New York City might be the concrete jungle, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of opportunities to give back and go green. Here are seven organizations and activities right here in New York City that will help the environment and encourage sustainable practices.

See Also: NYC’s 6 Best Eco-Friendly Clothing Shops


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MillionTreesNYC is an organization with the goal of planting and caring for one million trees across New York City. Twice a year, MillionTrees hosts volunteer planting days—the next one is Oct. 22—when volunteers across the city plant trees in public places. Additionally, MillionTrees will help you get a permit for a street tree outside your home and offer resources on caring for trees in the city.

Shop at GrowNYC’s Greenmarket

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GrowNYC is a hands-on, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the environment in New York City. They have several “Greenmarkets” across all five boroughs that offer fresh, locally-grown food. There is compost and recycling at every market, in addition to lessons and tips for green living.

Grow To Learn NYC

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Grow to Learn is an organization with the goal of installing a garden in every New York City public school. They believe that introducing children to gardening will change eating habits, promote physical and outdoor activities, form connections with the outdoors and more. To get involved, nominate a school or donate money or materials to the cause.

Slow Food

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The Slow Food Movement is dedicated to bringing better food to the plates of New Yorkers—better for not only the consumer, but also the planet. People interested in bettering the way the eat can get involved in a number of ways, whether they choose to be hands-off like attending Happy Hour or hands-on like volunteering on a local farm.

Build It Green! NYC

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Build It Green! NYC, based in Astoria, is a non-profit organization that take reusable, salvaged and surplus building materials and resells them to keep the materials out of landfills. You can support BIG! NYC by buying one of the salvaged goods (at half the cost!) or by donating money and/or materials. They will also come “deconstruct” your building if you plan on demolishing it by taking apart the usable pieces first.

Alley Pond Environmental Center

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Alley Pond Environmental Center is dedicated to preserving and protecting nature and wildlife in and around New York City. They offer several special programs and events—especially for children—that showcase APEC’s nature trails and wildlife.


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GrowNYC has sponsored city-wide recycling initiatives by putting curbside recycling bins all over the city. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to “go green” and promote sustainability in the city. GrowNYC has additional resources, events and guides on recycling on their website.

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