Sustainable Ideas

Initiatives to Forward Our Mission

Planet New Canaan’s mission is to help New Canaan become greener and reduce the carbon footprint of our town. Every household in New Canaan can play a part.

We offer ideas on how you can make changes, many small, that collectively make big differences. Throughout our website, you’ll find sustainable ideas. If you aren’t composting or participating in the Food Scraps Recycling program, that is a good place to start. Check out how to recycle properly in our Recycling section…wishful recycling or not recycling properly causes more harm, and ends up increasing the burden on Connecticut’s failing incinerators. Subscribe to our blog where we share ways to improve your family’s sustainability.

Want to estimate your carbon footprint? Use the Nature Conservancy’s interactive calculator below. And then, take action to do better.

Image of many plastic bottles which create land and ocean pollution
Alternative to Plastic Grocery Bags
Reusable New Canaan Grocery Bag Created by PNC

Cut Down on Plastic

Reduce is the word for plastics. Here are some ways you can help.

Skip Plastic Bottles

According to EcoWatch, more than 1 million bottles are bought every minute. Plastic can only be recycled a few times and most plastic bottles never make it into the recycling bin — over 60% end up in landfills or the ocean. Skip the bottled water and either invest in a whole house water filtration system or consider buying a product like Brita Water pitcher. When out of your house, be sure to always have your reusable water bottle with you.

Reduce Plastic Bags

Eliminate the thin, single-use plastic produce bags found near the fresh fruits and vegetables in every supermarket…they are totally unnecessary! You have a green way to take the produce home: cotton or mesh produce bags. Bring them when you shop. The bags come in multiple sizes and are easy to wash.

Plus our local Walter Stewart’s Market offers compostable produce bags. Let’s hope more stores follow Stewart’s lead!

We don’t need to remind you to take your reusable grocery bags when you shop. The New Canaan reusable bag, pictured here, is available for purchase at Stewart’s.

Check out this blog for some more simple ways to reduce plastic use.

Your Backyard

Cut Back on Pesticides

In short, pesticides kill insects. In April 2019, a major study warned that 40 percent of all insect species face extinction due to pesticides—particularly neonics, since they’re the most widely used insecticide on the planet—but also because of with climate change and habitat destruction.

Insects are an important part of ecosystem conservation, and encouraging them will improve the health of your local environment (and probably your health and well-being too).

Get started with a soil test!  Don’t just keep on putting on fertilizers and chemicals onto your lawn or garden without knowing if you need them, or if you are even putting on the right product. It’s easy to do a soil test yourself. Click to find out more.   

Plant Pollinators. Give Up Some Lawn.

Plant native perennials, shrubs and trees in your landscape to help our local pollinators and birds.

For more information, check out New Canaan Pollinator Pathway. Also, watch Prof. Doug Tallamy talk about the importance of planting native plants to help birds and pollinators.

Mulch Your Lawn in the Fall

Got leaves? Consider mulching them in place to cut down landfill waste, air pollution and noise pollution while providing your lawn with a free, nutrient-rich fertilizer. A study by Michigan State University found that mulching is 100% beneficial for the lawn. Mulched leaves are decomposed by earthworms and microorganisms and turned into plant-usable organic matter. 

Honey bee pollinating a native flower
Native Garden that Looks Beautiful
Doug Tallamy and Book Cover of Bringing Nature Home
Fall Leaves on the Ground
All the lights on in house
Coils of a refrigerator which need to be cleaned once a year
Old refrigerator that needs to be replaced
Wool Dryer Balls in a basket

Inside Your Home

Reduce Energy Use

Start with a home audit. Cut your carbon footprint and save money. That’s a win:win! Eversource offers low-cost audits, rebates, and incentives on energy-saving products. Check it out Eversource’s energy-saving program here.

Easy Ways to Cut Your Energy Consumption

When you leave a room – turn off the lights!  Though this action seems to be incredibly easy (apparently extremely difficult for teenage boys), it’s one that most people often forget to do. Make it a habit to turn off unnecessary lights in your house.

