What You Can Do | Sustainability


  • Separate your recyclables. Glass and cardboard are recycled differently!
  • Keep your cans and bottles for return. They get recycled and you get your bottle deposit back.
  • Metro Regional Government's Recycling Hotline: 503-234-3000
  • Earth 911 provides recycling information by zip code
  • EPA’s Reduce, Reuse and Recycle program provides basic information on the three R's
  • National Recycling Coalition is a non-profit advocacy group

How to live more sustainably: quick tips

Spread the love! Pick your favorite green tip and pass it on.

Around the Home

  • Pay as many bills as possible online and put a stop to unsolicited mail
  • Consider using a laptop instead of a desktop; they consume less energy
  • Turn your electronics off and unplug them, even chargers, when not in use. Powerstrips that have off buttons make this practice easier.
  • Don't use lights if you don't need them. Turn them off when you leave a room.
  • Turn off thermostats when not in use. During the winter, close your windows and blinds to conserve heat. Put on a sweater if you get chilly.
  • Five-minute showers — make it a goal for yourself.
  • Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. If you shave, turn off the water and fill a cup to rinse the razor instead of running the water the whole time.
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. Line dry your laundry rather than using the dryer. This reduces emissions, saves you money, and is gentler on your clothes.

Purchasing Power

  • Use less. Think about what you need vs. what you want.
  • Shop at the farmers market and join a local CSA (community supported agriculture)
  • Support local restaurants that use food grown less than 100 miles away.
  • Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle (or nearest thrift store)
  • As much as possible, buy previously-used and second-hand items. It saves you money and decreases the demand for new products.
  • Instead of buying, share, borrow and lend tools, books, DVDs, clothes and other items with friends.
  • Forego buying paper towels and use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.
  • Stop using plastic bags. Bring reusable bags and produce bags to shop at retail and grocery stores.
  • Stop buying bottled water. Buy a reusable water bottle and refill it.

Out and About

  • Drive the speed limit and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
  • Ride a bike, walk, or take public transportation when possible. Carpool when it's not.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator. It's good for you too!

Creative and Sustainable

  • Learn fix-it skills (i.e. basic carpentry and mending clothes) so you can care for what you own. Just because it has a hole in it, doesn't mean it's destined for the garbage.
  • Make your own household cleaners from inexpensive, non-toxic ingredients.
  • Make rags out of old towels and T-shirts.
  • Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage.
  • Repurpose something. Get creative! Everything from egg cartons to old jeans can be repurposed for something fun and useful.