Thanks to TimeOut NY for putting together a comprehensive way to start going green!
25 ways to go green in New York City
Quick and easy ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
1. Start at home
Even the busiest New Yorker can aid the environment by following your building manager’s recycling guidelines. Typically, this is as easy as separating out your bottles, cans, paper, cardboard and plastic from the rest of your garbage and disposing of it on the appointed days. Visit the Department of Sanitation’s website (nyc.gov/wasteless) for the basics—and tips on how you can do even more.
2. Don’t throw away your computer
Your old desktop may take an hour to start up and be impossible to shut down, but as much as you might be tempted to toss it out the window, don’t. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that 25,000 pounds of electronics are put into landfills and/or incinerated each year in New York City alone. Trash that dinosaur the right way by finding an appropriate collection event: Visit nyc.gov/wasteless for a list of upcoming recycling opportunities near you.
3. Upgrade—and get paid for—your old electronics
Or you can trade in your old computer—plus your cell phone and other Apple devices—at electronics superstore Tekserve (119 W 23rd St between Sixth and Seventh Aves; 212-929-3645, tekserve.com) for credit toward a new purchase. If your computer, cell phone, iPod or iPad is in working condition, Tekserve will give you a gift card for its value. Get your unwanted items assessed during store hours (Mon–Fri 9am–8pm, Sat 10am–6pm, Sun noon–6pm) or go online to get an estimate before you arrive.
4. Donate used clothes
You may have outgrown your purple phase, but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t love your once-treasured violet culottes. The average New Yorker discards more than 45 pounds of clothing, shoes and other textiles (like sheets and towels) each year, which accounts for approximately 3 percent of the city’s residential waste stream. Redirect your outgrown clothing, shoes, accessories and linens by going to nyc.gov/refashionyc (click on “donate”) or visit nyc.gov/stuffexchange to find out more about donating your gently used apparel.
5. Hand over your lightbulbs
You may think you’re doing your part by purchasing an energy-saving lightbulb, but how you dispose of the mercury-filled fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs has an even greater impact on the environment. Visit recycleabulb.com for a list of locations where you can drop off your unbroken CFLs at no cost, including many Home Depot stores.
6. Channel your eco-Lady Gaga
On June 25, fashion designer Kelly Horrigan (kellyhorrigan.com) will bring her upcycled fashion sense to Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward (195 Morgan Ave between Meadow and Stagg Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-715-4961, 3rdward.com. June 25, 11am–2pm; members $50, nonmembers $65, plus $15 materials fee) for a class in “Avant-Garde Upcycled Accessories.” Using geometric shapes as inspiration, students will turn would-be junk into haute accoutrements, all of them created from at least 90 percent reused material.
7. Donate to the New York Public Library
When you’ve finally accepted that you’re never going to read that copy of Moby Dick, consider giving it to the The New York Public Library, which welcomes books, DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes in good condition. The Mid-Manhattan Library is the preferred site for donations (455 Fifth Ave at 40th St; 212-340-0863, nypl.org), but you can contact your local branch to inquire about donating there (visit nypl.org or call 917-ASK-NYPL). For a citywide list of possible donation locations, go to nyc.gov/stuffexchange.
8. Host (or attend) an online stoop sale
Whether you’re cleaning out your closet or your pantry, you can put anything you don’t want up for grabs—or nab anything from a stick of butter to a queen-size futon—on freecycle.org. It’s free to join; create an account to list your unwanted goods or browse the message boards for items you’re interested in.
9. Learn the value of a great wardrobe
Lauded everywhere from TreeHugger.com to The Nate Berkus Show, Buffalo Exchange(multiple locations, visit buffaloexchange.com) is a recycled-clothing shop featuring the latest trends—much of it costing about $15. Your accepted items will earn you cash on the spot or credits toward a trade for more clothing. First-time sellers should call the store to learn what items are currently in demand.
10. Check out a swap meet
On the last Sunday of every month, the Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South between Sullivan and Thompson Sts, reallyreallyfree.org; 3–7pm) hosts the Really Really Free Market, which is exactly what it sounds like. You don’t need money—or anything to trade—to score everything from books and clothing to haircuts and admission to educational workshops.
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