As the year draws to a close it is only natural for us to sit back and take stock of all we have experienced in the last twelve months. It is usually around this time of year that we start to formulate resolutions of one type or another to give us the best start in the new year. This year I am asking if perhaps you have room for a resolution for the environment alongside your personal promises.

I have drawn up a list of simple things anyone can incorporate into their everyday life, and the real effects these actions have on the environment. Some of these things seem so simple people can’t see the point in actually doing it because they don’t think it makes a difference. Believe me, it makes a difference.

Currently Australians only recycle 11% of their office paper. This is one of the lowest office paper recycling rates in the world. Please recycle your paper when you can. Each tonne of recycled paper saves three trees, 2.5 barrels of oil, 4m3 of landfill and 31,780 litres of water.

Australia consumes 850,000 tonnes of glass a year but only 350,000 tonnes is recovered for recycling. Thats around 1.4 billion bottles diverted away from landfill. Glass can be recycled indefinitely and the energy saved from recycling one glass bottle is enough to light a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours.

Recycled steel cans can be recycled into car parts, construction steel and new cans. Steel recycling results in 74% savings in energy, 90% savings in virgin materials, 86% reduction in air pollution, 40% reduction in water use, 76% reduction in water pollution and 97% reduction in mining wastes.

One leaking tap can waste more than 2,000 litres of water a month. Please check for leaks in taps, pipes and dishwasher hoses regularly. Water is too precious to be poured down the drain!

Try swapping your car for your bike once a week. A bike causes no air pollution, does not add to global warming, does not use fossil fuels and does not send toxic chemicals into the air. Plus, cyclists are fitter, heathier and less stressed than their car driving counterparts.

So instead of just focussing on ourselves with our resolutions this new year, let’s consider what steps we can take to help our environment. Please try to incorporate some eco-friendly actions into your life in 2009 – the earth will thank you for it.