Green Resources

The choices we make in our daily life, become the legacy we hand-off to future generations. By choosing local EnviroStars Certified businesses, you reinforce better business practices which in turn create healthier, safer communities and places to live, work and play.

Now you may be thinking, what else can I do? Here are some ideas and resources to help you.

Buy smart
Think before you add another thing.

Build green
Whether it's a remodel, new home, or a do-it-yourself project.

Conserve water
Drip-by-drip, don't watch your money go down the drain.

Electronics
What you need to know about replacing the "old" stuff.

Household hazardous waste
It's not garbage anymore! Find alternatives to common hazardous products in your home.

Lawn and yard care
Five easy steps to natural yard care and a truly green thumb.

Transportation and your car
Concerned about reliance on foreign oil, deep water drilling, and gas prices sky-rocketing.

Use less energy
It's time to unplug, turn-off, and put an end to mindless energy-sucking practices.


What's your E.Q. (Environmental Quotient)?

Take this quiz and find out!

What do I do with....?

Click here for recycling options.

How do I balance consuming and conserving?

Tips on how to be an EcoConsumer.

How can I learn more about Climate Change?

Join the conversation with Seattle's climate dialogues, and reduce your carbon footprint in the Earth Lab.


Buy Smart

Did you know?
That 1 in 10 Americans has a storage unit for all their excess stuff. Young people spend or influence the spending of $300 billion a year, or about 1 in every 3 dollars spent.

  • Purchase only what you need and will use: can you borrow or rent versus buy? Some neighbors set up co-ops for sharing tools that are a large investment but only used occasionally.
  • Consider what the item is made of: can you repair it if it breaks, is it recyclable, what is it's end-of-life disposal?
  • Select items that don't have excess packaging and buy from bulk bins.
  • Keep goods in use by shopping in thrift and consignment shops, and at garage sales; arrange "swaps" with friends.
  • Purchase local goods and services to minimize the travel and transportation needed to get them to you.
  • Choose EnviroStars certified businesses to let companies know that you care about the impact of their products and services on the environment and public health.

For more information on conscious consumerism, see: (External links)
2Good2Toss – quick and easy materials exchange site
Buy Different – be different, live different, buy different
EcoConsumer – balance consuming and conserving
Green Seal – certified products and services
The New American Dream – live consciously, buy wisely, make a difference
Greener Choices – Consumer Reports product guide for a better planet
Healthy Stuff – toys, cosmetics, pet products tested for toxic ingredients
Worldwatch Institute – 10 ways to go green and save green.

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Build Green

Did you know?
That Washington State has the highest number of LEED certified buildings?

Lead paint still poses a threat in older homes?

For more information on green building see: (External links)
Built Green - environmentally friendly home building methods and services
Green Tools - all kinds of green building resources
The Home Know It All - green remodel, home improvement, repair and design
Reusable Building Materials - King Co; Pierce County
City of Seattle Green Building Program

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Conserve and Protect Water

Did you know?
For most households, the vast majority of water is used indoors. You can get the biggest water savings in your home by installing efficient fixtures and fixing leaks. Using less water saves money on your utility bills, and is good for the environment.

  • Wash full loads of laundry to save water, energy and time. Research shows that many people under-fill their clothes washer by 30%.
  • Collect water that runs while you wait for hot water in the shower. Use it to water plants.
  • When washing dishes, use one sink or basin for washing and a second basin for rinsing.

For more information on water conservation and water quality, see:
Saving Water Partnership (External link)
USGS Water Quality Reports (External link)
Water Purification: an essential ecosystem service - fact sheet by the Union of Concerned Scientists (External link)

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Electronics

Did you know?
Electronic equipment, such as computer monitors, cell phones, and batteries, may contain lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants bound up in their components.

Your first line of action if you are replacing electronic equipment that is still functional is to get it to someone who can continue to use it.

If your electronic devices are no longer working, your next step is to find a recycler that will either repair it for reuse, or dismantle the equipment in a way that protects those handling the parts, the community where the work is being done, and which makes every effort to reclaim valuable components and properly manage what remains for disposal.

