Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Upcoming E-Waste Recycling Events in Brooklyn

To celebrate Earth Month the Lower East Side Ecology Center is offering chances to recycle your electronics in all five boroughs. Here are the upcoming recycling events in Brooklyn.

April 09, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Poly Prep Country Day School, 9216 Seventh Ave., Bay Ridge

April 10, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sephardic Community Center, 1901 Ocean Parkway, Sheepshead Bay

April 30, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., PS 29 Schoolyard, Baltic St between Henry St and Clinton St, Cobble Hill

The Ecology Center will accept e-waste for free from residents and small businesses (under 50 employees). Bring your working or non-working electronics to the collection events to have them recycled responsibly. Acceptable materials are:

•    Computers (laptops and desktops, servers, mainframes)
•    Monitors
•    Printers, scanners, fax-machines, copiers
•    Network devices (routers, hubs, modems, etc.)
•    Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cables, etc.)
•    Components (hard drives, CD-ROMs, circuit boards, power supplies, etc.)
•    TVs, VCRs and DVD Players
•    Audio-visual equipment
•    Cell phones, pagers, PDAs
•    Telecommunication (phones, answering machines, etc.)

The Lower East Side Ecology Center does not accept home appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators or air conditioners.       

These events are sponsored by Panasonic, Toshiba, ConEdison, and MRM.

More information here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pick Up Free Trees at Locations in Brooklyn From MillionTreesNYC

MillionTreesNYC will be giving away free trees at six Brooklyn locations now through June. Residents can attend any of the giveaways to pick up one free trees per household. Simple tree planting and caring instructions come with every tree, you just need a place to plant, a shovel and access to water.

Trees can be planted on private properties such as front and back yards, community gardens and faith-based centers throughout New York City with permission of the property owner. Trees must be planted in the ground, rather than in a planter or a container, and all MillionTreesNYC trees must be planted within the five boroughs of New York City.

Emily Laskodi, who works for MillionTreesNYC and will be staffing the first Brooklyn giveaway this Saturday, said that the trees weigh about 30 lbs and are about 7-8 feet tall. “We suggest people bring either a cart to transport them or a car, or a strong back!” she noted in an email message. “Generally the events are very successful — sometimes there will be a line of people waiting before the event starts — no trees will be given away before start time — and other times there will be a steady flow throughout the 2 hours. Any leftover trees after 12 p.m. will be given to people who want additional trees or the community partner will be responsible for distributing them.”

Here is a list of the Brooklyn giveaways:


Green Fort Greene & Clinton Hill and FAB Alliance Tree Giveaway
March 26, 10:00 a.m. to noon
Putnam Triangle, Putnam Ave. and Fulton St.
300 trees — cherry trees and dogwoods


Green-Wood Cemetery Tree Giveaway
April 16, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
500 25th St.
100 trees — redbud, carolina silverbell, cherry and bur oak

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Tree Giveaway
April 23, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St
130 trees — redbud, magnolia and pear trees


Grand Street Campus Tree Giveaway
May 1, 10:00 a.m. – noon
850 Grand St.
300 trees — eastern redbud, kastura, dogwood, magnolia and pear trees

Neighborhood Housing Services of East Flatbush Tree Giveaway
May 7, noon – 2:00 p.m.
Holy Cross Church School Yard, 2530 Church Ave.
200 trees — serviceberry, katsura, dogwood, magnolia, pear, bur oak and littleleaf linden trees


Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation Tree Giveaway
June 4, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Blessed Sacrament Church, 198 Euclid Ave.
250 trees — eastern redbud, cherry and callery pear trees

The giveaways are sponsored by American Express and JetBlue.

Launched in 2007 by the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, MillionTreesNYC is one of the goals set forth under Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, the city’s long-term sustainability blueprint. MillionTreesNYC is a public-private initiative with an ambitious goal — to plant and care for one million new trees across the city’s five boroughs by 2017.

