From farmers’ markets to local improvement programs, these green communities have an eye on being environmentally conscious.
Looking for a suburb that’s committed to sustainability? We’ve got you covered. With bring-your-own-bag initiatives, food scrap recycling, farmers markets, and neighborhood sustainability committees, these eco-focused towns are perfect for anyone looking for a “green” lifestyle.
#1. White Plains, NY
There are more than five miles of designated bike lanes along with shared lanes, so it’s easy to get around White Plains without the emissions. The bike presence in Westchester is huge and local cycling clubs often meet in White Plains. Consider joining so you can get plugged into the community while also cutting back on your carbon footprint.
These and other sustainable initiatives have a long-standing history in White Plains. In 2017, the town was named a Clean Energy Community. Even before, the Sustainable Committee was working hard to replace invasive plants with native ones.
As you’re touring the community, keep an eye out for “Plastic Free White Plains” stickers around town. These are popular markers highlighting local businesses working to reduce plastic waste, and great ways to identify eco-conscious companies in the area.
#2. Rye Brook, NY
Rye Brook has really gone all-in on going green. Single-use plastic carry-out bags aren’t allowed in town and there’s a small fee for any paper bags. Locals are used to the change and most carry reusable bags with them everywhere they go.
“I leave them in my car and I have one in my bag. It’s become a habit and it’s a really easy way to be more green and support the greater good,” Suburban Jungle NYC Strategist and Rye Brook resident Robin Hoberman says.
In addition to the bag ban, restaurants can only offer straws on request and polystyrene to-go containers are a no-go. Want to start composting? There’s a convenient food scrap bin outside Village Hall to drop your banana peels and apple cores.
#3. Weston, CT
Students lead the green initiatives in Weston. In 2019, Weston High School was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School, making it just one of 25 schools to receive the honor that year – and their commitment continues to drive community awareness and engagement.
So what makes this school so green? The curriculum includes the UN’s “17 Sustainable Development Goals” plus there’s an on-site garden and water bottle refill stations around the campus. There are multiple school clubs dedicated to the environment. Between the Fighting Against Climate Injustice clubs and the Green Team, students have tons of opportunities to get involved.
Outside of the high school, the Sustainable Weston Committee works to organize community events to help get locals involved in making the town more eco-friendly.
#4. Larchmont, NY
Larchmont made sustainability a priority years ago and its commitment to the environment is still going strong. The town has a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers and there’s a Healthy Yards Project encouraging locals to incorporate compost and plant native in order to reduce their carbon footprints.
The Environmental Committee puts on programs throughout the year like the annual Earth Day Celebration, food scrap pick-ups and crayon recycling.
#5. Greenwich, CT
Greenwich residents are dedicated to making the town as green as possible. The Sustainability Committee works on everything from beach clean-ups to creating a climate resiliency plan. In 2021, Greenwich received Silver Recertification from SustainableCT which recognizes the town’s efforts to address climate change.
The Greenwich Green & Clean group helps collect food scraps, remove invasive plants and pick up litter all in the name of making the town more sustainable. At the high school, students can join the Environmental Action Club or Sustainable Fashion Club to get involved with the green movement.
Anyone who wants to shop local can check out the summer Saturday farmers market for fresh meat and produce. Keep an eye out for vendors selling homemade bread and pies, too.
#6. Sea Cliff, NY
Sea Cliff is a walkable community where you can get around without a car – a huge plus for the environment. If you move to town, get your walking shoes ready since most locals run errands or head to the beach on foot. There’s even an annual car-free day to show just how easy it is to cut down on CO2 emissions.
From June to October, you can do your grocery shopping at the hyper-local farmers market where vendors sell everything from eggs to organic vegetables. Consider joining the Sea Cliff Beautification Committee if you want to help maintain the town’s parks and green spaces while meeting some like-minded neighbors.
#7. Westfield, NJ
Westfield’s Green Team is focused on making the town more sustainable and has helped the town earn a Silver Certification from Sustainable Jersey. The group encourages locals to take recycling initiatives throughout the suburb.
The town also participates in the Green Medallion program and local businesses are recognized for their efforts to compost, reduce plastic waste or follow sustainable practices. Be on the lookout for stickers in shop windows so you know when you’re supporting a green business.
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