Five Steps to Living Green in Downtown Boston:A Monthly Column on Living Well in the Neighborhood by the Beacon Hill Garden Club

Living in downtown Boston, you share walls, floors and sidewalks. Your living space is likely to be small. You probably walk to many places. So you are already more energy efficient than many of your fellow Americans.

Here’s how to get even greener:

  • Walk, bike or take the T instead of a cab, Lyft or an Uber. Apparently the ride-hailing services are causing more congested streets and roads, spewing pollutants and thus causing even more global warming. You already suspected that, didn’t you?
  • . Recycle religiously. Boston’s website,, lists what can and can’t be recycled. Put recyclables and trash out on the morning of pickup, not the night before, to discourage disagreeable critters.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water. You’ll save money and, according to Consumer Reports’ tests, your clothes will last longer and be just as clean. While you are at it, use the short cycle on your dishwasher. At a lower temperature and a shorter time, your dishes will usually be as clean as if you left them in longer. You’ll reduce your utility costs too.
  • Do not buy bottled water. Why would you want to when you can drink Boston’s great tasting, award-winning tap water, coming straight to your home from the bucolic Quabbin Reservoir through the marvels of tunnel engineering? Bottled water is treated, poured into plastic and shipped long distances by truck. It does not contain helpful flouride and is not tested except by the manufacturer—at least we hope they test it. The small bottles are often dumped in the trash instead of being recycled. It’s an environmental mess all around.
  • Patronize the Boston Public Market and the seasonal, local farmer’s markets to get more organics, reduce trucking, support the local economy and save Massachusetts farms. You think these vendors are pricey? If you’re drinking a Starbucks every morning, you have no leg to stand on. If you’re genuinely thrifty, consider how spending a bit more now may save you doctor’s bills in the long run.

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