Tonight: Brooklyn Green Team Party in Gowanus

Local environmental superheroes the Brooklyn Green Team will be hosting a party tonight with Brooklyn Green Drinks benefiting environmental non-profit GrowNYC. At 7 p.m. at Lowlands bar in Gowanus, the event will feature a silent auction, a DJ, organic wine and beer specials and a special cocktail in honor of the celebration.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

City’s First Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Here are some pictures of the recently-installed solar-powered electric vehicle charging station at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1. It was donated to the park by Brooklyn-based renewable energy developer Beautiful Earth Group (BE) and is constructed of two recycled steel shipping containers stacked on top of each other — acquired from a New York vendor. 

The charging station is completely powered by 24 photovoltaic panels on the roof. The panels catch solar rays throughout the day and store them in 40 battery packs inside so there is a constant energy supply for park vehicles. BBP will use the station to charge four of its electric service vehicles — two GEM cars (battery-operated Global Electric Motorcars) and two Toros. 

This will result in more than $200,000 in savings from gasoline costs and tens of thousands of dollars in savings from electricity costs over 25 years (25 years is the warranty for the photovoltaic panels, according to BE Manager of Sustainability Amanda Cleary, although they will probably last much longer). In that period of time, the charging station will have saved more than 530 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.

“The charging station dovetails perfectly with the park’s sustainability ethos, and helps us to extend the ways in which the park has conserved finite resources and limited its carbon emissions,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park in an e-mail message, “While allowing us to use vehicles that are efficient for park maintenance and help us to keep the park in terrific condition for visitors.”

Read my full story here

Friday, March 4, 2011

Composting Pilot Program Introduced at Greenmarkets in Brooklyn, City

If you're like me, every time you throw out food scraps or egg shells, you feel a little guilty. But I don't have a worm bin, and to be honest, it grosses me out a little (yeah, I read and saw No Impact Man, I know about all the bugs you get when you compost in your apartment. Otherwise I'd jump on that bandwagon). So I'm super happy about GrowNYC's new composting program.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and GrowNYC, joined by Ron Bergamini of Action Carting, announced the launch of a pilot program to provide composting services to NYC residents at six new Greenmarket locations, 10 in total. The pilot was developed by GrowNYC’s Greenmarket and Office of Recycling Outreach and Education programs.

In Brooklyn, composting services will now be available at the McCarren Park Greenmarket (Union Ave between Driggs and N 12th St) on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Fort Greene Greenmarket (Washington Park at DeKalb) on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Borough Hall Greenmarket on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Composting drop-off sites were already in place at the Fort Greene Greenmarket (conducted by the Fort Greene Compost Project), the Union Square Greenmarket (held by GrowNYC and the Lower East Side Ecology Center) and two Greemarkets in Queens (conducted by the Western Queens Compost Initiative).

Accepted materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, non-greasy food scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc.), coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, egg and nut shells, pits, cut or dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil. Unacceptable materials: meat, chicken, fish, greasy food scraps, fat, oil, dairy, dog or cat waste, kitty litter, coal or charcoal, coconuts, diseased and/or insect-infested houseplants/soil or biodegradable/compostable plastics.

Food scraps can be collected in large yogurt containers or other covered plastic containers, plastic bags, milk cartons or in commercially-available compost pails. To reduce odors at home and at the Greenmarket, store items in the freezer or refrigerator. A layer of shredded newspaper at the bottom of your storage container also helps.

Food comprises about 17 percent of NYC’s waste stream. When this material is sent to a landfill it contributes to NYC’s disposal costs and creates greenhouse gas emissions. When composted, food scraps and other organic waste become a useful product that adds nutrients and improves the quality of soil for street trees, gardens and more.

