The goal of sustainable living isn’t just to keep the Truckee Meadows beautiful and Lake Tahoe blue — although that’s a good start. It’s a lifestyle focus that strives to improve our area’s environment by decreasing pollution and waste, providing affordable and accessible community resources, and promoting healthier lifestyles.  

In 2019, the City of Reno launched its Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, Reno Resilience. The city is committed to creating a more sustainable community with clearly identified goals and initiatives for renewable energy, access to healthy foods and clean water, green building practices, and low-carbon neighborhoods.  

Learn more about sustainable living efforts in our area — from local businesses and community initiatives to energy-saving tips — and start reducing your carbon footprint today. 

Zero waste sustainable lifestyle in Northern Nevada  

Many local businesses have found an opportunity to do their part to help community members live sustainably. While many have opted for sustainable practices, such as providing fair trade or organic products or reflecting on their operations for ways to work toward zero waste, other local businesses focus on offering sustainable lifestyle options. Learn how several of these companies are working toward improving our communities.  

Down to Earth Reno 

You may have heard of composting, but why is it important to do it? According to Down to Earth Reno, it helps to keep unnecessary waste in landfills, prevent groundwater pollution, and reduce one’s carbon footprint. Participating in this compost initiative begins with signing up for a bin that you store compost materials in. You can then choose to have a weekly curbside pick-up or drop-off at a community location when necessary.  

Service pricing starts at $14 per month. Composting food waste helps grow healthier food options, which helps to create an abundant community cycle — and Down to Earth members can receive up to 40 gallons of finished compost each year for their own gardens. 

Great Basin Food Co-op 

Providing affordable, local, and wholesome food options for Northern Nevadans was the goal of the Great Basin Community Food Co-op in 2011. This community-owned grocer originally began through the mini food hub, DROOP – Distributors of Regional and Organic Produce and Products. In 2012, the co-op moved into its space near downtown and opened its Foodshed Café in 2018. The co-op offers local produce, bulk food, health and beauty items and items from local farmers, producers, and craftspeople.  

Waste Less Shop  

Sustainable living is a lifestyle and that may include being conscientious of how you restock supplies in your home. The Waste Less Shop is a recently opened business providing refills for bulk products, including 40 locally sources and plant-based household cleaning and self-care products.  

Additionally, Waste Less Reno features various products by small, local, women- and minority-owned businesses, including The Nest Vintage Clothing, Reno Roots Nursery, Pat Roberts Pottery, Pantry Products and more. 

Practical tips to reduce your carbon footprint  

Reducing your carbon footprint is often something most people want to participate in but don’t know where to start. Sustainable living isn’t something you complete overnight. It starts with some initial steps that ultimately lead to a way of living. By following some of the tips below, you will be on your way to a zero-waste lifestyle.  

Conserve energy 

Not only does conserving energy save you money on your monthly bill, but it can also help ensure you stop wasting it. According to money-saving tips NV Energy has compiled, you can potentially save up to 10% to 25% on your monthly bill by doing some of the following: 

  • Cook and barbecue outdoors: When possible, make dinner outside. This will help keep your cooling system regulated by reducing the heat inside you house.  
  • Open and close your window coverings: By being seasonally-strategic and keeping an eye on your thermostat, you can heat and cool your home naturally.   
  • On winter days, open your window coverings to let sun in and warm your home naturally. Close them as soon as the sun’s heat begins to wane to conserve its heat. Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees when home and 55 to 68 degrees when you sleep or you’re not at home.  
  • In the summer, close them during the day to keep your house cool and the heat out. Keep your thermostat at 78 to 80 degrees when you’re home and 5 to 10 degrees warmer at night or when you’re not home.  
  • Turn off household items: This includes lights, computers, appliances and any TVs/DVRs/DVDs when not in use.  This is especially important when you go on vacation. 
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils: This provides plenty of unrestricted air to run through your appliance. Also, ensure food is cool and covered before going into the refrigerator. This will help improve your appliance function and reduces extra energy load. 

You can also inquire with NV Energy and other renewable energy source providers about ways you can improve your energy conservation and how you can transition to new energy sources.  

Grow your food 

One great way to move toward a zero-waste lifestyle is by starting to grow the food you will consume — namely, fruits and vegetables, although raising chickens and bees is also a good option. This will help ensure that not only are you eating what’s on your plate, you’re also able to compost the food waste back into your garden. Growing your own food also helps cut down on transportation emissions and reduces packaging waste. 

Repurpose and recycle 

Before you toss something, think about how you might be able to repurpose it or find a new home for it. This could include clothing, planting pots, furniture, and toys. You could find a new way to use it in your home, such as making blankets out of old T-shirts or flowerpots from old tires or you can participate in a local “Buy Nothing” or neighborhood group online to share your unwanted items.  

Additionally, it’s important to choose recyclable options whenever necessary. This could mean you’re using washable hand towels instead of paper towels, using plastic containers for storage or using cardboard in crafting projects. It also means that when you’re shopping, aim to purchase goods that are made from recycled materials.  

Finally, choose to reduce your plastic use. Not only are plastics wreaking havoc on the environment, but there are also growing studies about the impact microplastics are having on our bodies. This can be done in some simple ways, such as choosing to use a refillable water bottle over a single-use one or bringing your own grocery bags with you instead of using the plastic ones at the store.  

Community sustainability initiatives 

Another way to get involved in your community’s effort toward sustainable living is by learning more about what some of its larger initiatives are and how you can participate. Several Northern Nevada organizations strive to educate the community through advocacy, outreach, and volunteerism and by highlighting consistent conscientious practices. Learn more about these initiatives and how you can learn more about sustainable living.  

edible Reno–Tahoe Magazine 

This magazine and online website not only look deliciously good and provide a variety of maker, producer, and food highlights, but they also shine a spotlight on Northern Nevada communities. This includes those that are forging the path forward for sustainable living, such as local family farmers and ranchers, growers and producers and retailers and chefs. Learning about the communities around us can help guide your steps toward new paths of eating, living, and connecting — which in turn reduces environmental impact and offers healthier ways of existing. 

Keep Tahoe Blue  

Lake Tahoe and its surrounding basin are a local gem, renown worldwide. It’s through the efforts of the League to Save Lake Tahoe that its environmental health, water quality and its clarity are preserved for future generations. Keep Tahoe Blue aims to watch for and address invasive species, combat pollution and work on restoration through advocacy of its programs and initiatives and through science and innovation.  

Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful  

From tricking streams and raging white water rapids to the tall grasses of alpine hikes, Truckee Meadows is full of beautiful landscapes. Part of the mission of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful is to provide opportunities for waste reduction and active community involvement through education, advocacy, and awareness. KTMB strives to reduce illegal dumping, food and trash waste and invasive weeds through programs and Saturday morning cleanups, as well as adopt a park or area projects and youth group involvement.   

At Dickson Realty, we’re committed to building sustainable communities and cities. To learn about Northern Nevada’s sustainable neighborhoods, contact one of our neighborhood experts.