Clean your refrigerator’s coils at least once a year. Did you know that inefficient refrigerators or freezers can be the biggest energy guzzler in your house? According to the Consumer Energy Center, cleaning coils can reduce the amount of energy your refrigerator uses by 30%.

Time to get a new refrigerator or freezer? Eversource offers a no-cost way to recycle your old appliances. You also may be eligible for a $30 rebate. Check out Eversource’s Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling program here. 

Use wool dryer balls in your dryer. When using three balls at once, the wool laundry balls reduce drying time by 10% and act as a natural laundry softener – so no chemicals needed. Add few drops of essential oil, and you’ll the uplifting scent. Good-bye dryer sheets!

Think About Conserving Water Too!

Want to conserve water and not sure where to start? Take this short water usage survey and learn how you can up your water conservation in your own home. Click here.

Spring Cleaning? Downsizing?

Get Rid of Stuff Responsively

Is Spring Cleaning happening at your house? Even if it’s not Spring? Here are some sustainable ways to keep those old belongings out of landfills.

Clothing:

  • Person-to-Person in Darien accepts clothing and household goods, and what’s accepted varies seasonly.
  • Our Transfer Station recycles textiles.
  • Consider The Junkluggers, an eco-friendly junk removal service which upcycles, recycles and donates as much as they can.

Sports Equipment: Pick Up Please. A free pick-up of  just about any used sporting goods – snowboards, skis, helmets, soccer balls, baseball mitts, and more!  The proceeds funds programs of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

New Canaan Swap Shop:  Coming soon…our initiative that is underway and promises to help New Canaan reduce waste!

 

 

The Junklugger picking up unwanted items
A closet full of sports equipment
Swap Shop image which is coming soon to New Canaan
New Canaan Thrift Shop Collectibles and China area
New Canaan Thrift Shop Clothing_Patagonia Jacket

Cleaning Out Closets?

In Our Backyard: The New Canaan Thrift Shop

Cleaning out closets? Rather than throw out items you no longer need or want, give them a second life at the New Canaan Thrift Store, located at 2 Locust Avenue. Proceeds from items sold at the Thrift Store benefit Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County, a member of Waveny LifeCare network.  

What’s Accepted

The New Canaan Thrift Store accepts the following items for donation:

  • Gently used clothing, gently used hats, ties, handbags and wallets;
  • Shoes and boots in good condition, jewelry and watches;
  • Children’s books;
  • Laptops, housewares,
  • China and decorative glassware, kitchen appliances;
  • Linens that are clean and free of stains;
  • Small pieces of furniture, antiques, artwork and collectibles.
Donations are accepted 9am to noon, Monday through Friday. Volunteers will check your items at drop-off to ensure compliance.  A tax deductible receipt will be provided.

Reduce Waste: Upcycling

Think Twice Before Throwing Old Furniture

Take this sustainable, creative approach of revitalizing old furniture — while keeping it out of a landfill — from New Canaan resident and college student Bella Grecco.

Bella has created an upcycling business that is sustainable by definition. A love for painting inspired Bella to take on rehabilitating old wooden furniture with a fun, unique twist. Started initially to make money while in college, her endeavor has become a passion. Bella sources the tired furniture on Facebook Marketplace, Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift stores or from donations. The photos of two of her finished, upcycled products speak for themselves.

The moral: don’t throw out old furniture. REDUCE, remember!  Perhaps, you too have a creative touch? Or save what to get rid for our Swap Shop (still to be named). Or contact us and we will put you in touch with Bella.

 

 

Refurbished table from junk
Refurbished chair with citysky line
One of the Eco Friendly Products available
Bar Soap Can Reduce Your Platic Footprint
Bamboo Paper Toilet paper

Products We Love

Eco-friendly: laundry and cleaning products: Blueland; Tru Earth; Dropps; Earth Breeze 

Cut down on plastic in everyday life with Blueland Foaming Hand Soap. You can make it at home in minutes by dissolving foaming soap tablets in a reusable glass bottle. Or better yet: Why not go old school and use bar soap? Many vendors make bar soap locally, so you are not only cutting down on plastic but also supporting a local business. Bar soap can be purchased at Walter Stewart’s and Whole Foods and, at our Farmers’ Market.  Off-season, you can always order Goat Boy Soaps online. Click here to go to Goat Boy’s website.