“Last year in my Food Works speech one of our goals was to get more people to compost their scraps. You could throw a banana peel or apple core in the garbage but that’s just wasting valuable energy,” said Quinn. “I’m  thrilled to be able to support the opening of these new compost drop-off sites, and what better place to offer them than at the Greenmarkets, where many of the fruits and vegetables sold benefit from the rich, nutrient-filled compost NYC residents will be contributing to every time they drop their food scraps.”

“We’re thrilled that Speaker Quinn and the New York City Council is helping us offer residents a tangible resource that will shrink their trash pile-up and create a precious resource that will benefit local gardens and farms,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “Compost collection complements other services GrowNYC offers city dwellers looking to lower their environmental impact, including Greenmarkets, textile collections, cell phone and battery recycling, environmental education and technical and material assistance we provide community and school gardens.”

Based on the success of the pilot, GrowNYC will explore running the 6 new collection sites on a permanent basis.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chase Away the Winter Blues at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

It’s been a long, rough winter, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is offering a “Chase Away the Winter Blues” tour this coming Sunday, March 6 at 1 p.m. From BBG’s web site:

Science has developed some understanding of what causes the “winter blues” — and more important, what helps keep them at bay. Exposure to daylight, even on a cloudy day, can help restore energy, alertness, and contentment.

Over a dozen different kinds of flowers grace the grounds of BBG in late winter. Celebrate the transition from winter to spring by admiring petite, colorful and sturdy blooms that are undeterred by the frosts and snows of March.

Join licensed psychotherapist and veteran BBG tour guide Lynne Spevack, LCSW, for this hour-long, outdoor narrated walk designed to relieve the winter doldrums. Learn what you can do to maintain a sunny outlook through the dark, cold days of winter while discovering the plants and animals that enliven the garden landscape in the depths of winter. This walk is held rain, snow, or shine; dress warmly and wear comfortable walking shoes.

The tour is free with Garden admission, there is no reservation required. Meet in front of the Visitor Center.

BBG also offers free winter weekdays, which last until March 13. As always, admission on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon is free (except during special events). For more information visit www.bbg.org.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Environmental Scorecard Released — Brooklyn Congressmembers Score High

New York Outperforms Nation

Thursday the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released the 2010 National Environmental Scorecard, which evaluates how members of Congress vote on environmental, public health and energy issues. There were six different Senate votes and nine different House votes on the 2010 scorecard on issues ranging from clean energy to public health protections to lands conservation.

"Unfortunately, the most important votes of 2010 are the ones that didn’t happen: the Senate failed to even begin debate on a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill and also failed to respond to the greatest environmental disaster in our nation's history — the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," said LCV President Gene Karpinski. "The 2010 National Environmental Scorecard clearly illustrates that there is much work to be done."

However, New York’s members of Congress outperformed the nation in terms of their scores, with a few exceptions. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand both scored 100 percent (the national average for the Senate was 48 percent), while New York’s average for the house was 88, compared to a national average of 57.

Brooklyn Congressmembers scored above average. Jerrold Nadler (D), who represents parts of the waterfront neighborhoods, scored 100. So did Yvette D. Clarke (D), who represents neighborhoods in central Brooklyn, and Nydia M. Velázquez (D), who represents neighborhoods in northern Brooklyn and some along the waterfront.

Congressmen Anthony D. Weiner (D), who represents much of southern Brooklyn, and Edolphus Towns (D), who represents parts of northwest and east Brooklyn, both scored 90. So did Mike McMahon (D) who used to represent southwest Brooklyn. He was replaced in the 2010 election by Congressman Michael Grimm.

"Both of New York’s senators and 17 of our House members achieved perfect scores on the 2010 National Environmental Scorecard. Their efforts underscore just how much New Yorkers care about clean energy and a more sustainable future," said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York LCV. "We look forward to working with members on both sides of the aisle in the New York delegation to keep making environmental progress in 2011."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brooklyn Public Library: Saving Paper

Before Feb. 1, the Brooklyn Public Library sent out 25,000 pieces of correspondence a month, just informing members of holds and overdue materials, said spokesperson Malika Granville.

