Are you looking for a way to get your office or community group involved in “greening up” your city? There are plenty of great ways for small groups of people to make a difference, all it takes is a few hours of your time, a commitment to the environment, and a few warm bodies to help with coordinating and promoting the event.
Here are 10 great ways to get a group together and meet the challenge of helping your local community go — and stay green:
- Cleanup a vacant lot. Ask your neighborhood coalition to help you transform it into a small park with plantings and playground equipment. In large cities, a lot of these properties go up for tax sale auctions once a year, so keep your eyes on your local IRS website, you may be able to raise funds for ownership!
- Adopt a neighborhood! First, you’ll want to do a massive clean up day event, so make sure to have some snacks and rewards on hand. Take a half-Friday with your staff every few weeks to keep the neighborhood clean. Your city may even have a program where you can get a sign placed stating that your organization is the one that keeps the neighborhood clean!
- Plant trees and flowers throughout your community’s common spaces such as median strips and grassy areas near the curb. Make sure if you’re digging, you call Miss Utility so you don’t hit a gas or water line.
- Organize an electronic recycling event. Ask people to bring old cell phone, older computers, and other technology. Reward all of your donors with a free cookout, coupons for green-friendly retailers, or take-home treats.
- Organize a newspaper and magazine recycling drive. Let’s face it, most of us who work in offices just let our trade publications come in the mail and collect dust. Why not go office to office and collect these publications? Donate them to schools, libraries, or send them off to the recycling plant.
- Organize a “best yard” contest in your neighborhood with different categories. Focus on rewarding yards that are nature-friendly, such as gardens that are bee and butterfly attracting and those that use eco-friendly measures like rain barrels.
- Grab a group and plant wildflowers in unexpected places. Create flower-seed bombs to fill in small patches of dirt on public lands, such as a work out patch of dirt beside an urban convenience store.
- Are you in a city that has a ton of renovations going on? It’s a great time to make relationships with contractors and ask them to donate their re-usable waste. Those big 55 gallon paint pucks can be re-decorated to become trash receptacles in community centers and parks. The wood would make an excellent donation to local community theatres, gardens, and others that build things!
- Hold workshops in your local community and get utility companies involved. Have the experts come out and explain the simple changes they can make to save water, energy, and money.
- Adopt a park! Twice a month, invite volunteers to help keep the park clean while providing free drinks and pizza. If the park doesn’t have recycling facilities, volunteer to get a program up and running!