Under the leadership of Mayor Mike Bloomberg, New York City has transformed into one of the greenest cities in the nation, thanks in large part to the city’s decade-long investment in a number of sustainability programs encouraging buildings and workplaces to convert to cleaner burning fuels and energy-conserving LEED lights.

While the number of sustainable workplaces throughout the boroughs is on the rise, a few local standouts have taken their green workplace to the next level by combining a sustainability-focused mission with an eco-friendly environment. Here are three of the top native New York workplaces where sustainability takes center stage.


Recyclebank is on a mission to encourage everyday people to recycle more and help create a world where nothing is wasted. Partnering with national brands and local waste haulers, the company, founded in 2004 in New York City, uses a consumer incentive model to encourage recycling and help spread the word on the importance of a sustainable lifestyle.

The results have been impressive. Since implementing the Recyclebank incentive program, the city of Bridgeport, CT has increased its recycling participation rate by 67 percent as compared to the previous two-year period.

Aiming to bring sustainability into the workplace environment, Recyclebank also boasts an eco-friendly business model that encourages its workers to develop creative, sustainable ideas that are published on its Facebook page and Twitter feed. In addition, going green is part of the company’s bottom line. This year, Recyclebank announced a 27 percent reduction in its corporate carbon emissions from 2011 to 2012 through participating in a carbon offset program.

Environmental Defense Fund

The leading environmental non-profit got its roots fighting against DDT in Long Island in the 1960s and has since grown to advocate for sustainable change in the corporate workplaces. Headquartered in New York City, the advocacy group is currently converting its entire Park Avenue office building from ‘dirty-burning’ oil to cleaner burning natural gas.

The organization is also committed to using cleaner transportation alternatives, and has a policy of locating programs near public transit and using train service whenever possible.

Staff members at all levels of the Environmental Defense Fund also participate in a Sustainability Council, which works hard to collaborate on green initiatives and discuss best practices that can be implemented throughout the organization. The advocacy group also publishes a handy sustainability handbook that helps staffers make smart environmental choices in their day-to-day life.

Sustainable NYC

Sustainable NYC is committed to providing customers with locally sourced, sustainable and upcycled products that meet the highest levels of ethical workplace standards. Transparent about its mistakes as well as its successes, Sustainable NYC recognizes that even carefully vetted, certified green products can sometimes miss the mark, and the company promises its customers that if a product is discovered that does not meet its quality standards, it will be removed.

This demand for highest standards translates to its New York City workplace. Sustainable NYC is a carbon-balanced company and buys carbon offsets to cover the store, product trucking and website server. The NYC storefront is also made of 300-year-old recycled timber and all fixtures in the store has been reclaimed and repurposed for use in the store. Outside the store, a solar-powered sign invites customers in to the East Village eco-store.

Winner of the Green America People’s Choice Award, the locally founded and operated company maintains a small business feel despite its success, providing an intimate atmosphere for the store clerks, vendors and staff that encourage everyone to pitch in to go green.

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Tamar Auber is a freelance writer whose work can be found on Examiner.com.