For more information on electronics recycling and selecting electronic equipment, see:
FREE Electronic Product Recycling (External link)
Take It Back Network (External link)
Electronic Product Environmental Assessment tool (External link)

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Household Hazardous Waste

Did you know?
  • Americans generate 1.6 million tons of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) per year. (US EPA)
  • The average home can accumulate as much as 100 pounds of HHW in the basement and garage and in storage closets, from pesticides to paint thinner to leftover medications.
  • More and more is being learned about the hazards of, and potential for unsafe exposure to toxics in our homes, from every day items such as toys, beauty products, and cleaners.

Resources for information on safer products:
Free home health assessment - follow the do-it-yourself guide, or schedule a Master Home Environmentalist visit
Safer products for kids - a website hosted by the Washington Toxics Coalition
Toxic Free Tips - an information resource for households, schools, and workers

See your local jurisdiction for information on alternatives to hazardous materials and how to dispose of hazardous wastes:

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Lawn and Yard Care

Did You Know?
Sixteen pesticides have been detected in Northwest water bodies at levels that exceed standards set to protect aquatic life. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), one of those pesticides, 2-4D, is a component of weed-and-feed products.

Control pests naturally by building healthy soil, pulling weeds, and attracting birds and pest-eating insects, rather than by relying on weed killers and pesticides.

Consider using a hand-powered mower to cut your lawn. It conserves energy! No matter what mower you use, leave the clippings on the lawn for a natural fertilizer. Minimize the amount of yard planted as lawn altogether.

Select drought- and disease-resistant, native plants. Choosing the right plant for the right place, makes the difference between thriving and replacing next season.

Water deeply, but infrequently to encourage strong root systems. Also, consider letting your lawn go dormant during the summer by not watering it all. Water only in the early morning or at night to avoid evaporation.

Resources (External Links):
How to Choose a Landscape Company – questions you can ask to find an environmentally responsible landscaper
Audubon Society healthy yard invitation - create a sanctuary for wildlife
Good Bugs - only about 5% of those creepy crawlers are "bad" bugs, see how the rest help you in the garden
Grow Smart, Grow Safe - consumer guide to lawn and garden products
IPMopedia - Connecting gardeners and experts for green gardening solutions
Natural Landscaping guide - design, build, and maintain resource efficient landscapes
Natural Yard Care tips
Pollination: An essential ecosystem service - fact sheet by the Union of Concerned Scientists
Yard Talk TV segments - "dirt simple tips"

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Transportation and Your Car

Did you know?
By some estimates, over 50% of America's urban land is devoted to accommodating cars. Furthermore, most of America's 2.1 billion cars are parked over 90% of the time. That means a lot of urban land and a lot of vehicles aren't being used very efficiently. The average driver releases 25 pounds of global warming pollution for every gallon of gas used--if you drive a car that gets 35 mpg, you'll create 40% less global warming pollution than the average driver.

For information on alternative modes of travel and commuting options, see: (External links)
Bicycling in King County
Flexcar/ZipCar - car-sharing service
Greener vehicles guide - fuel efficiency and emissions information by vehicle
EcoDriving - steps to increase gas mileage and decrease emissions by the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers
Maintaining your car - quick tips to reduce pollution
Transit options - including statewide ridesharing services

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Use Less Energy

Did you know?
If every family in the US replaced one regular light bulb with an energy saving model, we'd reduce global warming pollution by more than 90 billion pounds, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road. (Federal Energy Management Program)

Power Plants in the United States produce:
  • Half of the nation's nuclear waste
  • One-third of our global warming pollution
  • One-third of the air pollutants that are a chief cause of respiratory-related hospital admission for children and senior citizens.

As a citizen, one easy thing you can do to help reduce your energy footprint is purchase green power from your local utility. The four major energy utilities in the Puget Sound region all offer green power purchasing programs. Links to their program web sites are provided below.

Puget Sound Energy (external link)
Seattle City Light (external link)
Snohomish County PUD (external link)
Tacoma Power (external link)

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, total green power sales in the United States during 2006 exceeded 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours, which is about a 30 percent increase over 2005. Your involvement in these programs not only helps reduce environmental damage, it also sends a clear message that investments in renewable energy are important to the citizens of this country.

For more information on energy conservation, see the EnergyStar Program.

US Department of Energy: Learn how to use the energy in your home more efficiently, and how to use renewable energy

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