1. Learn about how NYC plans to send Zero Waste to Landfill by 2030. This will help us live healthier, save money, lighten our carbon load, and lead us to a new consumption culture.
2. Take the NYC Zero Waste Pledge and get a free cutting board or reusable bag while supplies last.
3. Buy differently. Don’t buy what you don’t need, especially food. Buy quality. Consider how long your purchases will last.
4. #ThinkTwice before you buy single use disposables or other items destined for a quick trip to the landfill.
5. Opt out of junk mail lists — and join thousands of other New Yorkers who are cutting down on the 2 billion pieces of unwanted mail received each year.
6. Carry reusables like coffee mugs, water bottles, lunch bags, utensils, and shopping bags. Get a free 0 x 30 Shopping bag for free at a DSNY bag giveaway. Order coffee ‘to stay’. Patronize take-out restaurants like Just Salad that offer reusables.
7. Buy refillables. Thanks to Loop, which is launching Spring 2019, many popular brands deliver products to your door in durable and refillable packaging.
8. Take a second look at secondhand — oftentimes it’s better than new! Local thrift and vintage shops near you at DonateNYC. Buy refurbished electronics at Reuse Store at Lower East Side Ecology Center’s E-waste Warehouse in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Find treasures at flea markets located all over NYC. Learn why reuse is so important Here.
9. Sort properly in your home / apartment building, in public spaces, and at work.
10. Find out if your building is eligible for special NYC Zero Waste programs enabling in-building collection of clothing and textiles, electronics and organics (food scraps, yard waste, food-soiled paper). If not, drop off clothing and organics at local greenmarkets. Drop off electronics at various collection sites around NYC or return them to manufacturers.
11. Recycle on the go. Sort recyclables by ‘blue’ (mixed recyclables) and ‘green’ (paper), ‘brown’ (organics) and ‘black’ (trash) in public spaces. No receptacles? Take recyclables with you.
12. Learn how to recycle cell phones, home improvement waste, appliances, and ink and toner cartridges. Learn which plastics and other materials CAN’T go into the recycle bin. Bring plastic bags and other film waste back to retailers.
13. Buy products that are repairable, backed up by a warranty, and /or come with spare parts.
14. Get broken lamps, electronics, furniture, bikes and more fixed at PopUp Repair and Fixers Collective events in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Handy? Fix items yourself with resources from ifixit.com
15. Host your own repair cafe in your school, senior center, temple or church. Inspo from WeHateToWaste: Learn a cool new way to mend your clothes!
16. Apply for up to a $2000 grant to start a repair project of your own via Citizens Committee and the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board.
Eat It All
17. Use the ‘sniff test‘ to determine whether food is fit to eat — not ‘sell by’, ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ labels (#Confusing). Store food properly. Download these A – Z Food Storage Tips Get More Inspo at We Hate To Waste.
18. Eat everything — including broccoli spears and carrot tops. Inspo from We Hate to Waste
19. Makeover the leftovers into new tasty meals with some of our favorite recipes.
20. Heading out of town? Clean out the fridge. Moving? Let Move for Hunger donate your non-perishables to the needy.
21. Ordered too much at dinner? Ask for a doggie bag — and don’t forget the bread! Better yet, bring your own zipper bag or collapsible. At events, enable guests to bring home leftovers, or donate them to City Harvest and other food rescue groups.
22. Arrange for collection of organics (food scraps, yard waste and food-soiled paper) in your building. Or drop off organics at GrowNYC greenmarkets, community gardens or other sites.
23. Get a grant from the Manhattan SWAB and Citizens Committee for NYC to start a composting center in your own community garden.
24. Learn to compost via the NYC Compost Project. It’s hosted by seven nonprofit botanical gardens and ecology centers that run small scale compost sites that process organics, and hold workshops and certification programs.
25. Create a little free library in your building or workplace. Start a Sharing Closet to let neighbors borrow vacuum cleaners, ironing boards and more. More inspo from WeHatetoWaste: Community Closets.
26. Share still edible food via a little free pantry, sharing shelf or community fridge.
27. Pool leftovers with neighbors and friends — and create a new social occasion. Watch this inspiring BBC video.
28. Swap clothing, housewares, toys, even canned goods, with friends and neighbors. One Upper West Side NYC building we know of hosts a swap event every spring in their lobby. Grab tips here. More Inspo from We Hate To Waste from cool Hell’s Kitchen Swap Event.
