Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Park Slope BID Committed to Recycling

After at least four years of attempts, a Business Improvement District (BID) has finally come to Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, and it’s about time, says Irene LoRe (right), owner of Aunt Suzie’s restaurant and executive director of the new BID.

“We took a couple of wrong turns,” she explained. “But we finally got our act together.”

Stretching along Fifth Avenue from Dean Street down to 18th Street, the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID is self-funded with a budget of $300,000. It held a holiday tree lighting in Washington Park and a Valentine’s Day promotion. LoRe said that the organization will soon release a web site, a blog and hopefully a guidebook.

This week, in honor of Earth Day, the new BID launched a recycling initiative.

The initiative, called “Green Grows in Brooklyn,” is an expansion of something that 3r Living, a store on Fifth Avenue that sells eco-friendly and organic products, has been doing since it opened five years ago.

Samantha Delman-Caserta, co-owner of 3r Living, said her store has always taken batteries, small electronics, CDs, VHS tapes and cell phones to recycle. Their recycling containers are always full, and Delman-Caserta says she sends the items to an outside company (in the U.S.) to be processed.

The aforementioned 3r Living was footing the bill for this recycling, and it was getting to be too much of a burden for the store to shoulder all of the expense. So when the BID formed, Delman-Caserta approached LoRe about making the recycling a BID initiative.

Several Fifth Avenue merchants have joined in, all putting green tree signs in their windows and asking customers to donate one dollar to the cause this week because Wednesday is Earth Day.
With the BID taking on the fundraising, it would allow more drop-off points for recycling, and also one day every so often where larger items would be collected, such as computers and microwaves.

“It’s a very exciting beginning to what we hope will be a successful program and campaign to green Brooklyn,” said Delman-Caserta.

LoRe noted that in this economic downturn, recycling programs are often the first ones to be cut. “I’m looking for all of us, merchants and customers alike, to share this burden,” she said. “We can’t leave recycling behind.”

Photo courtesy of Allford Trotman Photography and Video

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