Sustainable Living in the City: Tips for an Eco-Friendly Community and Lifestyle

Posted on Monday May 02, 2016 |



While many New York City multifamily properties seek to adopt sustainable living practices and create eco-friendly communities, not everyone possesses the knowledge of where to begin such an endeavor. Here are some effective and easy tips to help you be proactive and successful in achieving your “green goals.”

Read on for a list of programs and services that can be implemented at your property at little to no cost!
 
1. Document Shredding
Community shredding events provide an easy, efficient way for residents to eliminate clutter while ensuring the safe, secure disposal of their confidential documents. Your property management firm can offer recommendations and make paper shredding service arrangements for your building. 
 
There are options for properties of every size and type ranging from onsite locked receptacles for daily collection of documents to periodic visits from a mobile shredding truck. With the help of a knowledgeable property management company, boards and building owners can determine the most cost-effective and eco-friendly option in order to provide a secure method for residents to destroy sensitive documents. Shredding services also help to prevent consumer fraud and identity theft.
 
2. e-cycleNYC
Recycling electronic equipment keeps lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials out of the waste stream and the environment. Depending on its size, your building may be eligible for a variety of on-site service options to conveniently and safely recycle unwanted electronics including TVs, VCRs, DVRs, satellite boxes, mobile phones, MP3 players, laptops, scanners, and much more. 
 
Options for multifamily buildings range from storage room cleanouts in properties with 10 or more units, to onsite collection bins of varying sizes for properties with 100 or more units, to outdoor, community-wide, educational electronics recycling events for properties with 250 or more units.
 
To get started in your endeavor, you can review the online enrollment form here and also discuss with your managing agent.
 
3. re-fashioNYC
Each year, New York City residents dispose of approximately 200,000 tons of textiles which include clothing, handbags, towels, curtains and other accessories and apparel. To make clothing donations and recycling as easy and convenient as possible, a partnership was formed between the New York City Department of Sanitation and Housing Works, a non-profit organization focused on fighting homelessness and supporting those living with HIV/AIDS. The outcome is re-fashioNYC, whose mission is to make unwanted clothing and textile donation easy for residents through convenient in-building drop off bins and pick up services, at no cost to the building.
 
To learn more about the program, including what items are accepted, eligibility standards, how the program can be implemented, as well as current methods of enrollment, click here or speak to your managing agent to get started. 
 
4. Seasonal, Building-wide Clean-Up Day
A proactive property management company, in collaboration with the board or building ownership, can take the initiative to coordinate a building wide clean-up day. After developing an effective strategy tailored to the needs of your property, residents can be invited during designated hours to recycle various products; donate clothing, electronics, and other materials; and dispose of unnecessary items from their apartments or storage units. 
 
Some buildings may wish to form a committee to oversee the selection of the various organizations that will partake in this initiative and, along with your property management company, can act as a liaison to coordinate a convenient date(s) for such a community event.
 
5. NYC Compost Project
The NYC Compost Project aims to reduce waste in New York City while rebuilding city soils by giving New Yorkers the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to produce and use compost at their property. A progressive and hands-on managing agent will be able to introduce to the board and building ownership the different workshops and courses the NYC Compost Project offers to New York City residents – from novices to experienced composters. 
 
Discuss this topic with your property management company and learn how innovative New Yorkers have been meeting the challenge of urban composting.
 
For more information on receiving technical assistance from the city’s compost experts, networking with other community composters, hosting food-scrap drop-off sites in the five boroughs, or purchasing low-cost, backyard composting bins for your property, click here.
 
6. Solar One
Solar One’s Whole Buildings program is an educational training program that works with an entire building community to save energy and promote sustainable living. The Whole Buildings program sends experts in energy efficiency and building operations to visit properties for on-site walkthroughs and workshops. 
 
Whole Buildings helps everyone benefit through reducing energy and water use, saving money, recycling, making the home healthier, and protecting the environment. Other services include assistance with organizing a Green Committee or an Energy Efficiency event at your building. For more details on Solar One’s mission and offerings, click here or consult with your managing agent. 
 
7. GrowNYC – Stop’N’Swap
Multifamily properties may also wish to consider waste reduction and material reuse programs such as GrowNYC’s “swaps.” The program provides an opportunity to find new homes for things you no longer need. Through GrowNYC, New York City residents are able to bring clean, reusable, portable items such as clothing, housewares, games, books, and toys to designated locations, and take home something new-to-them, for free!
 
To learn more, click here or open a dialogue with your property manager. 
 
8. Apartment Building Recycling Initiative
For communities seeking to improve recycling efforts by implementing training for building staff and residents, the New York City Apartment Building Recycling Initiative offers exactly that. This initiative from the Department of Sanitation can help your residents and building staff to improve recycling operations in several ways. Options range from on-site training programs to arranging outreach staff to visit your building to assess how recycling is set up and offer personalized suggestions on ways to improve. Also available free of charge are recycling decals, posters, checklists, and other materials to encourage residents to recycle more.
 
For program requirements and online enrollment, click here or inquire with your managing agent. 
 
Implementing sustainable living strategies is highly beneficial for your residents as well as the environment. Developing an eco-friendly community promotes longevity for your property while increasing awareness of nature-friendly habits. If you would like to further discuss or receive additional information on any of the above referenced initiatives, contact FirstService Residential.
 

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