With the New Year comes a fresh start and the perfect opportunity to not only better yourself, but your natural world as well. Along with any personal resolutions, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources asks you to consider some green ones. Making small, eco-friendly choices throughout the day can play a big role in creating a smarter, greener, more sustainable future for Maryland. 

Top 10 Green Resolutions for the New Year

Get Outside. Spending time in the great outdoors fosters strong, lasting connections with the nature and inspires environmental stewardship. Improve the health and quality of life for yourself and your family with an outdoor adventure! Visiting one of Maryland’s State Parks is a great place to start.

Recycle. Send less waste to landfill – reuse gift wrap and ribbon, recycle motor oil, old electronics/batteries and building materials, and start a compost to convert food scraps into new soil. Learn more at mdrecycles.org/local.asp.

Reduce Energy Use. Make use of energy-efficient fixtures, appliances and bulbs, and don’t forget to turn off lights and electronics whenever you’re able. Use cold water for laundry and don’t leave faucets running if it can be avoided. Reducing energy and water consumption is a simple act that has a big impact.

Children volunteers planting a tree with their father in Patapsco Valley State Park.

Green Your Commute. Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation whenever possible.

Landscape for the Planet. Use native plants, make use of rain gardens, and replace chemical pesticides with more earth-friendly choices to help protect local waters, public health and wildlife.

Planting a tree is also another great way to give back. Trees protect air and water quality, provide wildlife habitat, reduce energy costs, increase property value, and beautify neighborhoods and highways. Learn more at trees.maryland.gov.

Reuse Bags and Bottles.  It’s no secret that many plastic bags and bottles make their way into the Bay and are quite harmful to the environment. Save money – and the planet – make use of durable, long-lasting, reusable water bottles and bags.

Clean Green. Keep your home fresh and clean while preserving a healthy environment. Use green household cleaning products and properly dispose those that contain harmful chemicals.

Buy local. Reduce the ecological consequences of shipping. Buy products that are grown, caught, and/or produced locally.

Volunteer. Countless efforts are in need of helping hands. If you’re looking to better the environment, DNR’s volunteer page has many programs to choose from, including stream monitoring, invasive plant removal, and habitat restoration for native wildlife. Don’t forget to share your experiences and inspire others.

Help Stop the Spread. We can do a great deal to halt the spread of invasive plants and animals. Clean clothing, shoes, gear and pets before every adventure. Thoroughly wash and inspect boats and trailers after every use, and responsibly drain bilges, live wells and bait coolers.

For more ideas on sustainability visit green.maryland.gov.