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


Climate Conversations: Climate Hope for the Hudson Valley

The first in Sustainable Hudson Valley’s fall series of climate conversations looks clearly at the quickening pace of climate change and growing risks faced by our communities, combined with the just-as-fast acceleration of movements taking direct, positive action to transform the way we live and work.  Every other Friday from noon – 1:15 PM starting October 9, 2020 with this event.

Dave Conover, SHV’s Program Coordinator, is a lifelong educator who was recently trained by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.  He will summarize the realities from science and personal experience.  From teaching environmental science to non-scientists at Marist College to running the Clearwater’s educational programs, Dave has developed a unique overview of the Hudson Valley environment and honed his climate storytelling skills in the process.

Melissa Everett, SHV’s Executive Director, is a social scientist and skilled facilitator who is working with dozens of groups to convene a Regional Climate Action Planning process. She has been collecting data on regional climate action in renewable energy, transportation, materials and water management, agriculture, as well as documenting the emerging green economy in the region, climate justice issues, and the work underway to create resilient communities and educate the region for action. 

The Hudson Valley was a birthplace of the first environmental movement to protect land, air and water.  SHV is a leader in “the next environmental movement” to support new ways of living and working that restore economy, environment and the fabric of community.   The Climate Conversations series brings people together for informative, inspiring discussions that shine the light on action opportunities for today. Free.  Register here (required).

Next featured programs:

10/23/20  Juice: Electrification as Climate Strategy

A conversation on Marbletown’s plan to shift to 100% renewable energy, electrification as an underpinning of efficiency, the role of electric vehicles, storage and more.  With Tom Konrad, Ph.D., Chair, Marbletown Environmental Conservation Commission and Seth Leitman, MPA, Program Manager, Drive Electric Hudson Valley. Register here (required).

11/6/20 Resilient Places: A Systems Approach

A conversation about placemaking for resilience and equity with Cynthia Nikitin, SHV Resilient Places Fellow. Register here (required). 

11/20/20  The Repair Revolution

A conversation about taking control of your “stuff” and the emerging circular economy, with John Wackman and Elizabeth Knight, coauthors, Repair Revolution (2020, New World Library). Register here (required).

12/4 /20  Prospects for 2021

A round-up of strategies and predictions, special guests to be announced. Register here (required).

Join us!

Victoria Kelly

Manager of Environmental Monitoring Programs

Cary Institute of Eco System Studies

CCE Earth Day STREAM-A-THON

Cancelled Earth Day activities have you feeling blue about being green? Cornell Cooperative Extension has the answer! CCE Dutchess County is partnering with CCEs across the Hudson Valley to bring you the Earth Day STREAM-A-THON! CCE educators and staff will be taking to social media to provide a day chock-full of short presentations pertaining to plastic recycling and reduction, energy efficiency, composting, and even a guided stream-side woods walk!

Take a break from your regular quarantine programming and join us live on our CCE Dutchess Facebook page (or on Zoom if you prefer!) throughout the day for some great information, resources, and all-around Earth Day fun! The schedule for the day and instructions on how to participate can be found on our website.

We would love to have you celebrate Earth Day with us in this new and exciting way! And if you would also like to help us promote the event on your social media you can just share our event on your page.

We hope everyone is staying safe and we look forward to celebrating Earth Day 2020 with you all!

Source: CCEDC Environment & Energy Team

Help Protect Your Garbage & Recycling Workers from COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) have both issued guidance associated with the Coronavirus and waste management.

Do your best to help protect your local garbage and recycling workers who continue to serve as an essential function in our communities and collect our waste on a weekly basis.

Best Practices

  • Tightly tie all garbage bags shut and place in your garbage tote.
  • Postpone your spring cleaning to keep all of your garbage and recycling contained in their collection totes.

Recycle Right

  • Do not put disposable gloves, masks or tissues in your recycling bin. Dispose of them properly in the trash.
  • Do not recycle medical sharps or syringes. Medical sharps or syringes should be put in a rigid plastic container, clearly labeled “sharps”, sealed tightly and placed in your garbage.
  • Do not bag your recycling. Place your recyclables loose in your curbside recycling tote.

Collection Tote Maintenance

  • Keep lid on your garbage and recycling totes to avoid littering
  • Wipe down your collection totes, especially the handles and lids, once you put them at the curb.
  • If needed, rinse containers. Make sure all containers are empty and dry.

Show your appreciation for your local garbage and recycling workers by leaving a thank you note.


Keep Your Reusable Bag Clean

New York State’s ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect on March 1st, 2020. Reusable bags help us reduce waste and protect our environment. Are you trying out reusable bags but looking for best practices and information on cleaning them? Information is available from the New York State Department of Health.


COVID-19 and Beverage Container Redemption

Recycling operations, including redemption of containers through the bottle bill are considered essential services. However, redemption centers should implement appropriate social distancing practices whenever and wherever possible.

DEC recognizes that unintended consequences of the COVID-19 response may make full compliance with requirements challenging for certain facilities and result in temporary disruptions to required redemption operations.

For more information on COVID-19 and Bottle Bill Beverage Container Redemption.


Composting in the Time of COVID-19

Tune into the United States Composting Council’s webinar series, Composting in the Time of COVID-19, especially if you are a municipal/commercial composter or food scraps hauler.

