How do I…?


Becoming more environmentally friendly at home is easy. Be sure to review the resources and tips listed on this page, but to get you started here are some quick actions you can take at home:


  • Relocate your workspace around natural light to avoid the use of artificial lighting
  • Reduce plastic consumption by opting out of single-use plastic utensils, plates and extra sauce packets from your takeout order
  • Talk to your car insurer or mortgage lender to see if they have a “green” discount or program
  • Reduce food waste by storing your food properly to avoid early spoilage. Visit the City’s Local Food and Agriculture page for more resources on how to freeze and store food.
  • During summer months, take advantage of grass clippings by letting them decompose on your lawn instead of raking them up. Grass clippings act as a natural (and free) fertilizer for your lawn.
  • Be a Leader. There are some simple ways to reduce your environmental footprint in your workplace - from how you travle to and from meetings to making your office equipment more energy efficient. Greening at work is about leadership and encouraging your colleagues to take actions in their own lives. Consider your options for working with building managers and professionals who can help to make significant environmental improvements to your workplace.
  • Buy Sustainably. Make the move towards purchasing environmentally and socially friendly products. Technological advancements and innovations have improved the environmental and social footprint of many products and have made them cost competitive with more traditional products. Switch to more sustainable corporate gifts and prizes. Items such as travel mugs, reusable water bottles and bags, and refillable pens can be printed with your company's logo to send the right message.
  • Be Smart with Your Commute. Encourage staff members and colleagues to choose a sustainable means of transport to and from work - walk, cycle, transit, carpool! Choose the most direct route to work and if driving, make sure to forgo idling! Check out Smart Commute for tips and programs for the public and workplaces.
  • Go Green with Your Fleet. If your workplace has a fleet of vehicles, encourage the purchase of electric, biodiesel, natural gas, or hybrid vehicles. The collective gasoline savings will be substantial and worth the effort.
  • Green the Company Kitchen. Stock the office kitchen with reusable cutlery, plates and mugs and when ordering catering, make sure you ask for reusable utensils.
  • Start an Environment Club. Be an environmental leader and advocate at your school. Encourage your classmates, friends and teachers to get involved, learn about environmental issues and work to make your school a more environmentally friendly place to learn and grow.
  • Commit to Waste-Free Lunches. Pack lunches in reusable containers. It is easy to do and a great way to make sure you are having a nutritious home-made lunch.
  • Walk, Bike, Rollerblade or Carpool to School. It is a great way to catch up with friends, get some exercise and help the environment.
  • Plant a Pollinator or Community Garden. Growing vegetables, herbs and flowers at your school not only helps to beautifythe community but provides habitat and food for our pollinators, and is a local source of nutritious food.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as latex gloves and single-use face masks, are not recyclable and are to be disposed in the garbage. Remember: cut the ear loops on your single-use mask prior to disposal.


Saving energy in your home is good for the environment and your pocket book. Visit Alectra or Enbridge to learn about rebate programs for your home or business. The government of Canada has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Net-Zero means the economy will either give off no greenhouse gas or be matched by an equal amount removed from the atmosphere.


Some tips on being energy wise include:


  • Unplug electronics not in use - Unplug household items not in use such as lamps, toasters or phone chargers. Many devices drain energy even when they’re not on, but still plugged in, and can account for up to 10 percent of a home’s energy use (source: 14 Energy Saving Tips to Boost Efficiency at Home | Enercare)
  • Close your curtains - we all love some natural light, but on hot, sunny days, keeping your curtains and blinds open will heat up rooms that are not in use. Closing curtains and blinds acts as a temperature control, meaning you won't have to crank up the AC.
  • Skip the Dryer - Consider purchasing a drying rack or line drying your clothes outside, especially during summer months. While you're at it, try washing your clothes in cool or cold water, as most detergents work just as well!
  • For more significant energy savings consider replacing all your lightbulbs with LED bulbs and upgrade appliances. look for the ENERGY-STAR rated products. The federal government also offers an Energy Savings Rebate Program - You can also upgrade insulation and chalk or weather-strip gaps around windows, doors and vents. A rolled-up towel works too!
  • Invest in a programmable or smart thermostat.
  • Try using small space heaters or fans instead of changing the temperature of your entire home when possible.
  • Consider purchasing an electric vehicle. Plug'n Drive, located in Vaughan, provides tips, resources, offers test drives and information about incentives.
  • Plant trees and shrubs near your home to act as a windbreak, help insulate exterior walls and even provide cooling shade in the summer. Hydro One has tips for energy efficiency planting.
  • Add energy retrofits when planning a home. Natural Resources Canada provides a breakdown of possible retrofits and offers grant programs for homeowners.
  • The Ontario government provides a list of programs to reduce your electricity bill.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) are a set of social and environmental goals that were adopted by all the United Nations member states in 2015. Green Directions Vaughan has aligned 13 of its objectives with one or more SDG's to guide the City towards sustainable decisions and actions. Find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals.


Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more and more popular and for good reason. EVs are zero emission vehicles, require less maintenance, and can cost less to refuel than gasoline vehicles. There are currently more than 28, 000 electric cars on the road in Canada with over 23 models available. Is an EV right for you?


Learn more about EVs with Plug N' Drive and sign up for a test drive at their EV Discovery Centre.


Water is a precious resource, so it’s important to work together to protect and conserve it. Simple water conservation practices not only save money on your bill, but also help preserve our natural environment. Here are a few tips to get you started:


  • Low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads could help you save thousands of gallons a year over traditional fixtures. Upgrade to save water, and your bill!
  • Be cautious of your use. Do you really need half a kettle to make one cup of tea? Measure up the amount of water needed for the cup you are using as opposed to estimating.
  • Ensure to water your lawn early in the morning, or after sunset to minimize evaporation. If you have a sprinkler system, ensure it is free of leaks and on a timer. Better yet, purchase a rain barrel to catch rainwater and use it to water your garden or lawn in the summer, especially when there is a drought.
  • Instead of dumping water that was used to boil or steam food, set it aside to cool and use it to water your plants.
  • Plant a rain garden to mitigate flooding, limit pollutants from entering our waterways and restore and recharge our groundwater. Visit for more information on rain gardens and rain barrels.


For more information on becoming water wise, check out the City’s Be Water Wise brochure.

  • Refrain from using harmful chemicals on your lawn. The City’s Pesticide Bylaw (88-2008) regulates the use of pesticides on public and private property.
  • Use a rainwater collection system (i.e. rain barrel) to water lawn and plants.
  • Plant a rain garden or pollinator garden to conserve water and support ecosystems. Visit for more information on rain gardens and rain barrels. Visit the City’s Pollinator Projects website for guidance on planting a pollinator garden.
  • Plant trees! For information and assistance with private tree plantings, visit the Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Urban Forests (LEAF), a third-party planting program.
  • Implement phosphorous management best practices, which can include properly disposing of pet waste, reducing car-washing detergents, composting lawn and garden waste, and avoiding soil erosion.
  • Need inspiration for eco-landscapes? Visit for sources of inspiration and more information.

Taking transit is a sustainable mode of transportation and includes buses, streetcars, subways, and trains. Did you know we have three transit systems available in Vaughan?


York Region Transit (YRT)/Viva

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)

GO Transit


Cycling and walking are great ways to keep fit, enjoy time outdoors, and are low-carbon mobility options. Learn more about cycling and walking in Vaughan with these resources:


Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan

Great Walks of Vaughan (explore parks and trails)

Cycling Safety


My carbon what? A carbon footprint measures the amount of carbon emitted by an individual based on their lifestyle choices. Our methods of energy, transportation, even our diet and the clothes we wear influence how many tonnes of carbon we (in)directly emit annually. Here's how you can start minimizing your footprint today:


  • Avoid plastic altogether - use reusable shopping and produce bags for all your shopping trips, purchase items that are minimally wrapped, or in cardboard/paper, invest in metal straws and water bottles for your home, workplace and car.
  • Go meatless. Experiment with a more plant-based diet, as animal agriculture contributes mass amount of carbon emissions, and are packaged in non-recyclable packaging.
  • Be an informed buyer. Purchasing quality, versatile clothing should be your primary decision-maker, rather than what's currently trendy. Fast fashion is often quickly disregarded and ends up in our landfills, producing CO2 as it decomposes. Consider repairing or sewing clothing (and other household items) instead of throwing them away.
  • Compost and Recycle properly. Thoroughly rinse recyclables before tossing them in the bin. Ensure kitchen scraps are placed into compostable bags before placing in the green bin. Not sure what goes where? Use the City's "What Goes Where" Tool.

The City of Vaughan sells blue boxes, green bins, kitchen composters, garbage tags, and backyard composters. Find out more about these products and how to purchase them. You may exchange your damaged blue or green bin at the Joint Operations Centre free of cost.


Some items, such as hazardous waste, electronics, scrap metals, cooking oil, tires, even nail polish need to be dropped off at specific locations as they require special handling. You can bring these items to one of York Region's waste drop-off depots as they cannot be picked up through regular curbside collection.


Remember: oils, liquids and fats are never to be poured down the drain. This creates build-up in our pipes, making it difficult for wastewater to pass through. Keep the pipes clean by cooling grease in containers, then place the cooled grease in your green bin.


Community gardens are places where residents and Vaughan businesses can meet to grow and care for fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and ornamental plants. Community gardens support environmental sustainability while creating a vibrant community for nurturing a connection to nature and to each other. Find out more about Vaughan's community gardens.