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Things To Do

7 Little Things Every New Yorker Can Do To Help The Environment

Katherine Ripley Katherine Ripley

7 Little Things Every New Yorker Can Do To Help The Environment

 

New York City produces a ridiculous amount of pollution, be it air pollution, water pollution, or light pollution. But as a New Yorker, there are little things you can do to make the world a little cleaner. Here are 7:

 

1. Say No To Plastic Bags

[Ars Electronica/Flickr]
[Ars Electronica/Flickr]
Plastic bags are a waste of energy to produce, and they don’t break down if you throw them away. Paper is an okay alternative, but what you should really do is get reusable bags. Besides being better for the environment, reusable bags also make carrying groceries much easier. 

 

2. Always Recycle

[J J/Flickr]
[J J/Flickr]
This one is a no-brainer. Figure out what your building’s recycling policy is. Are they single stream, where you just put recyclables in with trash and they are separated later, or do you have to do the separating yourself? The less material goes in landfills, the better.

 

3. Never Throw Trash On The Subway Tracks

[MTA/Flickr]
[MTA/Flickr]
Most of the garbage that people toss onto the subway tracks ends up in the ocean. There is absolutely no reason to chuck your garbage down there when there are trash cans on every platform.

 

4. Compost

[ERiKA/Flickr]
[ERiKA/Flickr]
Food waste is a significant portion of our trash, and composting is a great way to reduce food waste. Even if you don’t have any plants to use the compost on, there are compost centers throughout the city that will take the compost you create.

 

5. Buy Local

[Joe Senft/Flickr]
[Joe Senft/Flickr]
Shopping at farmers’ markets and food co-ops is much more environmentally friendly than shopping at big grocery store chains. If the food is produced close to the city, it requires less fossil fuels to transport it to the store.

 

6. Turn Off Your Radiator

[Kristen/Flickr]
[Kristen/Flickr]
If you’re too hot, don’t open the window. Turn off the radiator by closing the valve. You might not be paying for the heat, but that’s a lot of wasted energy doing a disservice to the planet.

 

7. Don’t Run Your Air Conditioner Too Much

[takomabibelot/Flickr]
[takomabibelot/Flickr]
Window air conditioners are a necessity in the summer in this city, but try to limit how much you use them, because they use a lot of electricity. The less energy you are using, the better off the environment is.

 

Cover photo credit: Runs With Scissors/Flickr