Take Action to help make Providence a greener, healthier, more vibrant city.
Grow your own food
• Grow some of your own food in your backyard or local community garden. Check out Southside Community Land Trust and/or the URI Cooperative Extension program which provides trainings and workshops throughout the year to help get you started. Already growing? Expand your skills with their Master Gardner program.
• Most soils in Providence have lead contamination, so be sure to get it tested (its free!) and learn how to avoid exposure as you work the land.
Support local farmers markets and restaurants
• Support the local food system by shopping at Providence farmers markets. Farm Fresh RI and the Providence Healthy Communities Office offer special “bonus bucks” discounts at farmers markets for community members who receive SNAP benefits.
Join a CSA
• Sign up for a locally sourced market share or community supported agriculture (CSA) to get food fresh from the farm every week.
Compost your food scraps, grow more food!
• Compost your food scraps at home and use that compost to grow more food! Don’t have the space to compost at home? Save your food scraps and drop them off at a compost site or hire a food scrap pick-up service. Click here for everything you need to know about composting in Providence.
• Encourage your employer to offer better commuter benefits and incentives such as public transportation passes, bike racks, and in-office showers.
• Providence is getting more walkable by the day. Exploring the city on two feet can provide a whole new perspective, plus it’s far better for your health than driving! Want to add some culture to your walk? Check out this list of Providence self-guided walking tours.
Bike / Scoot
• Join the JUMP electric bike share! Providence already has 400 JUMP bikes and will soon be adding hundreds more, with hubs coming to under-serviced areas so that the whole city can benefit. E-bikes require less effort to ride than traditional bikes (perfect for those Providence hills) and can rival cars in convenience. Low-income residents can access JUMP bikes for just $5 for the year via the Boost Plan.
• Be a better and safer biker. Always wear a helmet, stay visible with bright colors and a headlight at night, learn bicycling hand signals, and follow all rules of the road.
• Providence is experimenting with e-scooters. Learn about how to use them here.
• Take RIPTA buses. RIPTA rides are just $2 per ride and the buses service most of Providence.
• Low-income residents, seniors and people with disabilities are eligible for discounted fares on RIPTA.
• Record trips and earn rewards through RIPTA’s Communter Resource RI “Rethink your Ride” program.
If You Must Drive, Drive Smarter
• When you do use your car, use it more efficiently. Accelerating slowly and smoothly, driving the speed limit, maintaining a steady speed, and anticipating your stops and starts can save more than a ton of carbon dioxide per year.
• If you’re thinking about a new car, consider an electric vehicle (EV). EV charging infrastructure is growing throughout the city (and country). There are federal and local incentives to take advantage of; and when you take into account the savings from filling up the tank and maintenance, EVs are much more economical.
• Carpool to school or work. RIPTA offers a Vanpool service for a monthly fee.
SIGN UP FOR A NO COST ENERGY ASSESSMENT
• National Grid offers home energy assessments that provide information on how to save energy and reduce your utility bills at home. To sign up, call RISE Engineering at (800) 422-5365 or click here.
• Consider photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for your home or business. More information>>
Recycle your plastic, paper, glass, and cans
• Recycle all clean plastic containers up to 2 gallons, paper, glass and cans in designated city recycling bins. Learn more about what can be recycled.
• Recycle RIGHT. Putting trash in your recycling cart can send the whole truck load to the landfill and costs taxpayers money. Not sure of what can be recycled in Providence? Click here to find out. Too much trash for your curbside garbage bin? Participate in the City of Providence’s Overflow Trash Bag Program.
• Consider composting in your backyard to keep organic waste out of the landfill.
• Can’t compost at home? Check out the different food scrap pick-up services and drop-off locations in Providence.
• Send your leaf and yard waste to RIRRC‘s compost pile April – December by placing in paper bags or in a clearly labeled open barrel on your regular trash day. Visit the Department of Public Works to pick up a free “yard waste” sticker for your bin.
• Click here for everything you need to know about composting in Providence!
Recycle your used textiles at Goodwill
• Recycle your used textiles at Goodwill Industries and portion of the proceeds from the collected materials will help to fund recreation programs in Providence parks.
Use re-useable shopping bags, cups, straws, etc.
• Avoid plastic shopping bags and other plastic single-use items and take your own to the store/cafe. Buying products without excess packaging and bringing your own reusable shopping bags, cups and straws reduces energy usage and keeps harmful waste out of municipal landfills, our waterways, and the ocean.
Keep an eye out for litter
• Lend a hand by picking up litter. Every piece of litter that we pick up means less plastic on our beaches and our bay which helps save animal and plant life.
• Track the litter you pick up using an app like Litterati, which helps bring awareness to litter hotspots and the types of items that are the most problematic.
• Practice water conservation to both protect the environment and to save money. To see how, visit EPA’s WaterSense.
• When it rains, dog poop, lawn chemicals, oil spills and other pollutants get carried by stormwater runoff into our lakes, ponds, and streams. Capture the rain! Planting rain gardens and installing rain barrels can save you money and help with urban stormwater management. Contact us f you are interested in attending the next SustainPVD rain barrel workshop.
Plant a Tree
• Trees – especially mature trees – are nature’s best climate protection tool. Trees clean air, provide cooling shade, and help create healthy green ecosystems that protect urban wildlife. You and your neighbors can get free trees planted on your street from the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP).
• Become a steward of your neighborhood park by joining your local Friends of Parks group.
• Attend public meetings about new developments and challenge developers to think about community and environmental sustainability.
Show support for your community
• Support community benefits agreements when there is a proposed development being planned for your neighborhood that could create jobs for neighborhood residents, provide affordable housing, or bring other value to the area.
JOIN YOUR LOCAL PARK’S FRIENDS GROUP
• Join your local park’s friends group. Learn about more opportunities at the Partnership for Providence Parks.
Help transform vacant lots and buildings
• Be proactive about vacant lots or empty buildings in your neighborhood that could be rehabilitated into positive community spaces. Talk to staff in the City Planning office or at the Rhode Island DEM.