Wishing You Joyful, Safe, and Sustainable Holidays!



We are wishing you the very best as we come to the end of this challenging year. This holiday season feels very different for all of us – gathering online perhaps instead of at a shared table – but there are still ways to maintain the best of the season both safely AND sustainably:

  1. Reduce: So many folks are going through challenging economic times this year. Talk with your loved ones about whether you still want to exchange gifts this year and think about how you can make something special – an experience, a baked good, or another homemade object.
  2. Recenter: If you are shopping for gifts, please support your neighbors and shop local! This year, more than ever, our small businesses and local artists benefit from your support. Find out about DC Holiday Markets happening in person – with many COVID precautions – at the end of this newsletter. You can also shop online at the new Shop in the District, where you can find dozens of local stores in your neighborhood that offer curbside pickup with great holiday gifts. Through creative partnerships that keep more money local, many stores even offer same-day delivery! However you shop from a local business this year, show your support on social media, and let your community know you shop local with the hashtag #iBuyDC.
  3. Rethink: Have you ever thought about gifting a movement? Instead of buying something, think about making a donation to your recipient’s favorite non-profit or spend a day safely volunteering together. To help you on this search, we love this Washington Post article about how to help your neighbors this season, chock full of volunteer opportunities and great local & national organizations.
  4. Regift: With more and more Buy Nothing Project neighborhood groups in the District, there are even more opportunities to give and receive from your neighbors. Post what you’re looking for – from holiday decorations to a specific household item – or post what you have, you never know who will love it!
  5. Reconnect: We know it’s hard to connect with your loved ones who you may not be able to visit this holiday when so many folks are also so tired of screen time. What about cooking the same thing or a variation of it in different places? Try exchanging recipes in advance! What about a walk through a favorite park or an outdoor cleanup, followed by a (gloved!) virtual show-and-tell with what you found?
  6. Recycle: This year, more gifts are going in the mail for those we can’t see in person. Glossy and plain recycling paper can be recycled in your curbside bin. (Of course, so can newspaper, which can double as great wrapping paper!) Flatten any cardboard boxes, or at least the ones you don’t want to reuse, as well as cartons, like broth, eggnog cartons, and juice boxes - plus aluminum pie pans and cooking trays!


The holidays are a time to enjoy our favorite foods - don’t let them go to waste! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that household waste increases by about 25% during the holiday season, which includes household food waste. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) launched the Save the Food campaign to help reduce food waste at every phase of the meal – from planning, to shopping, to what to do with that extra can of pumpkin puree. NRDC is partnering with the District on the Mid-Atlantic Food Matters program to help District residents and businesses make the most of food. Check out NRDC’s Guest-imator tool to help you figure out exactly how much food you need for your celebration (it even plans for leftovers!) so nothing goes to waste. Visit SaveTheFood.com to help us end food waste!  

Food waste drop-offs continue all winter at Union Market, Columbia Heights Farmers Market and Dupont Circle, and at all of the DC Community Compost Cooperatives. Check out the new Zero Waste DC resources on Home Composting in DC, including a rebate for a home composting system, up to $75.



The Bowser Administration's annual “A Home for the Holidays” campaign seeks to transition 500 households experiencing homelessness into long-term housing during the holiday season. This year, there is a focus on vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness who are currently residing in hotels to protect them from the coronavirus (COVID-19). In the past three years, more than 1,000 total households previously experiencing homelessness have moved into permanent housing as a result of this Department of Human Services (DHS) campaign. Landlords wanting to know more about innovative strategies implemented to enhance partnership with the District are encouraged to write homefortheholidays@dc.gov. Residents who are able are invited to donate new and gently-used houseware for these households by dropping them off at the security desk of the west lobby at 64 New York Avenue NE, daily between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.



Electronics are a very exciting gift to share or receive, but did you know that 3 million tons of electronic waste is generated each year in the United States? As you are gifting or unwrapping that new device, collect your old electronics and remember it’s illegal to throw electronics in the trash, and it’s dangerous to put them in recycling. If it’s still working, consider posting it to your local Buy Nothing Project. If your electronics are not working, head to an eCYCLE event near you.  On December 19, eCYCLE will be at Mt. Pleasant Library (3160 16th Street NW) and Banneker Community Center (2500 Georgia Avenue NW) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Please look for the collection vehicle outside the facility. If you miss these, there are eCYCLE events in each Ward quarterly, so check  doee.dc.gov/ecycle for the 2021 schedule in the new year. As always, you can also drop off electronics at the Ft. Totten Transfer Station every Saturday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.



Sustainable Materials Management Program Analyst, DC Department of Energy & Environment

Do you love our city? Are you committed to making it the healthiest, greenest, most livable city for all residents? We are looking for someone with a passion for sustainable materials management to join our Urban Sustainability team. You would engage at the big picture level on policy and interagency coordination, and on implementing creative reuse and source reduction programs, sustainable purchasing, and internal best-practice composting and recycling programs. For details and to apply, go to careers.dc.gov and search for Job ID 11746 with the Department of Energy & Environment. Applications accepted until January 1, 2021.

Environmental Justice Lead and multiple other positions, Environmental Law Institute (ELI)

The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) makes law work for people, places, and the planet. ELI’s Mission is to foster innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress. ELI is hiring for an Environmental Justice Lead to advance the Institute’s work with communities to provide law and policy solutions to environmental injustices and to develop and implement a strategy to draw together ELI’s unique strengths to counter systemic racism in environmental law and policy. ELI is also hiring for a Public Interest Environmental Law Fellow, two Law Clerks, Senior Manager of Educational Programs, and Research and Publications Intern (Spring 2021). Learn more about all open positions and apply here.

