|New York might be more eco-friendly than you think.|
Contrary to popular belief, New York City isn’t the antithesis of eco-friendly living. More than 50 percent of the city’s residents don’t own cars, so over four million New Yorkers reduce their fuel emissions by using the city’s public transportation system on a daily basis. (Bonus points for those who walk or use CitiBike.) Even if a lifestyle of vegan granola, coconut oil deodorant, and 5 a.m. yoga sessions isn’t for you, it wouldn’t hurt any of us to be more aware of our personal impact on the environment –– especially in such a congested metropolis. Here are seven easy tips NYC locals can use to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Mind the recycling.
NYC is home to a collection of luxury green buildings, such as The Solaire in Battery Park City and The Helena on West 57th Street. But even if you don’t live in a multi-million dollar apartment with an “eco-friendly” label, the New York Department of Sanitation still requires residents to recycle their waste accordingly. For many of us, that simply means tossing our mixed papers and plastics into a communal bin for the building’s staff to take out to the curb; so there’s really no excuse for New Yorkers to be lazy when it comes to recycling.
Use a glass or BPA-free water bottle.
Newsflash: New York City has very good tap water. (Yes, you can actually drink it!) Rather than spending wads of cash on bottled water, keep a stash of glass or BPA-free water bottles and refill them throughout the day. Too many plastic bottles end up in landfills or the ocean. If everyone reduced their consumption, it would make a huge impact on the environment.
|Reducing your use of plastic bottles can make a huge difference on the environment.|
Be smarter with Seamless.
Unfortunately, takeout containers are a hindrance on eco-friendly living, as well as a significant part of the NYC lifestyle. We’re never going to stop ordering in delivery. What we can do, however, is be smarter with our to go choices. Reuse those plastic containers for make-ahead meals, storing leftovers, or any other knickknacks you have laying around the apartment.
Before you pay on Seamless, check the box that says “No plastic utensils or napkins, please” –– use your own silverware and napkins (preferably cloth) instead.
BYOB (bring your own bag).
Carry your own bag, such as a large canvas or jute tote, when you go grocery shopping. Not only is it better than plastic bags for schlepping your stuff back home, but Whole Foods also takes up to ten cents off your grocery bill when you BYOB (it’s New York and every cent saved counts). Oh, and those little plastic bags people use when shopping for produce? Ditch them. Pile your fruits and veggies into the basket, wash them at home, and you’re good to go without the excess plastic waste.
|Skip the plastic bags when you shop for fruits and veggies.|
Dine at eco-friendly restaurants.
Leave it to New York City to take sustainable, eco-friendly dining and make it incredibly chic. Restaurants like The Fat Radish on Orchard Street is a favorite among fashionistas, especially during New York Fashion Week. And Foragers, with locations in Chelsea and Dumbo, offers locally sourced, gourmet food in an upscale setting.
Shop at eco-friendly stores.
Take your eco-friendly living factor up a notch and shop at green boutiques. Stores like Kaight (located in Brooklyn) only stock locally designed goods made from organic or reclaimed textiles, and they must be fair trade approved. Elizabeth Street in Nolita is also lined with eco-friendly shops to peruse.
Support local brands and green markets.
When it comes to food shopping, you’ll find plenty of quality products that are produced right here in New York, and supporting local brands helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
Freshly pressed juices from Red Jacket Orchards are amazing, Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt and yogurt drinks are a staple in my fridge, and I’m obsessed with Steve’s Ice Cream – the Southern Banana Pudding and NOLA Coffee & Donuts flavors are way too yummy.
For produce, it doesn’t get any better than the city’s green markets at locations like Union Square and Stuytown. And if you want a real dose of urban-style eco-friendly living, check out Brooklyn Grange –– a 2.5-acre organic rooftop farm.
|Do you have an eco-friendly lifestyle? Start by shopping local at the city’s greenmarkets.|