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5 Local Ways to Make a Global Impact, Right Now

Happy Earth Day to all!

There are hundreds of ways that you can help the environment today. Here are 5 easy steps to help get you on your way.

Just don't be this guy

1. Deplasticize

Ok that might not be a word, but you get the point.

3/4 of the half-a-billion plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. every week go to the landfills or incinerators. Making the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. takes enough oil and energy to fuel a million cars.

NYC has some of the best tap water in the country. And the best part? It’s free! Grab a reusable container, fill ‘er up, and enjoy!

And the next time your at Duane-Reade or CVS or Rite-Aid or Dag or Gristedes or wherever just simply say, “No thanks I don’t need a bag – got my own.” I don’t think the mega-chains will be insulted when you remember to bring your own reusable bag made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials. I actually think they’ll be impressed.

2. Make friends with worms

No, not those worms. I’m talking eisenia foetida.

From the Lower East Side Ecology Center: “The average NYC household throws out over 2 pounds of food waste each day, amounting to over 3,000 tons of organic matter that must be trucked off to distant landfills. In a landfill, organic matter breaks down in the absence of oxygen, creating methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, which together with transportation impacts contribute to climate change.

Composting recognizes biodegradable materials, such as food waste, as a renewable resource that allows us to close the natural cycle — returning vital nutrients back to the soil, to nourish the earth and to green our City. By recycling food waste we are producing the very material that supports the growth of life itself: the earth!”

3. A greener building is a happier building

Buildings account for 80% of New York City’s carbon emissions. Boilers that continue to burn dirty heating oil pollute the City’s air as well as contribute to climate change by relying on fossil fuels.

Tell your building to switch to a cleaner burning fuel such as natural gas or a mix of a cleaner grade of oil and biodiesel made with recycled cooking oil. Or better yet: go renewable with solar power!

Rebates are also available to help you switch out your old appliances to become more energy efficient with Energy Star appliances.

4. E-Cycle

We’re not talking electric bikes, though they do present an interesting argument for a new type of mobility. E is for electronic. As in the thousands of tons of electronic waste that fail to be recycled in the US every year. The components in many electronics can be incredibly hazardous to the environment – contributing up to 70% of the toxins found in landfills. Recycling old electronics helps keep those toxins out of our landfills.

5. Eat better than organic

Eat local. Buying food grown and raised locally (within 150 miles of NYC) rather than produce that has been shipped from across the country (or even internationally) significantly reduces your carbon footprint and supports the local economies.

Join a CSA, shop at the local greenmarkets or even better: eat (extremely) locally and green your roof at the same time by farming on your rooftop!

And one more for good luck:

6. Go ride a bike

It’s the most sustainable form of transport out there. And why not, it is a beautiful day outside today! Have a great Earth Day everyone!


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