Green Living

Join us on a journey to sustainable living and reducing your environmental impact. We believe everyone can make a difference in their daily actions at home, school, workplace or place of worship. Green Living is designed to help those who are environmentally-concerned get a great start on caring for our community. Here, you’ll find information about sustainable living practices to help you make informed, local, green lifestyle choices. By going green, our community will be more prosperous and enjoy a better quality of life. Together, we can make Carmel, and the Earth, a more beautiful and healthier place to live. And besides, it’s cheaper being green. Save energy, save the planet and save some money.

For a solid foundation to going green, we recommend The Low Carbon Diet, A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds, by David Gershon. This illustrated workbook offers much more than a list of eco-friendly actions. It walks you through every step of the process, from calculating your current CO2 “footprint” to tracking your progress. The Low Carbon Diet is grounded in over two decades of environmental behavior change research. David Gershon, founder and CEO of the Empowerment Institute , is one of the world’s leading authorities on behavior change and large-scale transformation.

Worksheet: What’s Your Carbon Footprint?

Here’s a quick checklist of Easy Ways to Go Green at home, school, work and place of worship!  You can also check out The Money-Saving Guide to Going Green at Home. You can also conduct a home waste audit. Model sustainable living and be an agent of change in your communities!

Our Handouts: 1) What’s Your Carbon Footprint? 2) Easy Ways to Go Green

Buy Green/Sustainable Shopping

Greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy used to produce, transport, process and dispose of purchases made by Americans. Buying green means thinking about the effect of purchases on the environment.

Eat Sustainably

According to Worldwatch, our food travels an average of 1,500 to 2,500 miles from farm to table. To live sustainably, we need to reduce ‘food miles’ and embedded carbon emissions associated with our food production. The amount of trash produced by the average American is about 4.5 lbs every day. You can begin to lower your carbon footprint through these simple actions: Buy Local, Recycle, Reduce&Reuse, Compost.

Buy Local


Thanks to Mayor Brainard, the City Council, and Carmel Utilities for putting forth a cost-effective, energy-efficient, and environmentally-responsible trash and recycling program that will –

  • save residents money
  • reduce the number of garbage trucks driving through our neighborhoods
  • lead to safer streets and cleaner air for our children
  • save fuel and reduce carbon emissions
  • reduce wear and tear on our roads and save taxpayer dollars
  • beautify our neighborhoods by having just ONE day when houses put out their trash
  • promote environmentally-responsible recycling and reuse of our resources

Reduce & Reuse

The key to real, long-term sustainability are the first two R’s: Reduce and Reuse.


The size of your weekly trash will shrink considerably when you recycle paper, plastics, glass and metals. After you’ve mastered that, it’s time to take the next step in recycling. According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 27 percent of the US municipal solid waste stream. That’s a lot of waste to send to landfills when it could become useful and environmentally beneficial compost instead!

  • Kitchen scraps can be composted to create rich organic compost.
  • Fall leaves can be mowed over to return nutrients into the soil or they can be composted over the winter to form rich organic fertilizer in the spring.
  • Grass clipping can be mulched back into the soil or used as mulch cover in the garden as long as it is less than 1/2″ thick. Grass clippings can also be added to your compost pile.

What kind of trash bag?
There are different kinds of trash bags on the market. Some are made from recycled materials and some are ‘compostable’, or so they claim.  When faced with this choice, here is what you should know.  ‘Compostable’ trash bags use more resources to manufacture and probably don’t decompose in landfill conditions.  The better choice is the highest level of recycled content you can find.  And even more important are to make sure you’re reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting.

Household Hazardous Waste, E-waste & Unwanted Medicines
There are some things you can’t recycle, compost or put in the trash! Household hazardous waste, electronic waste and unwanted medicines contain elements that are toxic to plants, animals and people. So, after you’ve tried to Reduce and Reuse where appropriate, these materials must be disposed of properly:

Mow Sustainably

Mowing your lawn less creates habitat and can increase the abundance and diversity of wildlife including bees and other pollinators, along with reducing pollution and saving your time and energy. Check out Bee City USA and Bob Villa’s websites for more information.

Energy Conservation and Efficiency

Home Energy Assessment
Schedule your free Home Energy Assessment with Duke Energy to find ways to save energy and save money. A home energy assessment is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to go green.

Make the Switch!
Another easy and cost effective way to save energy and save money is to switch out your incandescent bulbs to CFLs or LEDs.

Kill the Vampires
Eliminate ‘on demand’ power to electronics by putting them on power strips or surge protectors that can be turned off when the devices attached to it are not in use. You can use a smart power strip to turn off vampire loads while keeping essential equipment on. Don’t forget to unplug unused transformers.

The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed into law in 2022 has many tax credits for installing rooftop solar, or replacing a gas furnace with an electric heat pump, or replacing a gasoline powered car with an electric vehicle. For low- and moderate-income households, the IRA also includes point-of-sale rebates. Read more.