to causes that make this world a better place. Businesses pay attention to these causes and most of the time respond with safer, more eco-friendly products. Those businesses that don’t respond positively can be encouraged to do the right thing by not buying their products. A good consumer boycott is the best and swiftest way to get companies to change. We all can make a difference in what happens to the planet.