New Year's resolutions are all about turning over a new leaf — so how about going greener in 2016?

Environmentalists like Rick Bates, with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, say it's easy to make a big impact, even if you start small.

"Best place to start is right around home," said Bates. Here are his tips for greening your New Year's resolutions.

Be an energy star 

Bates recommends getting into appliances certified as energy-efficient with the Energy Star rating.

Turning off the lights a bit more, idling the car a bit less and jumping on public transit instead of driving can also help.

Green your garden 

Bates says reducing the use of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides goes a long way in preventing contamination of local water. 

"[Otherwise], with the first good rain, [fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides go] into the sewer system and to the nearest stream, lake or river," said Bates.

Bates also recommends planting things that attract wildlife.

Take a nature hike

The hardest part of any resolution is making it stick. Bates says the key is to keep it fun and do things you enjoy. 

He recommends going out for hike, cross-country skiing, canoeing and taking photographs of nature to keep you on track.

"That's what helps a person take on the bigger task and stay motivated all year long," he said. 

Zero in on plastics

Bates says simple choices made at the store can make a big difference. He recommends staying away from products that contain microbeads.

Microbeads are little bits of plastic found in some facial scrubs, toothpastes and other personal care products that scientists say wash down the drain and are eaten by fish.

"That's an easy thing to watch for, products have logos that say 'zero plastic inside,'" said Bates.

"It's a simple choice that a person can make that sends a signal to the industry, that these are the kinds of products we want, these are the kind of policies we want."


To hear the full interview click on the audio labelled 4 New Year's resolutions to help you go green in 2016 on the CBC's The Early Edition.