Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Clark County makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on this web site. However, due to the possibility of transmission errors, HTML browser capabilities, changes made since the last update to the site, etc., neither Clark County, nor any agency, officer, or employee of Clark County warrants the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information published by this system, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked from this system, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at his or her own risk.

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Contact Details

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Buy local

  • Kitchen

     

    Fridge

    Week after week, we buy many food items that we never eat. So they sit in the fridge, grow a bit of mold, get stale or outdated, and we throw them out. Know your eating habits so that you only buy what you need and eat what you buy.

    As for that fridge, we can’t stress Energy Star enough. They’re required to use 20% less energy than unlabeled models. Fridges are among the biggest energy users within your home, so investing in an efficient machine will save energy and money for years to come.

    Food Scraps and Vermicomposting

    In Clark County, we bury around 45,000 tons of food waste each year—that accounts for 16.3% of our total waste! We can reduce that amount easily by setting out that food to compost. Or, if you’re looking for something you can do indoors, you can always use worms.

    Vermicomposting is fantastic if you don’t have a yard to build a regular compost pile with. Home vermicomposting systems generally use one earthworm species, the “redworm,” Eisenia fetida. You can use any opaque, nontoxic materials to house the worms. Makes sure the bin is not more than 18 to 24 inches deep, and a good rule of thumb is that you’ll need one square foot of bin for every pound food waste per week. You’ll have to do some initial tweaking with worms and material, but soon enough you’ll have a self-sustaining colony of gardening friends!

    With composting, it’s a try-and-try-again process, but you can learn more about composting and the Master Composter/Recycler program.

    Jars in Cupboard

    Having a set of jars around the house is a blessing to waste reduction. Take your jars to the store or farmers’ market and fill them up with goods. This way, you can cut out the unnecessary packaging that goes along with many of our groceries.

    You may be denied a jar-filling at the store—when shopping at the deli counter, for instance—because it’s against “health and safety regulations.” However, most managers will agree that there are no health and safety violations in wanting to jar your food. So if at first you don’t succeed, ask for the manager and try, try again!

    (It also helps if, when you are handing jars to the employees, to act as if you had done this a thousand times before. Since that makes jars feel like a common practice in the grocery store, the employee will have less doubt about this “abnormal” practice. It takes a little bit of courage at first, but you’ll get used pretty quickly to living sustainably!)

    Reusable Water Bottle and Coffee Mug

    Getting rid of that unnecessary kitchen waste—it’s easier than you might think. Think of how many bottles and cans you use each week, and imagine how many of those containers you can replace with washable, reusable items.

    Kitchen sink

    Attach a water efficient aerator to your faucet to save water, increase spray velocity, and reduce wasteful splash.

    Be concerned also with what you pour down the drain. Do not pour grease of any sort down your drain—it will eventually clog your pipe and leave you with an annoying problem. Avoid putting down any food scraps, medications, and paper products, too, as basically anything beside water and soap is undesirable in the water system.

    Dishwasher

    Fill your dishwasher to the brim each time you run it. Most of the energy used in your dishwasher comes from heating water; as such, not all loads are created equal. Running one full load will still save more energy than two half loads. And remember, always go with an Energy Star approved appliance. It’ll save you BIG on resources—41% on energy, 30% on water—and your bills.

    And a word on your soaps: use non-toxic, biodegradable soaps that do not contain chlorine or phosphates. What goes down your drain doesn’t simply go away. By making a conscious choice to use non-lasting chemicals, we can save our waters a heap of trouble.

    Handtowel

    Be sure to look for cloth towels instead of your paper towels. They’re washable and perfectly reusable—you can even make them with old clothing and cloth.

    For the optimal reusable cleaning cloth, though, look for microfiber cloths. Due to its ability to hold more than eight times its weight in water, absorb oils, reduce bacteria by 99%, and leave no residue, it is considered a much better cleaner than conventional cloths. Add on its long life and its effortless cleaning ability, it becomes a no-brainer for many homes.

    Produce

    Globalized food production has been a boon to many, but its cost on the environment, society, and cultures remains too high. Buy local to support farmers near your home, to reduce the energy use in shipping your food, and to get the freshest food available. Buy organics to fight against harmful pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in agriculture. Buy fair trade to promote good pay for the people who harvest your food. Buy the produce itself, without any packaging, to reduce your consumption of resources.

    Even better, though, is not buying your produce! Grow your food from your own backyard. Look to your garden for fresh veggies and fruit, to starting up a beehive for honey, or to raising chickens.

    If eating sustainably had to be summed up, it would be: Know where your food came from and where it is going. All with you, waste can begin and end.

    Reusable Bag

    There’s a reason why other countries impose taxes on plastic bags: they only end up in the garbage. They can’t be recycled (and they shouldn’t be—they clog up the recycling center’s sorting machines), and they can only be reused so many times before they go kaput.

    Life can be made so much simpler when you get a reusable bag! No more plastic bags or even paper bags! You can use the cloth bag for all your carrying needs: the library, work, small children…the possibilities are endless, and you only need to wash it now and then to make it last.

    Tiles on Kitchen Floor

    Makes sure what you’re walking on is made to last. Your flooring—in how it’s made, how long it lasts—can make a big difference beyond your kitchen or living room.