Show your appreciation and leave a thank you note for your local food scraps hauler.


US Composting Council – Mentoring Program Now Open

The United State’s Composting Council’s mentoring program is now open for applications – mentees and mentors! Tune into the April 17th webinar to hear from past mentors and mentees as well as the mentoring coordinator to answer your questions.

The mentoring program helps young professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 with professional development as they grow their careers, personal capabilities and businesses in the composting industry. Mentors must be a USCC member, however mentees do not have to be members of USCC, but are encouraged to join throughout the year of mentorship. Applications are due by April 30, 2020. 


Wasted Food Warrior Tip of the Week

Got brown bananas? Turn those soft bruised bananas into delicious banana bread or ice cream. Store them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.


Compost Bin & Rain Barrel Sales


Conference, Workshops & Webinars:


Funding Opportunities – Application Deadlines


We Want To Hear From You!

Is there a topic you’d like to learn more about or a public event or workshop related to recycling (organics, textiles, traditional recyclables, etc.) you’d like the greater community to know more about? E-mail us at organicrecycling@dec.ny.gov and it could be featured in an upcoming Solid Waste & Recycling Newsletter.

 

Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Event

The March 28 event is now cancelled.

The next two events will be June 20th and September 19th. Registration for the June 20th event will open May 20th.

  • Registration and pre-payment for this HHW event is mandatory.
  • We must receive your $10.00 registration fee no later than the Wednesday prior to Saturday’s event.
  • No monies will be accepted at the collection site.
  • Please be prepared for wait times!
  • Registration limited to the first 360 households
  • Open to Dutchess County Residents Only
  • Download the March 28 event flyer (.pdf)

Events are held at: 

Dutchess County Department of Public Works
626 Dutchess Turnpike, Poughkeepsie, NY
(access off of Route 44 to Burnett Boulevard)

Continue reading

Help Us Prepare for New York State Compost Awareness Week

As we prepare to celebrate New York State Compost Awareness Week in conjunction with International Compost Awareness WeekMay 3 – 9, 2020, we’re interested in hearing from you!

Email organicrecycling@dec.ny.gov with any compost related events (composting workshops, volunteer opportunities, etc.) happening in your community throughout April and May.

Leading up to Compost Awareness Week, we will be sharing these events, social media and resources relaying the importance of compost to soil health.

9th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep

WHEN:
May 2, 2020 (Postponed. Contact sweep@riverkeeper.org for further info)
WHERE IN DUTCHESS COUNTY:
Beacon: Denning’s Point Cleanup
Beacon: Riverfront Park Cleanup
Poughkeepsie: Waryas Park Shoreline Cleanup
Poughkeepsie: Kaal Rock Park Cleanup
Staatsburg: Mills Historic Site Cleanup
Tivoli: Cleanup of the Hudson River at Tivoli Landing
Wappingers Falls: Lower Wappinger Creek Cleanup by Kayak/Canoe and Land

Join us for the 9th annual Riverkeeper Sweep, our annual day of service for the Hudson River and its tributaries! Over the last 8 years, we have had 737 projects along hundreds of miles of shoreline from Brooklyn to the Adirondacks. More than 14,000 volunteers have removed 259 tons of debris, planted 2,372  trees and native grasses, and removed tons of invasive species.

Sweep 2020Riverkeeper organiza todos los años una jornada dedicada a la limpieza del río Hudson y sus tributarios. Riverkeeper Sweep se realizará el 2 de mayo. Leér mas en La Voz: A cuidar nuestro río.

A full list of 2020 Sweep sites will be posted here on April 1, 2020. To get a sense of where sites have been in the past, check out the list from 2019.

Ways to get involved:
Organize a project: Is there a park or shoreline in your community in need of a cleanup? Submit the Sweep Leader Interest Form and we will reach out with more information about organizing your own project for Saturday, May 2.

Volunteer: Interested in pitching in? Submit the Volunteer Interest Form to receive updates about volunteering on Sweep day.

Sponsor Sweep: Do you own a business interested in helping restore the Hudson River? Email Elizabeth Allee at eallee@riverkeeper.org for more information about sponsoring the 2020 Riverkeeper Sweep.

It takes hundreds of local volunteers to make Sweep happen in their communities. If there is a local park or stretch of shoreline not listed, e-mail sweep@riverkeeper.org to learn about how you can organize a project. Click here to visit our page with resources for Sweep leaders, which will be updated in the coming months. 

Annual CAC-EMC Roundtable

On Tuesday CCEDC’s Environment and Energy Program hosted its’ Annual CAC-EMC Roundtable. The event began with a presentation from Resource Educator, Michelle Gluck, on the Dutchess S.U.P.P.P. Campaign. Michelle spoke to the issue of single-use plastics (SUPs) and discussed how Conservation Advisory Committees (CACs) can be involved to make for an even stronger and successful impact to reduce single-use plastic usage throughout Dutchess County! Dutchess County Recycling Educator, Kerry Russell, was available to answer questions as well.This presentation was very timely as the NYS Bag Waste Reduction Law goes into effect on 3/1/2020. The Roundtable was hosted as a “zero-waste “event with attendees asked to BYO mug. Some attendees went above and beyond and brought their own plate too! Continue reading