29. Bring — and take — gently used goods to Stop ‘N’ Swap, the free NYC Zero Waste community reuse events run in all five boroughs by GrowNYC. Watch Video
30. Swap online. Check out special Facebook groups devoting to swapping such as NYC Baby Stuff Swap — or start your own.
Borrow / Lend
31. Encourage your local libe to lend ‘things’ in addition to books. Get inspired by Sacramento’s Library of Things and Toronto’s Sharing Depot.
32. Handy? #Borrow tools from the South Street Seaport tool lending library. Looking for a job? Borrow a necktie from the Queens Public Library. Borrow a work accessory like a briefcase from the Riverside Library (Philly’s got a tool libe and a tie libe, too.). Hosting an event? Citizens Committee is happy to share video projectors, tents, bullhorns and more to folks running block parties, fundraisers.
33. Join Nextdoor.com and start to #borrow and #lend with others in your zip code, block or building.
34. Host a clothing or sneaker drive with Wearable Collections, a for-profit textile recycler. Founder Adam Baruchowitz shares his story.
35. #Donate art supplies to Materials for the Arts, construction and building supplies to Big Reuse, and electronics to the Prop Library at Lower East Side Ecology Center’s E-waste Warehouse in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
36. Consult DonateNYC (and while there, download their app) to locate more local thrift shops and other reuse organizations where you can donate and find used goods. We’re also hearing that City Opera Thrift Shop picks up.
Give / Give it Away
37. Start a ‘Free Stuff’ box in your building or other community space — let neighbors ‘take’ and ‘leave’.
38. Throw a re-gift party after the holidays. Celebrate National Re-gifting Day with office-mates.
39. Give away items online using sites like freecycle.org. Start a gift exchange among friends and family like Free Your Stuff NYC: Queens & Brooklyn Facebook groups. Join your neighborhood Buy Nothing group — via Facebook, or request a group at http://www.buynothingproject.org
40. Rent your stuff out using websites like Zilok and FatLama. Or just post the question on Yelp!
41. Rent a bike, baby stuff, formal wear, cameras, even graduation gowns.
Buy/ Sell/Trade Used
42. Sell, buy, or exchange online with others on Craigslist, eBay Letgo.com. 5Miles, OfferUp, AptDeco, Poshmark, KRRB, ThredUp. Explore Facebook Marketplace (search for an item, filter by location, and/or shop by category) or join Buy/Sell Facebook groups like this one, (search for groups or look through “suggested groups” for the one that feels right for you). Check out yard and stoop sales.
Can’t find someone to pick up your used furniture? Check out Furnishare who’ll come pick up gently used furniture and give you a share of proceeds. (Please share your own resources with us. Finding buyers who’ll pick up is a big issue in the City.)
Visit your local thrift, vintage, and consignment shops. This just in: Round Two New York. At this bustling resale market, described by the NYTimes as a place where clothes should be “touched, worn, cherished, offloaded and re-embraced,” you will rummage through newer and vintage styles by designers such as Supreme and BAPE. Check out hottest items on their Instagram page.
43. Drop off items with mercury, pharmaceuticals and other medical waste, motor oil, CFLs, gas tanks, batteries, and some art supplies such as paints and glues and all other solvents, automotive, flammables, and electronics at a DSNY’s Safe Disposal Event held in each borough.
44. Consult DSNY’s NYC Zero Waste “How to Get Rid of” page for how and if you can recycle or otherwise safely dispose of specific items including light bulbs, mirrors, Christmas tree lights, diapers, disposable coffee pods, luggage, bowling balls and more.
45. Consult Electronics Recycling Locations to learn where you can recycle electronic waste that cannot be disposed of or recycled via e-cycle.
Get the Low Down on Trash
46. Did you know that recycling is the law in NYC? Find out where the NYC’s mandatory ‘blue’ and ‘green’ bin recyclables go:
Learn how Pratt Industries recycles paper right here in NYC.
Watch this video to learn about Sims Municipal Recycling Facility who sorts all mixed recyclables for processing into new products by manufacturers. Schedule a tour.
