You want to be greener, but you just can’t afford that hybrid car right now and setting up a compost heap in your studio apartment just isn’t an option. Don’t worry, we get it. Going green in 2012 can be as easy as making small lifestyle changes that will add up to a big difference for our planet.

Buy less, recycle more

If one of your resolutions is to buy less stuff, than you already are on your way to a greener new year. When you buy something new, you are contributing to the environmental impact of the product from sourcing of materials to shipping. So, simply buying less can do a lot for the planet, not to mention your wallet. When you must buy new, keep your carbon footprint in check by donating what you can to an organisation like the Salvos and remembering to recycle those electronics.

Cut back on junk mail

This is one we can all get behind, because really, who likes junk mail? Simply put a “No Junk Mail” or “Addressed Mail Only” sign or sticker on your letterbox if you don’t wish to receive unaddressed mail items including catalogues. Register on the Australian Direct Marketing Association External Link‘s (ADMA) “Do Not Mail” register to stop receiving mail from any businesses you don’t currently deal with. Registrations only relate to ADMA member companies so may not stop all unwanted promotional mail.

Get a programmable thermostat

Remember that infomercial with the catchphrase “set it and forget it?” Well, a programmable thermostat does just that. The thermostat comes with four pre-programmed settings, which can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle, that regulate your home’s temperature in the summer and winter and adjust for when you are at home, asleep or away.

Buy local, buy in season

When you shop your local farmer’s market for what’s in season you save money and can be sure you are getting the freshest and tastiest produce. Don’t live near a farmer’s market? Don’t worry. Many supermarkets and groceries are doing more to highlight seasonal produce.

Got some more easy tips for going green? Share them with us below.

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