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What You Can Do

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Get green, because even small changes at the individual level can lead to big changes in our community!

  • Recycle! If your home or apartment does not have a recycling bin, visit your local public utilities facility to find out how you can get one, and what you can and cannot recycle.
  • Compost! With yard waste collection now broadly available, it is easier than ever to reduce what goes into your trash can, and consequently into the landfill. Non-meat food scraps, like apple cores, tea bags, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc... can be composted through the city's collection program. Even some food-soiled containers, like pizza boxes, as well as napkins and paper towels, can be put into your yard waste bin. For a complete list of compostables, or to get a yard waste bin for you apartment or house, visit  your local public utilities facility.
  • Walk, Bike, Bus or Zip! Walking and biking are not only great exercise, but a way to get out and interact with the community while reducing our carbon footprint. Need help with your bike, or buying a new one? If you need wheels, there are many Metro bus routes that can get you to your destination; or try car-sharing! If you do drive, make sure to get regular tune-ups, check tire pressure often, drive 55 instead of 65 (uses 10% less gas!), carpool whenever possible, and if you have a pick-up truck, cover the bed or remove the gate (uses 5% less gas!).
  • Buy or Borrow Local and Re-used Products! Why buy something that's been mass-produced through socially irresponsible practices, or flown half-way around the world when you can find local and recycled products that support our local economy? With dozens of artisans producing hand-made local goods, you can find almost anything you might need or want. Better yet-get thrifty! There are a number of thrift stores and consignment shops that offer clothing, furniture, appliances and more on the cheap. Or try on-line at FreeCycle and Craigslist! And don't forget to use that great free neighborhood resource: our Public Library! Don't forget your neighborhood farmer's markets!
  • Bring Your Own Bags! Can you imagine how many paper and plastic bags could be kept out of our landfills if everyone brought a reusable bag with them when they shopped? Do your part and tuck a canvas bag or two into your purse or backpack!
  • Go Paperless! Just think of opening your mailbox and not seeing a bill, or a catalog, or an advertisement.... It's possible! You can pay nearly any bill on-line these days, or by setting up an automatic withdrawal plan with your bank. Plus, there are ways to get off of catalog and advertising mailing lists: try http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs4-junk.htm
  • Clean Green! There's no need to use harsh chemicals to clean your house anymore. Get back to basics by buying eco-friendly cleaners, or better yet, make safe and effective household cleansers yourself- baking soda, lemons, and plain white vinegar are everyday household items that you can clean with! Check out National Geographic's Green Guide for household cleaner recipes.
  • Get Growing! If you rent or own a home with a yard, plant native plants and trees that will thrive in your area's climate with little effort. If you've got enough room for a small garden, it can be fun and rewarding to grow a little bit of your own food. In a sunny spot, try tomatoes or green beans. Got shade? Try growing salad greens, broccoli or beets. If you're an apartment dweller, you can still harvest your own greens in a window box. Try hearty herbs like rosemary, sage, and mint.
  • Conserve Energy & Water! Simple things like turning off the lights when you leave a room, or shutting off an unused power strip, can make a big difference on your electric bill, and save a lot of energy. Weatherizing windows and doors, insulating pipes, and lowering the thermostat, can cut down on heating costs too. When replacing appliances, buy new appliances with the Energy Star label, that way you can be assured of their efficiency. To save water, try low-flow showerheads and toilets, collect rainwater and use native plants and drip irrigation in your yard. Reducing your shower time by even a minute can save water and the electricity needed to heat the water too!
  • Volunteer! Whether through a neighborhood work party, a community social gathering, or one of many non-profit organizations, you can find a way to blend your interests and skills and lend tremendous support to your community. Getting acquainted and working with your neighbors is also a great way to make new friends and to build a strong, safe and sustainable world.

Source: SustainableCapitolHill.org

Despite our city’s recycling efforts, Seattle still throws away a lot. Our landfills contain paper that’s only used on one side, food that could be composted, doors and windows that could be re-used, and extra packaging. If you’d like to reduce your garbage, these tips can help.

Reduce

Avoid waste, save money, and protect our planet:

  • Reduce paper waste by stopping unwanted junk mail and phone books.
  • Print double-sided and learn other ways to save paper through the City of Seattle’s PaperCuts reduction strategies.
  • Bring your own reusable bags, containers, and coffee mug when you shop.
  • Rent equipment or share items via lending libraries.

Reuse

Reusing products cuts your disposal costs and supports a significant local economy.

  • Sell items you no longer want and find bargains at consignment shops, garage sales, thrift stores, online exchanges and auctions like eBay and Craig’s List.
  • Buy salvaged building materials and architectural pieces.
  • Rather than buy new hazardous products like bleach or car polish, get products that other King County residents have brought to the South Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Availability of free products varies, but may include: oil-based paint, household cleansers, wood care products, antifreeze and other automotive products. You will need to sign a release form before receiving any materials.
  • Many organizations can use items you no longer want. Do you have materials for sewing or art projects? Old towels, blankets, or sheets for pet shelters or vets? See Resources to Reduce & Reuse.

Source: Seattle.gov

less fuel-efficient cars can produce a whopping 1.1 to 1.6 pounds of carbon emissions per mile

For an eco getaway that’s a little farther from home, consider choosing a destination accessible by train or bus to cut down on your carbon footprint. Using public transportation also minimizes the stress of your trip (read: no driving or security lines). If you’re set on a far-off destination for your trip, the question often becomes: To drive, or to fly? Most people think road trips carry a smaller footprint than air travel, but that isn’t always the case.

A round-trip, non-stop flight for two people creates approximately 0.9 pounds of carbon emissions per mile, according to the TerraPass carbon calculator. So, flying creates a fairly sizable footprint compared to driving a small, fuel-efficient car – which creates about 0.6 pounds of carbon emissions per mile, according to Sightline Institute.

A round-trip, non-stop flight for two people creates approximately 0.9 pounds of carbon emissions per mile, according to the TerraPass carbon calculator

But if your car gets 21 MPGs or less, flying may be better than road-tripping to your vacation destination. Sightline Institute estimates that larger, less fuel-efficient cars can produce a whopping 1.1 to 1.6 pounds of carbon emissions per mile, making the footprint of your airline ticket seem much smaller.

To banish both planes and cars from your winter vacay, consider traveling by boat like eco couple Barnali Ghosh and Anirvan Chatterjee. Over 12 months, the planet-friendly twosome visited 56 cities in 14 countries, including China, Turkey, Russia and Italy, and rode in only one car – cutting their travel footprint by more than half.

 

Source: Earth911.com

What you can do to help.

Buy Local, if your goods have a smaller footprint, so will you.

Don't buy, share stuff with neighborgoods.com or join or create a community sharing meet

If you have to buy, buy recycled goods, used goods, or goods able to be composted or recycled.

Take your waste into your own hands, compost it yourself, re-purpose it.

Use public transit--those buses are running all the time anyway, make public transit worth it for your community.

Make an organic all natural sanctuary in your own home--you get a sense of accomplishment when you

 

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What you can do to help. Buy Local, if your goods have a smaller footprint, so will you. Don't buy, share stuff with neighborgoods.com or join or create a community sharing meet If you have to buy,...
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less fuel-efficient cars can produce a whopping 1.1 to 1.6 pounds of carbon emissions per mile For an eco...
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Despite our city’s recycling efforts, Seattle still throws away a lot. Our landfills contain paper that’s...
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