47. Learn how to compost. Visit a compost site, urban farm or community compost garden. Learn more about all the ways NYC deals with its food scraps in this NY Times article.
48. Download a FREE COPY of “Creating a Culture of Recycling and Reuse in Your NYC Multifamily Building: Strategies, Tools and Inspiration for NYC Building Owners, Managers, and Interested Superintendents and Residents” from the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board. Sign up for the GrowNYC Newsletter to learn more about NYC Zero Waste efforts and Upper West Side Recycling Newsletter.
49. Check out DSNY’s NYC Zero Waste informational videos.
50. Visit the unofficial ‘Trash Museum’ in East Harlem. Watch this CBS video, too.
Engage Your Networks
51. Teach kids how to grow food and compost.
52. Educate colleagues about NYC Zero Waste efforts, esp. how to prevent waste and sort properly.
53. Engage with your superintendent, landlord, coop board members. Order DSNY’S Recycling Decals and other educational materials.
54. Gently nudge others to align with NYC Zero Wastse efforts by encouraging them to reduce and recycle.
55. Share your sewing, repairing and repurposing skills at Coursehorse and Brooklyn Brainery classes. Teach friends and family.
56. Encourage manufacturers to design products and packaging with more recycled and recyclable components and use less material. Inspo at WeHateToWaste.
57. Petition for less harmful chemicals and more transparency in product ingredients.
58. Press for more NYC Zero Waste drop-off collection sites for organics, support for thrift shops and Stop ‘N’ Swap, and expansion of Materials for the Arts and other reuse efforts for all NYC citizens. Support Right to Repair legislation in New York State.
59. Urge elected officials to invest in public education efforts like GreeNYC, and other NYC Zero Waste recycling, reuse, and waste reduction campaigns. Lobby for an high impact marketing campaign to inspire New Yorkers to change their consumption habits.
60. Lobby NY State elected officials to support a 5 cent fee on shopping bags in supermarkets.
We at WeHateToWaste.com are on a mission: change consumption culture through the prism of Zero Waste.
Spreading the word about how consumers can help their cities achieve zero waste is how we fulfill that mission. This guide focuses on our hometown of New York City and our own NYC Zero Waste efforts — but everyone, everywhere can get inspired by these ideas and initiatives. Please share with us what you’re doing in your own city.
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Thanks to Sam Rosecan, Kathleen Emerson, Theo Stewart-Stand, Cait Harrington-Smith, Mariko Pietrese, Ashley Wolitzer, Ashley Felix, Shawn Dorman, Karen Jackson, Lili Guia for their help creating this page.
Image Credits: NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio announcing his plan for #OneNYC: Brooklyneagle.com; 0 x 30 Bag: NYC Dept of Sanitation; Repairing: Sustainable Flatbush; RefashioNYC: Pratt Institute; NYC Greenmarket, Stop ‘N’ Swap, Zero Waste Schools, Safe Disposal: GrowNYC; Paper Recycling Plant: Pratt Industries
Hi WHTW family!
I wanted to send a quick note to thank you for your resources page, some savvy students and I are getting a lot of use from it! We’re trying to spread awareness at our library about ways we can reduce our carbon footprint while also educating others about household/hazardous waste. In our search for inspiration we found your page here, http://www.wehatetowaste.com/nyc-zero-waste-resources ..it’s been tough finding non-spammy resources for the group so you have our thanks!
Your page gave us a lot of great ideas to get started on our endeavor, as a token of our appreciation we wanted to share another page with you that one of our superstars Mason found. It’s a list of all the electronics/appliances you can recycle at best buy, maybe you might find it useful for your page? Let us know what you think:
Hopefully you like it too! We’ve been gathering all the info like this we can to help raise awareness. If you do decide to share that page I’ll be sure to show Mason and the gang you liked his idea. I love sharing stuff so if you have any other needs or cool project ideas of how we can help please share! Thanks again and sorry for rambling, I’m excited about this connection. 🙂
Cheers and well wishes,
Reading Room Manager
How do a dispose of tooth brushes? Should they be put in recycling (they are mostly plastic) or regular garbage. This does not show up on you searchable data base (almost nothing does–every time I sear I get a 0 result response; why is that data base so small?)