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Things YOU Can Do ... Let's Get Started

Westfield is a wonderful neighborhood to live in.  We welcome you to join in the effort to help our community be more sustainable and thrive.  Here are some ways residents can help to make a difference.

Regularly Recycle

Landfilling isn't sustainable.  Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.  Baltimore has a single-stream program that makes recycling easy.  Use a city recycling bin or mark your own container for recycling.  Click on the link here to learn more about recycling.

Take a BGE Energy Check-Up

An energy auditor will check your insulation, heating and cooling, lighting, appliances and more to identify ways to help you save energy and money! At no cost they'll install LED bulbs, faucet aerators, fixed-flow shower heads, water heater pipe insulation and more.

Report Illegal Dumping

Report illegal dumping through the Chesapeake Safety & Environmental Hotline, 877.224.7229.  Report overgrown yards, abandoned cars, damaged walkways, water pipe breaks, pot holes and more through Baltimore's help line, 311.

Get Young People Involved

There are many opportunities for youth to learn about stewardship and engagement. The Baltimore's Farm to Food Bank welcomes youth volunteers.  The Parks & People Branches program offers paid internships. In April, each year, kids can take part in BlueWater Baltimore's stream cleanup, which includes Herring Run.  And the Baltimore Office of Sustainability invites youth to join their Student Environmental Leadership Action Team.

Install Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are good for your garden, your water bill, and the environment.  Attach one to your drain spout and watch it fill up when it rains. Just put your watering can under it and turn on the spigot. It's that easy!  Get a low cost rain water barrel at one of Blue Water Baltimore's workshops.

Hang Up Your Laundry

A study by Cambridge's Institute of Manufacturing found that 60% of the energy associated with a piece of clothing is spent in washing and drying it. Over its lifetime, a T shirt can send up to 9 lbs. of carbon dioxide into the air.  Make a difference by hanging your clothes on a line!

Reduce Your Lawn

Converting your lawn to a mixed landscape can save water and energy, while reducing yard waste and the need for fertilizers and herbicides. Attractive, low-maintenance landscapes add value to your property, enhance biodiversity, and can save you time and energy in lawn care.

Cut Hot Water Use

Turn your hot water heater thermostat down to 120 degrees and wrap your hot water heater in insulation (water heater wraps are inexpensive and easy for home owners to install). Use low-flow showerheads and wash clothes in cold or warm water. Run the dishwasher and washing machine only with full loads.

Buy Vintage and Thrift

Buying used things reduces your environmental impact in two ways: it keeps usable items out of landfills and it reduces the demand for new products. So next time you need a piece of furniture, try an antique shop such as Ryan's Relics.  Nothing will be made of synthetic fibers or pressed wood!  If you like treasure hunts, thrift stores and yard sales are a great place to find clothing, toys and household items. 

Sort Out Hard-to-Recycle Items

Baltimore's one-stream recycling accepts paper and cardboard, glass and plastic bottles, waxed cartons and juice boxes, aluminum cans and food containers, tin and other metal food containers, and plastics numbered 1-7.  One stream doesn't accept plastic bags, but many supermarkets will.  Lowes, Home Depot and Mom's Organic Market will recycle batteries.  Styrofoam can be recycled at the Sisson Street Recycling Center.  Rigid plastics (plastic bucket, car seat, etc.), electronics, and scrap metal can be recycled if taken to Citizen Drop-Off Centers 1-4.
Consume Less

We live in a society where everything is wrapped in packaging and so much seems to be disposable! Make a difference by improving your carbon footprint.  Watch this educational video, "The Story of Stuff," and start changing your consumption patterns today.

Make A Backyard Habitat

Make your backyard a habitat for birds, butterflies and local wildlife.  Even a small backyard can be landscaped to provide a haven for wildlife creatures.  Begin with small changes and progress at your own pace.

Start Composting

Composting reduces waste sent to the landfill. Buy or build a compost and create your own garden soil. You can also drop off compostable waste at the Real Food Compost Co-Op.  Or, for about $30 a month, have your compost picked up by a service such as The Compost Crew or The Compost Cab. And you can always put yard waste in labeled bags for free city pick up on trash day.

Eat Local Food

Part of our food's carbon footprint comes from the distance it travels before reaching our plate. Nothing tastes better than food grown yourself, so think about a backyard vegetable garden or fruit trees to supplement your groceries.   Whenever possible, buy food sourced from local farmers.  This could be from your local farmer's market, a CSA, or a grocery store that buys from local producers. Click here for more information.

Join in Community Cleanups

WNIA hosts "dumpster days" to help residents dispose of large debris.  Sponsored by the Parks & People Foundation, in September 2017 we also sponsored a trash cleanup along Harford Road. Take pride in your community by keeping your block clean.  Every year, the City of Baltimore hosts a Day of Service in October inviting residents to clean vacant lots, plant trees, help communities conserve energy, and more.

Use Reusable Water Bottles

Did you know that bottled water you drink in a few minutes can stick around for a thousand years?  If you care about our planet Earth, consider abandoning those seemingly ultra-convenient plastic water bottles in exchange for a durable, reusable water bottle.  Studies show that bottled water can contain phthalates, mold, microbes, benzene, trihalomethanes, even arsenic. Tap water is generally fresher and healthier!

Use Less Plastic

Baltimore legislature has been working toward a plastic bag ban for years, but a well-funded plastic lobby fought against it, and after Baltimore City Council voted overwhelmingly for the ban, it was vetoed by the Mayor's office.  You can make a difference by using reusable bags.  Students at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute are working for a styrofoam bag ban.  Check out the Baltimore Beyond Plastic website to learn about changes you can make and how you can get involved.

Try Retrofit Baltimore

Save energy and save money! Retrofit Baltimore is a non-profit community resource that makes it easy to upgrade your energy efficiency or go solar. They will work with you through each step of the process to make your home more comfortable and lower your energy bills.

Try Meat Free Mondays

Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, Meat Free Monday is a non-profit campaign to raise awareness of the environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week. 

Don't Waste Food

One third of the world's food produced for human consumption gets wasted.  Americans throw away about 80 billion pounds of food each year (1,217 calories per person, per day).  To reduce this, first people can be more aware of what they're throwing away. This EPA toolkit lets you measure and record your waste.   Second, don't buy bulk food if you're likely not to eat it all.  Finally, don't buy food you may not need because it's on sale. 

Recycle 'Non-Recyclable Materials?!

Don't know what to do with non-recyclable packaging?  "Terracycling" lets you upcycle otherwise nonrecyclable materials, turning them into new products.  Mom's Organic Market is the best place to take many otherwise non-recyclable materials. They'll terracycle your old shoes and jeans, Brita filters, health and beauty packaging, chip bags and candy bar wrappers, drink and squeeze pouches, old batteries, and corks. Bins are located near the front entrance of every store.  Schools and communities can raise money by organizing their own terracycling initiatives.  Participating companies invite groups to collect empty packaging, print free shipping labels, and receive a 1 cent credit for each package sent in.

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