Recycled Toilet Paper. We are literally flushing forests down the toilet with our use of toilet paper.  Just Google the Boreal Forest and toilet paper to understand the problem. Commit to using toilet paper made from recycled paper. An added bonus is that your toilet paper is shipped to you in a large box with no plastic packaging. Check out this product…It can even be wrapped as a present!

Cut Down on Plastic

Reduce is the word for plastics. Here are some ways you can help.

Skip Plastic Bottles

According to EcoWatch, more than 1 million bottles are bought every minute. Plastic can only be recycled a few times and most plastic bottles never make it into the recycling bin — over 60% end up in landfills or the ocean. Skip the bottled water and either invest in a whole house water filtration system or consider buying a product like Brita Water pitcher. When out of your house, be sure to always have your reusable water bottle with you.

Reduce Plastic Bags

Eliminate the thin, single-use plastic produce bags found near the fresh fruits and vegetables in every supermarket…they are totally unnecessary! You have a green way to take the produce home: cotton or mesh produce bags. Bring them when you shop. The bags come in multiple sizes and are easy to wash.

Plus our local Walter Stewart’s Market offers compostable produce bags. Let’s hope more stores follow Stewart’s lead!

We don’t need to remind you to take your reusable grocery bags when you shop. The New Canaan reusable bag, pictured here, is available for purchase at Stewart’s.

Check out this blog for some more simple ways to reduce plastic use.

Alternative to Plastic Grocery Bags

Your Backyard

Cut Back on Pesticides

In short, pesticides kill insects. In April 2019, a major study warned that 40 percent of all insect species face extinction due to pesticides—particularly neonics, since they’re the most widely used insecticide on the planet—but also because of with climate change and habitat destruction.

Insects are an important part of ecosystem conservation, and encouraging them will improve the health of your local environment (and probably your health and well-being too).

Get started with a soil test!  Don’t just keep on putting on fertilizers and chemicals onto your lawn or garden without knowing if you need them, or if you are even putting on the right product. It’s easy to do a soil test yourself. Click to find out more.   

Plant Pollinators. Give Up Some Lawn.

Plant native perennials, shrubs and trees in your landscape to help our local pollinators and birds.

For more information, check out New Canaan Pollinator Pathway. Also, watch Prof. Doug Tallamy talk about the importance of planting native plants to help birds and pollinators.

Mulch Your Lawn in the Fall

Got leaves? Consider mulching them in place to cut down landfill waste, air pollution and noise pollution while providing your lawn with a free, nutrient-rich fertilizer. A study by Michigan State University found that mulching is 100% beneficial for the lawn. Mulched leaves are decomposed by earthworms and microorganisms and turned into plant-usable organic matter. 

Native Garden that Looks Beautiful

Inside Your Home

Reduce Energy Use

Start with a home audit. Cut your carbon footprint and save money. That’s a win:win! Eversource offers low-cost audits, rebates, and incentives on energy-saving products. Check it out here.

When you leave a room – turn off the lights!  Though this action seems to be incredibly easy (apparently extremely difficult for teenage boys), it’s one that most people often forget to do. Make it a habit to turn off unnecessary lights in your house.

Clean your refrigerator’s coils at least once a year. Did you know that inefficient refrigerators or freezers can be the biggest energy guzzler in your house? According to the Consumer Energy Center, cleaning coils can reduce the amount of energy your refrigerator uses by 30%.

Time to get a new refrigerator or freezer? Eversource offers a no-cost way to recycle your old appliances. You also may be eligible for a $30 rebate. Check out Eversource’s Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling program here. 

