While preparing our first Green publication, which comes out at the end of the month, I’ve learned practices local businesses employ to lessen their footprint on the planet, and began thinking about what I and others can do individually.

With Earth Day also coming up, it seemed like an appropriate time to consider my efforts.

I first took stock of myself and my practices, because I’m a firm believer in practicing what I preach.

I started recycling as a little girl. We would save cans and donate them to a dialysis center in honor of my Grandma Alice, who underwent the procedure regularly before she died.

While I wasn’t necessarily thinking about reuse and keeping cans out of the Lander Dump in Wyoming, it was a small start to my environmental awareness.

Recycling represents the largest portion of what I’ve done in the past with regard to sustainability.

My college town’s trash service offered a blue bag program where all a person had to do to recycle was put recyclable items in a blue bag and put it out with the trash. That was easy enough.

Today, my fiancé picks what he calls trash out of our recycle bin telling me it doesn’t make the cut. I tell him I was hoping it wouldn’t end up in a landfill.

Since he is right, and many items I wish I could recycle I cannot, I keep the thought in the back of mind when I’m shopping.

While lining up champagne flutes for my wedding, we immediately assumed plastic would save us a good chunk of money.

However, we found plastic flutes cost only 5 cents to 10 cents less than the rental price of glass. The $5 to $10 extra dollars is definitely worth not being forced to throw out — even if it is into a recycle bin — 100 champagne flutes after one use.

This year I expanded my green efforts paying more attention to energy and fuel consumption.

We put up solar panels and we run our major appliances when energy costs are lowest during the day.

I also started driving a car, something I have never done in my entire life.

When you grow up in Wyoming and Montana making trips back and forth during the winter, four-wheel drive is necessary. While I’d grown accustomed to the feel of a larger vehicle, I’m loving the price I now pay at the pump.

There are more practices I could incorporate into my lifestyle, and some I already have and didn’t have room to mention. I strive to leave the planet in the best shape possible for those who come after me, and it is possible if we all agree to do so.