Need a New Year's Resolution? How about reducing your carbon footprint

There’s never been a more urgent time to reduce your carbon footprint than now

Here are 10 ways to get you started:

• Step-up Recycling/Composting

Recycling prevents carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by saving the energy it takes to make products from new materials and by saving the energy it takes to incinerate or landfill what we discard. Composting food scraps turns organic material back into fertile soil, which itself is an efficient carbon "sink." For more information on Flagstaff residential curbside recycling programs or composting education contact Tammy Bishop at (928) 213-3604.

• Re-route your commute

About half the CO2 we generate comes from our usage of automobiles, so walk, bike or take mass transit instead. Air travel also produces huge amounts of CO2 so the less you fly, the smaller your carbon footprint.

• Buy local

Buying any goods produced locally saves energy by reducing the fossil fuels needed to transport food or other items across the country and around the globes.

• Buy renewable power

APS offers Green Choice Programs which provides its customers renewable energy from a variety of resources including solar, wind, and geothermal. A portion of your home or business' electricity needs can be met by renewable energy. Visit http://www.aps.com for more information.

• Change out your light bulbs

A compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) uses less than one-third of the energy of an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light-and it lasts 10 times longer. And some CFLs now have 3-way capabilities and can be dimmed.

• Upgrade and unplug

Upgrading your appliances (including computers and TVs)? Be sure to look for the "EnergyStar" logo, which only energy efficient models can wear. Also, turn off appliances when not in use to prevent wasting "phantom" energy coming in off the grid. For more information on EnergyStar visit http://www.energystar.gov/.

• Adjust your thermostats

If you don't need a sweater indoors, your heat is too high. Also, keeping your hot water at no more than 120 degrees-the minimum temperature to keep the water bacteria-free-is another way to save energy and money.

• Skip the bottled water at the grocery or convenience store

Filter your tap water for drinking rather than using bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it produces large amounts of container waste.

• Buy offsets

Many organizations sell "carbon offsets," whereby you pay a voluntary fee to offset your daily CO2 emissions. The money usually goes to develop alternative, renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar. Visit one of the following websites for more information on buying offsets:

http://climatetrust.org, http://myclimate.org or http://terrapass.org.

• Get involved

Donate time or money to groups working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For information on the Flagstaff's Sustainability Program or more tips to reduce your carbon footprint please visit http://flagstaff.az.gov/sustainable.

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