Tips for living green, part 1: Reduce, reuse, recycle

There are so many ways that your actions, both large and small, can help make your community and the world at large a healthier place. In this series, we’ll touch on a few ways you can make changes to “live green.” 

Are you using the amount of resources that you need? Are you disposing of the products you use in a way that doesn’t harm the environment? Here are some tips on reducing your consumption, repurposing useful items and recycling others. 


  • Use less. Think about how much you consume on a daily basis. Can you start by just using less? Watch “The Story of Stuff” with Annie Leonard to learn more about simplifying your life.
  • Drink from refillable bottles. Disposable plastic bottles use up a lot of resources. Buy a reusable plastic or metal container from which to drink water, and while you’re at it, get your daily Starbucks fix poured directly into an insulated coffee tumbler.


  • Upcycle. Many items you use can be creatively reused. Are you into DIY or crafting? Make some nifty decorative or storage items out of materials such as bottles, boxes or old magazines. Check out San Mateo County's RecycleWorks or some Pinterest boards to spark your imagination.
  • Donate. You might not want that coat anymore, but chances are someone else will. You can donate used clothing, books, kitchen items or furniture in good condition to Goodwill or Salvation Army. They will even pick things up from your home. 


  • Put out the bin. In most urban areas, recycling has been made easy for us. If you have a blue bin in your driveway, you probably set out your recycling every week with the trash. If not, check with your local trash-collection company or search online to find out what services are available.
  • Give at the office. Does your place of employment provide recycling bins for those cans of soda left over from lunch meetings or those papers that got jammed in the printer? If not, see if they can provide recycling containers and disposal for everyone.
  • Dispose of electronics safely. Many computers, phones, batteries and other devices include toxic materials that can contaminate soil and water if sent to landfills. Take your old gadgets to a retailer such as Best Buy for safe recycling.
  • Do a bit of Googling. Not sure if something can be recycled? Many things you wouldn’t expect can be, from shoes to mattresses to hearing aids. Check out these 25 items you didn't know you could recycle

We do our part to recycle at USGBC. Join us in making the world a little more green! 

Learn more about how to reduce, reuse and recycle from the U.S. EPA