From Cars to Compost: Going Green in 2013

If going green is one of your New Year’s resolutions this year, work one of these eco-friendly practices into your budget and lifestyle:

Drive Electric

Dubbed the “world’s first affordable, zero-emission car” by Nissan itself, the LEAF is an all-electric car that seats five adults and can travel about 80 miles on a single charge. It and other electric vehicles (EVs) are a popular choice for those wanting to eliminate tailpipe emissions and spend their car-powering money at the local utility company instead of overseas oil companies.

If you find yourself looking for green used cars in Phoenix, or in New York or in Seattle, here’s what you need to know:


Electric cars often have a higher sticker price than their gas-powered counterparts, but after government incentives, the overall cost drops significantly. Plus, most states offer tax reductions and other perks, such as parking and HOV lane use preferences.

You probably won’t forget to charge your EV any more than you forget to fuel your gas-powered car now. Plus, it is getting more and more convenient to charge up while out running errands, shopping or eating. LEAF driver Mark Clayton said on that he and his wife use to find charging stations across the nation. Chili’s restaurant and IKEA are two establishments that make it easier for EV drivers to do multiple things at once: charge while they shop or eat.

Try Composting

According to, food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of what Americans throw away. Instead of contributing to overflowing landfills and to save on fertilizer and pesticide expenses, start composting.

Composting enriches your soil, making it easier for plants to grow, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, thereby lowering your carbon footprint. Composting requires three basic ingredients – browns, greens and water – and is easily done at home, inside or out. Here’s how:

Start by deciding where you’d like to compost. A shady spot in your backyard that is near a water source is a great place for your compost pile or bin. If you need to keep your compost inside, special composting bins can be purchased at hardware and gardening stores, or made by hand.

Composting ingredients combine what you’d regularly recycle or throw out. Browns include materials such as dead leaves, branches, pine needles, newspaper, dryer lint and cardboard. Greens include materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds.

Keep the materials moist (not sopping wet), and regularly turn the materials to encourage the breakdown of organic matter.

Composting takes attention and time, but the extra effort is worth it.

Utilize Solar

The solar power industry is moving forward fast and federal and state governments are supporting the use of alternative energy. Solar is for you if you’re interested in cost effectiveness, energy self-reliance and reducing dependency on coal and other fossil fuels. Cristen Conger from says paying that extra money today could be a major factor in protecting our environmental well-being in the future.

Note that going solar is quite a large investment. Solar panels cost thousands of dollars to install and take about a decade to pay for themselves. This is a hefty investment for some home owners to make, especially as initially, coal and other fossil fuels cost much less.

If you afford the expense now, think about utilizing the sun to be clean and green this year.

Author: Walt Randall Walt knows his cars and loves to share tips on how to maintain your car or truck and keep it safe and on the road. If that check engine light comes on, get it serviced and don’t wait for it to fail on you.

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