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January-February 2017
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A New Year Means a New (Greener) You
Each year we make a bunch of promises to ourselves when December turns to January. We promise to be healthier, save money, live life to the fullest and more. Unfortunately, reducing our collective environmental impact hasn't yet made it to the top of the New Year's resolutions list. But that's okay. No, really, it's fine. Most people don't realize that going green is already a part of their goals for 2017, and that's where we come in! Here are some of the most popular resolutions for the New Year and a few tips on how green living can help you meet your goal.
Lose Weight
Losing weight and green living have a lot in common. For starters, if you're ditching fast food and other convenience foods then you're reducing the amount of waste you produce. In place of these wasteful (and unhealthy) convenience foods, you'll likely be packing a lunch in reusable containers and cooking at home more often. You'll also want to keep a refillable water bottle with you all the time to fill with tap water and keep your body hydrated. See, green living is so easy you didn't even realize you were already doing it!
Get Organized
Being organized means getting rid of unnecessary clutter in your home. And that's the perfect time to refresh your knowledge on what's recyclable, what's reusable and what's plain old trash. Get out some boxes and label them: Keep, Donate, Recycle and Trash. Keep what you need, donate what can be reused, recycle everything your city/county will accept and make the landfill a last resort. And don't underestimate the power of donation. Even items like old bedsheets/towels, worn out shoes and dinosaur electronics have value to the charities that are able to reuse or resell them.
Spend Less, Save More
This one is easy. Green living is all about saving money! Whether you are switching from bottled water to tap water, adjusting your thermostat up or down a couple degrees or starting a carpool, you'll be saving money and reducing your environmental impact. Saving more is almost always the same as using less and that's great for the environment as well as your wallet!
Learn Something New
Looking to add a new hobby to your life? Consider taking up composting, upcycling, refurbishment projects or gardening. You could even take on backyard chickens! Yes, there are plenty of other new skills to learn in 2017, but why not take on something that benefits you and your surrounding community?

Quit Smoking
Kicking the cigarette habit is a big deal and it's not easy. In return for your hard work, you'll receive multiple benefits. Non-smokers are healthier, have reduced risks for cancer and other health problems and are known to litter less. Yep, that's right. Most smokers are guilty of flicking cigarette butts out the car window, onto the sidewalk or wherever they find themselves without a proper ash receptacle. In fact, cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in Virginia and across the world. Your community and your local waterways will thank you for not smoking!

We wish you much success as you tackle a new (greener) you in 2017. Happy New Year from all of us at askHRgreen.org!
Reminder: Check Your Christmas Tree Recycling Schedule
A naturally grown wreath or Christmas tree is the perfect backdrop for the holiday season but sadly, that fresh pine decor isn't looking so hot now that it's 2017. There are many easy ways you can reuse your natural decorations. If you don't have time for a DIY project to repurpose the tree, simply find out how and when your city or county accepts Christmas trees for collection. In most cases, naturally-grown Christmas trees and wreaths collected by your locality are mulched or composted to reduce landfill contributions. Talk about buying local, your spring mulch could be made from your very own Christmas tree!
Are You Ready for Old Man Winter?
As we've experienced already in southeastern Virginia, it's not unusual to wear snow boots on Monday and flip flops on Friday Our weekly forecasts can go from one extreme to the other so it pays to be prepared for wintery weather that can be lurking right around the corner. Here are a few tips to help protect your home and your pipes from Jack Frost's bite.
  • Reduce drafts. Keep doors and windows near your water pipes closed during cold weather and seal any air leaks or cracks in your crawl space or basement.
  • Insulate! Pipes in unheated areas of your home (garages and crawl spaces) should be insulated. Also, replace any wet insulation, which is worse than no insulation at all.
  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses and rain barrels. Packing away your garden hose will prevent damage from freezing temperatures and may decrease your chances of bursting a water pipe.
  • Keep fats, oils and grease out of the drain. Keeping greasy food waste out of your drains will help to prevent clogs and sewer backups. Grease cools much faster in colder temps and improper disposal could quickly lead to a clogged sewer line and a nasty mess in your home. Can the grease and skip the disposal as you place food waste in the trash (or compost pile) where it belongs.
Find your shut-off valve. In the event of a burst pipe, you don't want to be fumbling around looking for the main water shut-off valve. Locate it ahead of time and be prepared to act in an emergency.
Media Ambassadors Help Spread the Green Word! 
Perhaps you've noticed askHRgreen.org in the news - and seen or heard from some excellent "green experts." These are our wonderful Media Ambass adors,  members of askHRgre en.org committees who have been invite d to serve as spokespeople in our work with the media. As part of their commitment, they attend annual media trainings, participate in media interviews as representatives of askHRgreen.org and the locality where they work and assist with special assignments.

Over the past year, our Media Ambassadors appeared on talk show interviews such as WAVY-TV's "The Hampton Roads Show" and WTVZ-TV's "Our Issues Hampton Roads." They participated in radio interviews with WNOR-FM, WAFX-FM and WJOI-FM. And they provided feedback on projects, including the development of co-branded askHRgreen.org materials for use by all committee members. Thank you to our 2016 Media Ambassadors:  Sarah Crawford, Fleta Jackson, Lisa Renee Jennings, Lacie Nixson, Erica Roberts, Elizabeth Vaughn and Lori Woolman. They represent the many faces, voices and facets of askHRgreen.org, and we wouldn't be successful without them. Look for them at an engagement near you! 
DID YOU KNOW?
Looking for a "green" speaker at your next community meeting? 
Just ask askHRgreen.org! Email your request to hrgreen@hrpdcva.gov .
Keep on being green
in 2017! 
askHRgreen.org