March 2013

Greenmarket and Compost+Textile Recycling Easter Schedule Changes

Easter Greenmarket Schedule - Sunday, March 31st
Also, Some food scrap composting and textile recycling collections at Greenmarket will be affected by the Easter holiday:

MANHATTAN
Tompkins Square Park Greenmarket - OPEN Saturday, March 30th (food scrap collections-YES, textile recycling-NO). CLOSED Sunday, March 31st (no food scrap and textile collections). 
79th Street Greenmarket - OPEN
Columbia University Greenmarket - OPEN

QUEENS
Jackson Heights Greenmarket - OPEN

BROOKLYN
Carroll Gardens Greenmarket - CLOSED, No food scrap or textile collections.
Cortelyou Greenmarket - OPEN

Meet a Recycling Outreach Coordinator

At GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, five stellar staffers are responsible for covering outreach activities throughout the five boroughs. For almost five years, Ermin Siljkovic has spent countless hours getting to know Manhattan’s communities and working to improve their recycling habits. Ermin took a few minutes between recycling presentations to answer a few questions about his job, and his personal quest for a more sustainable NYC.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Interacting with so many people from all different walks of life and informing them of choices we have available to us, and which of those can have a positive impact on their lives. I guess I am sort of a good deed machine and this is essentially what drives me every day.

What is one of the most common public misconceptions about recycling in NYC?
That it is “too confusing” and “has changed so many times”. Both are untrue!

What is one golden rule you try to teach New Yorkers about recycling?
I encourage folks to stick to the basics by simply going by the tips we teach. There many things in life that we must learn in order to adapt to our roles at home or at work. Recycling is one of those things and thankfully, learning how to recycle at home is not very difficult. Unfortunately, we are not where we would like to be in regards to our diversion rate so I think a big part of our mission is to promote the simplicity of the DSNY curbside residential recycling program. If we can do that successfully I believe we will have then made great strides toward achieving our goal.

Did you recycle as a kid?
I grew up in an era in NYC when our trash burned right under our noses, and later, our family moved to a suburban area where recycling wasn’t implemented until I was practically on my way out to college. Other than occasionally recycling bottles at the supermarket, the short answer is “no”.

What got you interested in recycling?
The realization that I am accountable for my actions and that how I manage my waste plays a big role in this consideration.

What are some steps you have taken in your personal life to leave less of a footprint on the environment?
Aside from composting more of my food scraps (most recently with indoor Bokashi composting) or donating more of my unwanted personal items, I have been really big on growing at least some of my own food during the year and buying locally whenever I can. I am encouraged that this not only benefits the environment but helps build resilience in our communities.

Do you have a favorite story from the field?
Hard to pick just one. I know it sounds cliché but every day there is another new story. I always love finding “diamonds in the rough” which can be best described as individual people who want to recycle but just don’t know how or where to recycle or a property manager or building superintendent who has been looking for advice but just didn’t have access to a person who can explain it to them in way they could understand.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools


GrowNYC formed a partnership with Wagner Middle School in Manhattan called Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools, funded by NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin. Under one roof, we are providing support from five GrowNYC programs: Learn It Grow It Eat It, Grow to Learn School Gardens, Greenmarket Youth Education, Recycling Champions and Environmental Education. For an entire year, GrowNYC staff is educating young people about how to lead lives that improve their personal health and that of the environment around them; so that eating, growing, learning and going green become second nature.

On the recycling front, we recently helped Wagner launch a school-wide cafeteria recycling program – 1,200 students in grades 6-8 sorted everything from trays to milk cartons, placing them in their proper containers with help from dozens of student volunteers and Green Team members. 1,200 students recycling milk cartons for one year will save 31 trees!

To keep it fun, grades are competing to see who can reduce their overall waste – on a weekly basis, the amount of waste will be calculated and the winning grade announced on Fridays. At the end of every month, the grade that has reduced waste and recycled the most will receive special “Out-Lunch” privileges. Wagner has averaged a daily reduction of 9 bags of garbage or 17%, while generating an extra bag of recyclables.

The contest, designed by the Green Team, was the culmination of an outreach campaign they undertook to educate their classmates. Working with their advisor, teacher and sustainability coordinator Jessica Gordon, students created posters, morning announcements, and a PowerPoint. The success of the program could not have been possible without the support and help of Wagner’s administration and staff.