These paper reminders ended at the beginning of the month, when the library rolled out a new electronic system. Members sign up to receive reminders via email or text message.

“We wanted to find a way to communicate without having to exhaust such an expensive resource,” Granville said.

Members can sign up for the new system online, or visit a branch and “someone will be able to walk them through the process,” she explained. So far, 9,503 people have signed up.

And if someone doesn’t have a cell phone or access to a computer, “we would offer that person a land line option,” Granville continued. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t excluding anyone.”

For anyone who might forget to sign up and forget to bring back a book, the next time they log onto their account online or try to take out a book they would be notified of the overdue fee. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coming Up: Winter Stop 'N' Swap

Looking to get rid of some clothes or housewares? In the mood for a wardrobe or home makeover on a budget?

On Saturday, Feb. 26, GrowNYC, a non-profit geared toward improving the quality of life in the five boroughs through environmental programs, will offer a Stop 'N' Swap in the M.S. 113 lobby in Fort Greene from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Members of the community are invited to bring unwanted but still usable items — books, toys, fashionable clothing, housewares and working electronics — along with a bag to fill up with items they would like to take with them. (All items should be portable so others can easily carry them away.)

Whatever is left at the end of the day will be sorted and donated or recycled. According to GrowNYC spokesperson Amanda Gentile, about 300-500 people come out to these swaps. Ninety percent or more of what comes in ends up getting reused. 

“Stop ‘N’ Swaps have hit at the right time. In this economy, they’re a great way for residents to find things they need without having to pay and they are reducing the amount of garbage that NYC generates,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “In fact, it’s a triple-win; in addition to economic and environmental benefits, they also build community as New Yorkers come out and meet their neighbors.”

M.S. 113 is located at 300 Adelphi Street between DeKalb and Lafayette avenues.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Climate Awareness Day in Brooklyn

The featured speaker will be Liz Butler, campaign director of 1Sky, the largest collaborative climate and energy campaign in the United States. Butler was a co-founder of ForestEthics and was directly responsible for the protection of over 50 million acres of forests in the U.S., Canada, and Chile. She also served as the National Organizing Director for American Lands Alliance and the Director of Missouri Public Interest Research Group. 

Butler's address will be followed by an audience Q & A and a letter-writing session directed at local and national politicians urging them to take action on climate change legislation. At 4 p.m. the event will split up into four breakout sessions that focus on topics including environmental policy at the state and local level, the impact of climate change on food production, green values and ethics, and new developments in building and transportation efficiency. There will also be special activities for children.

Congregation Beth Elohim is located at 274 Garfield Place at 8th Avenue in Park Slope. There will be a suggested donation of $5 for the event.

Monday, January 10, 2011

MulchFest 2011 in Prospect Heights

Yesterday we brought our Christmas tree to the Prospect Heights Community Farm at 252-256 St Marks Ave. for MulchFest. We were told that our tree was the 232nd collected at the farm over the course of the weekend. As we were walking away, two more trees were being brought to the drop-off location. According to the Parks Department, 16,665 trees were mulched this year, with Brooklyn bringing in the most at 6,627.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recycle Holiday Trees into Mulch This Weekend

This Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., bring you holiday tree to a designated city park to be recycled into mulch.

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the New York City Department of Sanitation, and GreeNYC are teaming up again for MulchFest. The wood chips generated will be used to nourish trees and plants on streets and gardens citywide. You can also take home your a bag of mulch to use in your backyard or to make a winter bed for a street tree.

Last year, close to 24,000 trees citywide were recycled. This year there are 70 sites across the city, 35 for chipping and 35 additional drop-off locations. 16 of these sites are in Brooklyn. For a list of the sites, click here.

Remember to remove all lights and ornaments before bringing the tree to a MulchFest site. Biodegradable bags will be provided if you wish to take some free mulch home (but mulch isn't available at all the sties, make sure to check before you go).