Posts Tagged ‘reuse’

6 Ways to Go Green in Brooklyn*

In go green on April 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm

(* and in Manhattan)

Since watching the documentary No Impact Man, I’ve become an obsessive recycling, composting, buy-no-packaging machine.  So in honor of Earth Day, I’ve decided to share some ways I do my part in creating no waste.  It takes a bit of effort but once you streamline it into your life, you won’t go back knowing your small efforts help the planet.

1.  Compost food scraps at the local community garden or Union Square Green Market

I don’t have any interest in composting at home so I prefer to save my food scraps and make a weekly drop at the Prospect Heights Community Farm, my local community garden in Brooklyn 2 blocks away.   Here are 5 simple steps to get started:

  • Find a community garden near you and ask them if they compost.  The Lower Eastside Ecology Center‘s booth at the Union Square Green Market is also a reliable option.
  • Save 1 or 2 milk/juice cartons and place in your freezer within easy reach.
  • Read this list of compostable items and keep it accessible.
  • Start putting scraps in your compost carton!  If you’re using a community garden, be sure to cut items in manageable sizes.  It also helps save space for more scraps in your carton.
  • (Optional)  Become a fan of International Compost Awareness Week on Facebook!

2.  Recycle un-recyclable plastics at Aveda, the Park Slope Food Coop or Whole Foods

New York City’s list of plastic recyclables does not include popular plastics such as yogurt containers, take-out containers, deli containers, Brita filters and caps & lids.  Here are 3 places that pick up the slack:

  • Rigid caps and lids sometimes noted with a #5 are recycled by Aveda at their Soho, Manhattan location.  More information about what’s recyclable as well as school initiatives can be found here.  You can also contact them for postage paid labels at 1.877.AVEDA09 or capcollection@aveda.com.
  • The Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn recycles #1, #5, #6 plastics as well as plastic bags 3 times each month.  Collection times and requirements like washing and removing labels are found here.
  • The Gimme 5 program at Whole Foods recycles #5 plastics as well as Brita filters.  Participating Manhattan locations are listed here but sending via mail is also an option.

3.  Recycle batteries and light bulbs at Ikea or Whole Foods

Neither company’s website lists any information but trust me!  Click for Ikea and Whole Foods locations in Red Hook, Brooklyn and Manhattan, respectively.

4.  Reuse and recycle plastic bags

I always opt for the bulk bin rather than pre-packaged items, saving not only the extra packaging itself but the waste created in manufacturing the package.  Plus, this way I get to reuse my plastic bags.  I keep a stash in my kitchen cabinet and grab them when I take my shopping bag.  Same with produce.

When it comes time to retire plastic bags, I take them to a large retail store since NY State law requires these places to accept them.

5. Use a recycled/recyclable Preserve toothbrush

Preserve Products, the folks responsible for the Gimme 5 program, make recycled and recyclable toothbrushes.  You can recycle at participating Manhattan Whole Foods locations or send via their mail-back-pack.

6.  Send old yoga mats to Recycle Your Mat

I’ve long been aware of Giam’s 50 Ways to Reuse Your Yoga Mat.  But as I pare down my life with less things, I prefer Recycle Your Mat‘s collection efforts for used yoga mats.  You can either mail or drop off at a participating yoga studio.  I’m taking mine to Mala Yoga in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Are you inspired?

Pick one thing you can do from the list above and try it out for a month in honor of Earth Day.  You’ll see how easy it is, especially living in a city like NYC where we pass by the many recycling hubs regularly.  So take an extra minute to drop off that Brita filter, compost or plastic cap on your way to work, yoga, brunch, etc.  Then, be sure to pat yourself on the back for creating no waste.  And lastly, spread the word!