Composting in Dutchess County

Most of us at some point in our lives have been to a municipal dump. They are mostly pretty disgusting. All that trash we humans create goes somewhere – usually a landfill or waste-to-energy facility. Some of us leave those facilities thinking we’d like to do something to reduce what we send to the dump. Well, there is something we all can do. We can compost our kitchen scraps. Food scraps make up the largest proportion of the material we discard. If we all composted, we would significantly reduce what goes to our waste facilities.

Starting a compost is easy. You can compost your kitchen scraps if you live out in the country or in an apartment in the city. There are plenty of options to choose from. You’ll help reduce the volume of material going to our landfills and waste-to-energy plants, and you’ll end up with beautiful soil. Whether you want to drop off your compost at a nearby facility, set up a compost in your yard or even in your own kitchen, there’s an option for you.

Check out these resources:

Dutchess County Solid Waste Management

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Purchase a Compost Bin

CCEDC Environment & Energy Program Forums

What’s the Buzz: Creating Pollinator Friendly Communities

When: Wednesday November 3rd  from 6 to 8pm

Where: Cornell Zoom (Virtual). To register visit: (call-in option available)

Who: Dutchess County municipal officials and volunteers (CAC, CSC Task Force, Planning Board, Town Board, ZBA) ,watershed groups and local residents.

Pollinators are a critical component of our ecosystem, fertilizing the plants in our yards and parks as well as on our farms and orchards. They play an integral part in our local food system and help us grow our local agricultural economy. However, pollinator populations are in sharp decline due to activities such as loss of habitat. Participants will learn about various native pollinator species and the benefits they bring, the activities negatively impacting pollinators, and best management practices for managing our local landscapes with pollinating insects in mind, at both a residential and municipal scale. Participants will hear from two Dutchess County communities about ongoing efforts to establish pollinator gardens and “pathways”, helping to restore habitat connectivity and biodiversity to the region using a collaborative approach.

Presenters include:

  • Kerissa Battle, Community Greenways Collaborative
  • Susan Karnes Hecht, Town of Poughkeepsie Climate Smart Communities Task Force and Conservation Advisory Commission
  • Cathy Lane, Town of Hyde Park Visual Environment Committee and Dutchess County Master Gardener
  • Joyce Tomaselli, CCEDC Community Horticulture Resource Educator

*Please contact Michelle Gluck ( if you have any trouble registering for this event or have accessibility concerns.

Online Mapping Tools for Local Conservation Planning

When: Saturday, November 13th from 10:00am to 12:00pm

Where: Cornell Zoom (Virtual). To register visit:

Who: Dutchess County municipal officials and volunteers (CAC, Planning Board, Town Board, ZBA), watershed group members, local residents.

This training will provide an opportunity for guided hands-on learning of Dutchess County online mapping tools, as well as regional and statewide natural resource mappers. Members of Dutchess County conservation advisory councils, municipal planning and zoning boards and staff, watershed organizations, and interested citizens are encouraged to attend. Participants will practice using a number of the tools and will learn about the importance of conservation planning and communicating these values and knowledge to their audiences. Participants will be encouraged to follow-along remotely and will receive a video tutorial as a follow-up to the training to help guide them with using the tools later on in their daily duties.

Presenters include:

  • Sean Carroll, CCEDC
  • Nate Nardi-Cyrus, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program
  • Devin Rigolino, Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development
  • Julie Hart, Dutchess Land Conservancy

Plastic-Free Back to School Guide

  1. Invest in Reusable Foodware For Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Snacks and Lunches
  2. Buy In Bulk, Bring Your Own Containers and Shop Local
  3. Check Your Office, Shelves, Desk, and Closet for School Supplies Before You Buy
  4. Get New (To You) Clothes By Buying Secondhand
  5. Use This As An Opportunity To Educate Your Child

For detail information on each of the Tips follow the link to Beyond Plastics

Use Less-Toxic Products

We put ourselves, our families, and our pets at risk when we use herbicides, pesticides, highly corrosive products like drain cleaners, and toxins like ammonia and bleach. Sewage treatment plants don’t eliminate these chemicals, and many find their way into our air, water and ecosystems.

Fortunately, there are safer alternatives that work just as well. By choosing a non-toxic option or the least toxic product, you can protect yourself and the environment. Click on the following link for more information, DEC

Submitted by Candice Merrill

DC Urban Trail Project

The trail is to be built on the old Railroad ROW that was used to transfer trains from the Hudson Line to the former Maybrook Line (WRSDRT, Walkway over the Hudson and now Empire State Trail).  It will start by the Sewage Treatment plant, just south of Marist, run up into the Former Hudson River Psychiatric Center and then back south past the Hospital to connect up with the DRT and Walkway.  The survey is looking for input on how people will use the trail as a basis for its design.  Please check it out and provide input.

Brad Barclay, Senior Planner

DC Department of Planning and Development

Want to become an expert on plastic pollution?

This online class is open to all high school and college students who may want to arrange to take it for academic credit. It is also open to people of all ages who love to learn and don’t need school credit.

I think you would learn a lot and I love having different perspectives and viewpoints in the class. Last semester, my students were asked if they would recommend this class to others and 99 out of 100 said, “Yes.”

Below are comments from two students who took my class last fall:

“One of the best parts was joining a community of like minded people and learning from them. I no longer feel alone fighting this shocking problem of plastic pollution.”

“I loved this class. I now feel equipped to be a better activist and I am truly informed with a comprehensive understanding of the issue of plastic, beyond just the pollution it causes. More importantly, I now know how and where to stay informed.”

There will be seven consecutive classes held via Zoom on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 PM ET beginning on September 1st and ending October 13th.

If you do not need to receive academic credit, the fee to audit the class is just $100, if you do wish to receive official credit, the cost is $400.

You will receive a syllabus in advance. Even if you audit the class, there will be some homework assignments. All will be interesting and, dare I say, even fun at times.

If you’d like to join the class, you can register now here. I hope to see you there.


Judith Enck
President, Beyond Plastics & Visiting Professor, Bennington College

A Zero Waste Meal

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Recently, my family gave me a wonderful birthday gift of a zero waste meal. At least it was zero waste for us. There was certainly some waste from the processing of the food before it got to us. But, we deposited nothing into the trash from the meal, which was a great feeling.

There was a time when I thought the world would be saved because we could send plastic, metal, glass and paper off to be recycled. It felt good to take these items to a recycling center as opposed to the landfill. But it turns out that there is an enormous cost to recycling. Let’s consider plastic. So much of our products come packaged in plastic, which varies greatly in its chemical makeup. For that reason, recycling it is complicated. It must be sorted, packed into big cubes and shipped to a country that wants it. It then must be melted, a process that produces noxious fumes, and formed into pellets for resale to manufacturers. Oil companies, which produce the chemicals for making plastic, make it difficult to recycle plastic. They don’t make money if we recycle plastic, they make money selling us the raw material to make new plastic. So only a small proportion of the plastic produced can be recycled. And it can only be recycled once. Sadly, plastic production has skyrocketed and ends up in our oceans, rivers, streams and even our drinking water. It never breaks down entirely, it just gets smaller. But is it possible to live without plastic? The answer brings me back to the topic of this blog post. Continue reading

Tips to Reduce Food Waste

Each year, nearly 40 million tons of food is discarded by Americans. Equating to more than $161 billion, food waste accounts for approximately 30-40% of the U.S. food supply.

While cutting down on food waste reduces methane emissions from landfills and conserves energy – preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and selling food – it can also save you money by buying less food.

Here are a few ways to reduce wasted food, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Click Here