If your home or apartment does not have a recycling bin, visit Seattle Public Utilities to find out how to get one, and what you can and cannot recycle. Their “Where Does To Go Tool?” can answer a lot of questions.
Reduce what goes into your trash can and consequently into the landfill by composting. Food scraps, like apple cores, tea bags, egg shells, coffee grounds, meat, and more can be composted through the city’s collection program. Even some food-soiled containers and packaging, like pizza boxes, napkins, and paper towels, can be put into your food and yard waste bin. For a complete list of compostables, or to get a green bin for you apartment or house, visit Seattle Public Utilities.
Walk, Bike, Bus or Car-Share!
With our bustling businesses and proximity to downtown, we have some of the best reasons to ditch the car! Walking and biking are great exercise, and a chance to interact more with your community while reducing our carbon footprint. Need help with your bike, or buying a new one? Community organizations and businesses like The Bikery and 20/20 Cycles can help.
For public transit, there’s the Light Rail, street car, and many bus routes that can get you to your destination — from across town to hiking in the mountains. You can even get rewarded with free rides through the Transit Go app. Or try car-sharing! Zipcar and Getaround offer access to dozens of shared vehicles on Capitol Hill on an as-needed basis with a low- or no-cost membership for times when you need a car for an errand. And if you drive, make sure to get regular tune-ups, check tire pressure often, drive 55 MPH instead of 65 (uses 10% less gas!), carpool whenever possible, and if you have a pick-up truck, cover the bed or remove the gate (uses 5% less gas!).
Buy or Borrow Local and Reused Products!
Why buy something that’s been mass-produced through irresponsible practices, or flown half-way around the world when you can find local and recycled products that support our local economy? With Seattle artisans producing handmade goods, you can find almost anything local. Better yet — get thrifty! There are thrift and consignment shops abound on Capitol Hill that offer clothing, furniture, and appliances on the cheap, including Goodwill, Crossroads Trading, Red Light Vintage, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Out of the Closet, and Used Furniture. Or try online with Buy Nothing, FreeCycle, and Craigslist! And don’t forget to use that great free neighborhood resource: our Capitol Hill public library branch!
To buy local food, shop the Capitol Hill Farmer’s Market at Cal Anderson is held every Sunday from 11am to 3pm year round to find some of the tastiest seasonal fruits and veggies grown here in Washington! You can also buy local produce in many Capitol Hill grocery stores, including the Central Co-op and PCC Community Market. Those who aspire to be waste-free can try The Naked Grocer, which offers everything from fresh produce, bulk bins, baked goods, and a cafe with minimal packaging. We also have access to local grocery delivery services, including farm shares and CSAs. For more information check out our page on eating locally.
Bring Your Own Bags and Utensils!
Can you imagine how many paper and plastic bags could be kept out of our landfills if everyone brought a reusable bag when shopping and reusable utensils when eating on the go? Do your part and pack some canvas bags and cutlery before you head on your way! If you feel like being crafty, borrow one of our sewing machines or join one of our monthly mending circles to sew your own fabric bag with our scrap fabric.
- >Go Paperless!
Think of opening your mailbox and not seeing any bills, catalogs, or advertisements… It’s possible! You can pay nearly any bill online. Plus, you can request to get removed from catalog and advertising mailing lists.
There’s no need to use harsh chemicals to clean your home anymore. Get back to basics by buying eco-friendly cleaners, or better yet, make safe and effective household cleansers yourself — baking soda, lemons, and plain white vinegar are everyday household items that you can clean with! Check out National Geographic’s Green Guide for household cleaner recipes.
If your home has a yard, plant native plants and trees that will thrive in our climate. If you’ve got room for a small garden, it can be rewarding to grow a bit of your own food. In a sunny spot, try tomatoes or green beans. Got shade? Try growing salad greens, broccoli, or beets. If you’re an apartment dweller, you can still harvest your own greens in a window box. Try hearty herbs like rosemary, sage, and mint. Learn more about native plants from Nature of Your Neighborhood and visit our Gardening Page for more info.
Conserve Energy & Water!
Simple things like turning off the lights when you leave a room, or shutting off an unused power strip, can make a big difference on your electric bill, and save a lot of energy. Weatherizing windows and doors, insulating pipes, and lowering the thermostat, can cut down on heating costs too. When replacing appliances, buy new appliances with the Energy Star label, that way you can be assured of their efficiency. To save water, try low-flow showerheads and toilets, collect rainwater and use native plants and drip irrigation in your yard. Reducing your shower time by even a minute can save water and the electricity needed to heat the water too!
Whether through a neighborhood work party, a community social gathering, or one of many nonprofit organizations on Capitol Hill, you can find a way to blend your interests and skills and lend tremendous support to your community. Getting acquainted and working with your neighbors is also a great way to make new friends and to build a strong, safe and sustainable Capitol Hill!
Sustainable Capitol Hill wants to help you get green, because even small changes as an individual can lead to big changes in our community!