You don’t have to join us to make a difference — you’re already living a “greener” life than many, simply by living in a dense, efficient urban city. But what more can you do?
Below are ten ways you can easily green your life in NYC, with links to more information. (These come to us from noted New York “green living” authority Ben Jervey, author of The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City. He also provides eco-consultation housecalls, if you’re looking for a personalized audit.)
- Change a Bulb: Replace all your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs) and save money and energy. Modern CFLs are cheap, come in many sizes and shapes, and some of them can even dim.
- Eat Local and Organic: Pick up produce at your local Greenmarket or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Organic food tastes great and is healthy for the environment; local food is even better. Learn more, and where to find it. If you’re a restauranteur, green your business!
- Chem-Free Cleaning: Keep chemicals out of your clothes and home with eco-friendly dry cleaning services (like Green Apple Cleaners), laundry services (like SlateNYC), and full-home cleaning services (like Ms. Green Clean or Zen Home Cleaning). For your self-cleaning needs, choose eco-friendly cleaning products, like those from Seventh Generation or Ecover.
- Green Power!: Bring renewable energy into your home through ConEd Solutions, NewWind Energy, or Sterling Planet. Alternatively, you can offset your carbon emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits (REC) with Carbonfund, NativeEnergy or one of many other REC providers.
- No More Water Waste: Conserve water by installing faucet aerators and a low-flow showerhead, which can be picked up at just about any hardware store.
- Curtail Junk Mail: Take your name off of mass mailing lists and prevent all the junk mail from ever reaching your home.
- Gettin’ Around Green: Use the subway and busses; ride a bike or walk.
- Recycling By Nature: Start composting in your kitchen or backyard — it’s really simple and the processed compost is nutrient rich and great for your plants. If you don’t want to compost at home, the Lower East Side Ecology Center will do it for you — just bring them your food scraps at a couple of drop-off locations including the Union Square Greenmarket.
- One Man’s Trash: Before you throw out anything, post on community reuse and exchange sites like Craigslist and Freecycle — there’s always someone looking for everything in this town.
- Mix and Mingle: Sip or swill Brooklyn Brews (100% wind powered) at the monthly Green Drinks get-togethers — a very casual mix of green-minded folks from any and all fields. And why not try other local New York beer & wine?