Sustainable Living

  • Think about your actions and the environmental consequences of your behaviors.
    • the solutions aren’t simple, the consequences may not be immediate, the consequences may not be local and they may be indirect (your behavior affects x, which, later on, affects y) .
  • Show your children how it’s done. 
    • Don’t miss out on teachable moments.
    • Help them build good habits early on. They will inherit the earth.
    • Volunteer at their school to help improve the 4Rs in their school
  • Support candidates at all political levels who commit to environmental issues as a priority.  (See also “Advocate”, below).
  • Shift to a vegetable-based diet.
  • Get a ULEV  for your next car.
    • maybe you don’t really need that/another van or big car
  • Buy newer/ more energy efficient appliances.
    • Water heater, refrigerator, heat pump (heat/cool)
    • Convection vs. gas oven
    • Use LED lights (not incandescent bulbs)
  • Upgrade insulation in your home.
    • Reduce heating & cooling bill
  • Investigate solar for heating water and/or generating electricity.
    • Participate in the Solar Coop to get reduce rates on rooftop solar
  • Reduce the amount of single use plastic containers. Strive for a plastic free lifestyle.
    • 90% of ocean debris is plastic
    • Use  reusable cloth bags
      • Place those cloth grocery bags on the front door handle, so they get back in the car when you go to the grocery store
    • Say no to plastic bags when you are just buying 1 or 2 items (that are already in a box) .
    • Reuse plastic bottles, and (fast food) containers.
      • Buy a re-usable water bottle
      • Use tap water (its tested more thoroughly, not stored in plastic and is cheaper than bottled water)
      • Make your own sparkling water (reduce glass consumption & cost)
    • Bring a reusable travel mug to your favorite coffee shop.
      • Avoid the disposable cup, cozy and lid !
    • Get a compost bin for your kitchen.
      • Use the compost in your yard or garden
      • Reduce fertilizer/runoff
      • Reduce methane (greenhouse gas) during organic matter decomposition
    • Ditch the plastic straw. 
      • Tell your server not to put a straw in your water or soda
      • Use paper, compostable or metal straws
      • Join our StrawFreeArlington campaign.
      • Contact us for details.
    • Pack lunch for your kids (or husband or yourself) .
      • Cut down on cost and on packaging
    • Re-use…….
      • Bring your own (bamboo) cutlery to lunch.
      • Wash plasticware and (re-) use when you go out or at parties you host
      • Bring your own plastic food containers if you are thinking “doggie bag”.
      • Wash the “Chinet” and plastic glasses/ forks/knives after a party
      • Wash tin foil and “Glad” bags and re-use 
        • Tin foil is recyclable if it does not have food on it!
      • Use cloth or bamboo/rayon towels instead of paper towels
      • Use “bees wrap” instead of “saran wrap” on cheese , fruits, veggies bread, etc. Its washable.
      • Buy party-ware at Goodwill 
        • Glass champagne flutes and wine glasses are so much more elegant 
      • Shop in your closet
        • Donate to/swap with friends (& drink some wine together)
      • Clean out the attic and donate rarely used & long unused items
    • Get or make a rain barrel
    • Buying in bulk where feasible (reduce packaging) 
      • check out your local farmer’s market or Mom’s Organic Market, for example, where you can bring your own containers .
    • Set the thermostat to 690 F in the winter and 790 F in the summer, 
      • Replace your thermostat with a programmable one. 
  • Reduce your lawn area 
    • Plant canopy trees and a diverse range of native plants
      • reduce urban heat effect & run-off
  • Provide habitat for wildlife, which allows for native plants and animals to flourish and saves money, energy, and time. 
    • Participate in the Arlington County Tree Canopy Fund.
  • Reduce storm-water runoff
    • Install rain gardens, swales, and rain barrels and reduce impervious/hard surfaces.
      • The Arlington County “Stormwaterwise Program” offers assistance to homeowners. 
  • Bike, walk, or use public transportation when feasible
    • Trim your waistline
    • Improve your cardio
    • Improve your mental health
      • time outside has been shown to be beneficial to well being
  • Go digital
    • Reduce paper invoices/annual reports/newspaper/books
      • try it before you discount it
  • Think twice about buying from Amazon, online  & big box stores. 
    • Packaging is often enormous
      • every boxed product is in a bigger box.
      • reduce it by consolidating your purchase/check-out only after you have several items in your cart.
    • Support local business
  • Join a group/volunteer:
    • EcoAction Arlington (R4 Action Group, Energy Masters groups), Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy
    • Help build a sense of community by supporting each other and getting things done
  • Participate in occasional events if you can’t commit
    • Ex. EcoAction Arlington.org  has stream cleanup events, an Earth Day bike /run cleanup, invasive plant removal events. We also support County Special Events (you can help w/ recycling, etc. at The Marine Corps Marathon, The Columbia Pike Blues Festival and more).
  • Advocate for awareness and change
    • Advocate via your HOA/condo association
    • Advocate via your place of worship
    • Advocate through your PTA 
      • School cafeteria waste is enormous !
      • Help your child understand what’s recycling and what’s trash
      • Use your school’s Food Bus if there is one available (or start one!)
      • Pack your child’s lunch with foods they will want to eat
      • Composting unused food is challenging, because adult supervisors are often unavailable
      • Teachable moment are often lost if you don’t intervene.
    • Volunteer at schools
    • Advocate at your running club/group
    • Get a group together and meet with County and School Board members
      • There is strength in numbers
      • Be prepared. Have a simple & clear “ask”.
    • Get a group together and write letters to:
      • the editor or ‘local’ journalists.
      • the County Board
      • the School Board
  • Review, modify/add to this list !
    • Share your knowledge
    • Build a community