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The Dos and Don’ts of Being Green in New York City

Posted on September 22, 2010 in Travel Tips

Is New York one of America’s greenest cities? Certainly the Big Apple is on most shortlists of green cities in America, with Popular Science putting it at #20, but often it doesn’t rank as high as people would guess.

From an efficiency standpoint, at least, it’s hard to beat New York. With an incredible density and the best public transit in America, city residents effortlessly lead greener lives. However, the actively eco-friendly mindset has been slow to take hold in Gotham, where convenience is king. Never mind that in 2002 Mayor Bloomberg suspended the city’s recycling program for both glass and plastics.

Today, though, the city is embracing earth-friendly initiatives with a new zeal, and even the recycling program has been fully reinstated. Here’s how to take a bite out of the Big Green Apple.

The Dos of Going Green in NYC

  1. Do Take the Subway or Walk
    Sure, there’s a cab on every corner but half the fun of New York is walking its streets and people-watching on the subway. Pack your walking shoes and your smartphone, and you’ll be able to navigate Manhattan like a pro in a few hours. Not only will you save a fortune on cab fares, but you’ll reduce your carbon footprint too.

    Flying to the city? Book with a shared-ride shuttle service or find someone to split your cab ride on CabEasy.

  2. Do Eat Local
    While more difficult during the freezing winter, the spring, summer, and fall seasons produce a groaning board of delicious food. Patronize local restaurants that pride themselves on farm-to-table food like Blue Hill, Franny’s, or even the LCB Burger Truck, serving up sustainable, grass-fed beef burgers on the go.

  3. Do Drink the Water
    New York City has incredible tap water. While the city streets may be grimy and gritty, the tap water tap water flowing through the pipes underneath is pure. It’s even won many awards and comes directly from pristine reservoirs upstate. Not only is it safe to drink unfiltered, it is truly delicious.

  4. Do Stay at an Eco-Friendly Hotel
    You don’t need to stay in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest to enjoy eco-friendly lodging. There are plenty of hotels making a difference in the Big Apple. The InterContinental Times Square opened over the summer as the first 100% green constriction in NYC. Check out Kimpton hotels like The Muse or 70 Park Avenue for a chic and earth-friendly stay or book a room at the Westin New York at Times Square, which posts its green efforts online. Better still, stay at the Element New York Times Square West, which opens this December and promises to raise the bar for green accommodations in Gotham.

The Don’ts of Going Green in NYC

  1. Don’t Accept That Plastic Bag
    Everywhere you go in New York City, you will be offered a plastic bag with your purchase. As this hilarious-yet-sad mockumentary about the life of a plastic bag makes clear, they are extremely harmful for the environment. 99% of the time you don’t need a bag with your purchase and the easiest thing to do is politely decline it.

  2. Don’t Buy Knock-Off Goods
    While many come to New York City looking to purchase knock-off duds, there’s a dark side to this shopping thrill. In addition to copyright infringement, these goods are often made of toxic materials in less-than-stellar factories and then shipped here. Instead, treat yourself to the real thing and keep more junk out of the landfill.

  3. Don’t Skip the Recycle Bin
    Sadly, recycle bins are a little hard to come by on the city streets, but it’s important to remain vigilant. Pack a reusable water bottle, forgo the free newspaper at your hotel, and make sure the rest of your trash ends up in the proper bin. New York recycles paper, plastic, glass, and metal.

  4. Don’t Buy Tacky Souvenirs
    That miniature model of the Statue of Liberty? It’s probably toxic. And let’s face it, you’re not going to cherish it forever. Instead of loading down your suitcase with tacky souvenirs, take digital pictures to remember your trip or buy something reusable like a T-shirt or mug.

Ready to go green in Gotham? Visit Travelocity’s Green Travel Deals page and save up to 40% on your trip.

More Big Apple on IgoUgo
New York City Hotels
New York City Hostels
New York City Cheap Restaurants
New York City Outdoor Activities

Posted by apresley (Alison Presley)

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