Vintage and Specialty Products Coordinator, Community Forklift

Community Forklift is a nonprofit dedicated to lifting the community through sustainability, creativity, and economic opportunity through a reuse warehouse where donated building materials and architectural salvage are made available to neighbors in need, homeowners, nonprofits, contractors and artists at low-cost or for free. Community Forklift is seeking an experienced Vintage and Specialty Products Coordinator for a part-time position to identify antique, vintage, unusual, or high dollar items from donations made to Community Forklift; assess their condition; research and determine a price appropriate to its market; and merchandize items for the showroom floor and online store. Learn more and apply here.


2021 District Sustainability Awards

Do you have a business, organization, or individual that is doing incredible work to further the goals and vision of Sustainable DC 2.0? If so, nominate them for a 2021 District Sustainability Award! The annual District Sustainability Awards program recognizes outstanding individuals, businesses, and organizations for understanding and responding to current environmental challenges and social disparities in DC, and intentionally building and supporting equitable environmental, social, and economic initiatives. If you live or work in DC, you may soon nominate your favorite sustainable champion. For more information, contact Mary Lynn Wilhere, DOEE, Urban Sustainability Administration, at (202) 870-2924 or marylynn.wilhere@dc.gov.

Read More


Building Innovation Design Assistance Grant Program

DOEE is accepting applications for its Building Innovation Design Assistance Grant Program, which will fund early design assistance for a small number of building projects committed to pursuing net-zero energy (NZE), and to fund embodied carbon analysis in building projects. DOEE has $85,000 available and will fund multiple projects. Applicants can apply for up to $20,000 for NZE Design Assistance and/or up to $10,000 for Embodied Carbon Life Cycle Analysis Assistance. The deadline for application submission is January 11, 2021. The full RFA is available on DOEE's website.


Retail Ready and Restaurant Bridge Fund

The Bowser Administration has two open funding opportunities for District retail businesses. A robust retail sector is critical to maintaining the vibrancy of DC neighborhoods, but due to market realities of the past year, retail businesses are under threat of business decline and closure. The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) Robust Retail Citywide Grants will award up to $7,500 per business to 106 businesses from the total $800,000 to support existing DC-based retail businesses maintaining operations and viability during the current small business crisis. Applications are due January 28, 2021. Learn more here.

The $35 million Restaurant Bridge Fund will provide competitive grants of up to $50,000 for up to 700 local restaurants and food service establishments grappling with the COVID-19 public health emergency. Applications are due on December 28. Learn more at coronavirus.dc.gov/bridgefund. Retail and Entertainment Bridge Funds will be opening soon to support other key sectors in the District.



Don’t forget that while you can volunteer with the specific organizations below, you also can be of service to your community on any Cold Emergency Day by calling the shelter hotline if you encounter a neighbor needing shelter from the cold. Sign up for AlertDC to get Cold Emergency Alerts and save the Shelter Hotline number in your phone: (202) 399-7093!

DC Snow Team

Date: Any snow day
Location: Your neighborhood!

DC Snow Team matches volunteers with senior residents and those with access and functional needs for snow removal services in the aftermath of a winter event.

Volunteer for Food Access

Date: Multiple Dates
Location: Multiple Locations

During this challenging time for so many, food access organizations have been swamped with requests. Help one of these organizations in your neighborhood to find a volunteer opportunity that is right for you. While all organizations are taking precautions to keep volunteers safe, some are masked, distanced, and in-person, while others involve delivering pre-packaged food with contactless dropoffs. Food and Friends needs delivery drivers for their groceries for the immunocompromised; Martha’s Table needs baggers, packers, and market volunteers; Capital Area Food Bank needs support packing groceries; and We Are Family needs delivery drivers to get groceries to seniors.


#iBuyDC at Holiday markets

While holiday shopping looks a little different this year, there are many ways to support DC small businesses with your holiday gift-giving. Don’t forget to spread the love with a picture of your treasures on social media to let your community know you shop local with the hashtag #iBuyDC.

Visit ShopInTheDistrict.com for dozens of online stores from throughout the city, or Rhode Island Avenue’s virtual Procrastinator’s Market featuring Ward 5 makers.

You can also shop in person at the holiday markets below: masks are required and the markets are designed to enable and require 6 foot social distancing from those outside of your pod.

  • Downtown Holiday Market: thru December 23, 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm Tuesday - Sunday, 8th and F Street NW. Note that all vendors and shoppers are required to wear masks and hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the market. This year, the market spans two blocks to enable greater social distancing.
  • Mola DC Patio Holiday Market: December 19, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm, 3155 Mount Pleasant Street NW. The Mola market will feature breakfast tacos from Mt. Pleasant natives La Tejana, hot cocktails and cider, sweets, and a variety of locally crafted ceramics & wares.
  • Park View Holiday Market: December 19, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, 3400 Georgia Avenue NW. The Park View Farmers Market will include 10 local artists, entrepreneurs, and culinary crafters. Physical distancing, one-way traffic, required masks, and temperature checks at the door are in place to protect shoppers and vendors.
  • Victura Park Holiday Market: Friday, December 18, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, December 19 and 20, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The REACH at the Kennedy Center is hosting this outdoor market with dozens of local artists, prepackaged food vendors, and more. Masks are required and sanitizer will be available.

9 Reasons to Bike in the Winter, by WABA

How To Use The Gifting Economy To Tackle Your Holiday Gift List

How to help during the coronavirus pandemic

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