Use wool dryer balls in your dryer. When using three balls at once, the wool laundry balls reduce drying time by 10% and act as a natural laundry softener – so no chemicals needed. Add few drops of essential oil, and you’ll the uplifting scent. Good-bye dryer sheets!

Want to conserve water and not sure where to start? Take this short water usage survey and learn how you can up your water conservation in your own home. Click here.

All the lights on in house

Spring Cleaning? Downsizing?

Get Rid of Stuff Responsively

Is Spring Cleaning happening at your house? Even if it’s not Spring? Here are some sustainable ways to keep those old belongings out of landfills.

Clothing:

  • Person-to-Person in Darien accepts clothing and household goods, and what’s accepted varies seasonly.
  • Our Transfer Station recycles textiles.
  • Consider The Junkluggers, an eco-friendly junk removal service which upcycles, recycles and donates as much as they can.

Sports Equipment: Pick Up Please. A free pick-up of  just about any used sporting goods – snowboards, skis, helmets, soccer balls, baseball mitts, and more!  The proceeds funds programs of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

New Canaan Swap Shop:  Coming soon…our initiative that is underway and promises to help New Canaan reduce waste!

 

 

Swap Shop image which is coming soon to New Canaan

Cleaning Out Closets?

In Our Backyard: The New Canaan Thrift Shop

Cleaning out closets? Rather than throw out items you no longer need or want, give them a second life at the New Canaan Thrift Store, located at 2 Locust Avenue. Proceeds from items sold at the Thrift Store benefit Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County, a member of Waveny LifeCare network.  

What’s Accepted

The New Canaan Thrift Store accepts the following items for donation:

  • Gently used clothing, gently used hats, ties, handbags and wallets;
  • Shoes and boots in good condition, jewelry and watches;
  • Children’s books;
  • Laptops, housewares,
  • China and decorative glassware, kitchen appliances;
  • Linens that are clean and free of stains;
  • Small pieces of furniture, antiques, artwork and collectibles.
Donations are accepted 9am to noon, Monday through Friday. Volunteers will check your items at drop-off to ensure compliance.  A tax deductible receipt will be provided.
New Canaan Thrift Shop Clothing_Patagonia Jacket

Reduce Waste: Upcycling

Think Twice Before Throwing Old Furniture

Take this sustainable, creative approach of revitalizing old furniture — while keeping it out of a landfill — from New Canaan resident and college student Bella Grecco.

Bella has created an upcycling business that is sustainable by definition. A love for painting inspired Bella to take on rehabilitating old wooden furniture with a fun, unique twist. Started initially to make money while in college, her endeavor has become a passion. Bella sources the tired furniture on Facebook Marketplace, Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift stores or from donations. The photos of two of her finished, upcycled products speak for themselves.

The moral: don’t throw out old furniture. REDUCE, remember!  Perhaps, you too have a creative touch? Or save what to get rid for our Swap Shop (still to be named). Or contact us and we will put you in touch with Bella.

 

 

Refurbished table from junk

Products We Love

Eco-friendly: laundry and cleaning products: Blueland; Tru Earth; Dropps; Earth Breeze 

Cut down on plastic in everyday life with Blueland Foaming Hand Soap. You can make it at home in minutes by dissolving foaming soap tablets in a reusable glass bottle. Or better yet: Why not go old school and use bar soap? Many vendors make bar soap locally, so you are not only cutting down on plastic but also supporting a local business. Bar soap can be purchased at Walter Stewart’s and Whole Foods and, at our Farmers’ Market.  Off-season, you can always order Goat Boy Soaps online. Click here to go to Goat Boy’s website.

Recycled Toilet Paper. We are literally flushing forests down the toilet with our use of toilet paper.  Just Google the Boreal Forest and toilet paper to understand the problem. Commit to using toilet paper made from recycled paper. An added bonus is that your toilet paper is shipped to you in a large box with no plastic packaging. Check out this product…It can even be wrapped as a present!

Bar Soap Can Reduce Your Platic Footprint

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