    Bamboo floors are a good idea—fast-growing bamboo, like wood, is anti-bacterial, long-lasting, and easy to install. Linoleum and cork are other good, sustainable floorings, and there are many other options to explore. Do your research before and know what will work for your home and help out the world.

    • Fridge

      Week after week, we buy many food items that we never eat. So they sit in the fridge, grow a bit of mold, get stale or outdated, and we throw them out. Know your eating habits so that you only buy what you need and eat what you buy.

      As for that fridge, we can’t stress Energy Star enough. They’re required to use 20% less energy than unlabeled models. Fridges are among the biggest energy users within your home, so investing in an efficient machine will save energy and money for years to come.

    • Food Scraps and Vermicomposting

      In Clark County, we bury around 45,000 tons of food waste each year—that accounts for 16.3% of our total waste! We can reduce that amount easily by setting out that food to compost. Or, if you’re looking for something you can do indoors, you can always use worms.

      Vermicomposting is fantastic if you don’t have a yard to build a regular compost pile with. Home vermicomposting systems generally use one earthworm species, the “redworm,” Eisenia fetida. You can use any opaque, nontoxic materials to house the worms. Makes sure the bin is not more than 18 to 24 inches deep, and a good rule of thumb is that you’ll need one square foot of bin for every pound food waste per week. You’ll have to do some initial tweaking with worms and material, but soon enough you’ll have a self-sustaining colony of gardening friends!

      With composting, it’s a try-and-try-again process, but you can learn more about composting and the Master Composter/Recycler program.

    • Jars in Cupboard

      Having a set of jars around the house is a blessing to waste reduction. Take your jars to the store or farmers’ market and fill them up with goods. This way, you can cut out the unnecessary packaging that goes along with many of our groceries.

      You may be denied a jar-filling at the store—when shopping at the deli counter, for instance—because it’s against “health and safety regulations.” However, most managers will agree that there are no health and safety violations in wanting to jar your food. So if at first you don’t succeed, ask for the manager and try, try again!

      (It also helps if, when you are handing jars to the employees, to act as if you had done this a thousand times before. Since that makes jars feel like a common practice in the grocery store, the employee will have less doubt about this “abnormal” practice. It takes a little bit of courage at first, but you’ll get used pretty quickly to living sustainably!)

    • Reusable Water Bottle and Coffee Mug

      Getting rid of that unnecessary kitchen waste—it’s easier than you might think. Think of how many bottles and cans you use each week, and imagine how many of those containers you can replace with washable, reusable items.

    • Kitchen sink

      Attach a water efficient aerator to your faucet to save water, increase spray velocity, and reduce wasteful splash.

      Be concerned also with what you pour down the drain. Do not pour grease of any sort down your drain—it will eventually clog your pipe and leave you with an annoying problem. Avoid putting down any food scraps, medications, and paper products, too, as basically anything beside water and soap is undesirable in the water system.

    • Dishwasher

      Fill your dishwasher to the brim each time you run it. Most of the energy used in your dishwasher comes from heating water; as such, not all loads are created equal. Running one full load will still save more energy than two half loads. And remember, always go with an Energy Star approved appliance. It’ll save you BIG on resources—41% on energy, 30% on water—and your bills.

      And a word on your soaps: use non-toxic, biodegradable soaps that do not contain chlorine or phosphates. What goes down your drain doesn’t simply go away. By making a conscious choice to use non-lasting chemicals, we can save our waters a heap of trouble.

    • Handtowel

      Be sure to look for cloth towels instead of your paper towels. They’re washable and perfectly reusable—you can even make them with old clothing and cloth.

      For the optimal reusable cleaning cloth, though, look for microfiber cloths. Due to its ability to hold more than eight times its weight in water, absorb oils, reduce bacteria by 99%, and leave no residue, it is considered a much better cleaner than conventional cloths. Add on its long life and its effortless cleaning ability, it becomes a no-brainer for many homes.

    • Produce

      Globalized food production has been a boon to many, but its cost on the environment, society, and cultures remains too high. Buy local to support farmers near your home, to reduce the energy use in shipping your food, and to get the freshest food available. Buy organics to fight against harmful pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in agriculture. Buy fair trade to promote good pay for the people who harvest your food. Buy the produce itself, without any packaging, to reduce your consumption of resources.

      Even better, though, is not buying your produce! Grow your food from your own backyard. Look to your garden for fresh veggies and fruit, to starting up a beehive for honey, or to raising chickens.

      If eating sustainably had to be summed up, it would be: Know where your food came from and where it is going. All with you, waste can begin and end.

    • Reusable Bag

      There’s a reason why other countries impose taxes on plastic bags: they only end up in the garbage. They can’t be recycled (and they shouldn’t be—they clog up the recycling center’s sorting machines), and they can only be reused so many times before they go kaput.

      Life can be made so much simpler when you get a reusable bag! No more plastic bags or even paper bags! You can use the cloth bag for all your carrying needs: the library, work, small children…the possibilities are endless, and you only need to wash it now and then to make it last.

    • Tiles on Kitchen Floor

      Makes sure what you’re walking on is made to last. Your flooring—in how it’s made, how long it lasts—can make a big difference beyond your kitchen or living room.

      Bamboo floors are a good idea—fast-growing bamboo, like wood, is anti-bacterial, long-lasting, and easy to install. Linoleum and cork are other good, sustainable floorings, and there are many other options to explore. Do your research before and know what will work for your home and help out the world.