Recycling

Reuse: the new retail therapy

 

Photo by Dave Sanders

 

On January 22, GrowNYC celebrated National Swap Day with the second of five Stop ‘N’ Swap events taking place across the five boroughs this winter. More than 300 New Yorkers stopped by I.S. 52 in Manhattan to donate perfectly usable items and partake of the bounty that may have otherwise gone to waste in a landfill. Swappers took satisfaction in seeing their unwanted stuff put a smile on other’s faces and found joy in discovering great things they could use, at no cost to themselves or the environment. Clothing, books, toys, electronics, cookware and even a bike complete with training wheels quickly found new homes, leaving staff and volunteers an easy clean-up at the end of the day. The Stop ‘N’ Swap comes to the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn in February.

Learn more at www.grownyc.org/swap.

Photo by Dave SandersPhoto by Dave SandersPhoto by Dave SandersPhoto by Dave SandersPhoto by Layman Lee

Green Grades: NYC Schools Recycle!

NYC public schools have a goal to double their recycling rate by 2012. With around 1,600 schools in NYC, there needs to be model recycling programs for schools to emulate. Green Grades is a short film that highlights the efforts of two NYC schools that make recycling easy.

GrowNYC’s Recycling Champions program is helping multiple schools in each borough become model recyclers. For Green Grades, Recycling Champions partnered with the NYC DOE Sustainability Initiative, videographer Pamela French, and the NYC Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse, and Recycling to demonstrate how a successful recycling program is a team effort.

Dreaming of a Green Holiday?

As we slow down to celebrate another year with friends and family, the flow of waste seems to speed up. Egg nog cartons stack up on the counter, wrapping paper litters the living room, ugly sweaters spill out of drawers and not-so-obsolete electronics are transformed into pricey paperweights. We’ve compiled some of our favorite tips to help you reduce waste and clear out clutter without clogging a landfill. Even Grandma’s greeting can go to a good cause.

Go to tips.

Recycling Poster Series

Ever wish you could do more to educate your neighbors or tenants about recycling and waste prevention?  Check out this series of recycling posters from GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education.  Download the poster of your choice in black & white or color, print and post in recycling rooms, lobbies or other common areas of your building.  A new poster is issued each month in OROE’s NYC Recycling Updates e-newsletter.

Junk Mail Poster Junk Mail Poster Check the Neck
Million Pound Challenge
Paper Recycling Tip
Paper Recycling Tip

Million Pound Challenge, explained

GrowNYC's textile recycling program recently announced the Million Pound Challenge, an effort to reach more New Yorkers in order to help them recycle their unwanted clothing, linens, and shoes. We spoke to Christina Salvi, Assistant Director of the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, about textile recycling, why it's important, and how far along we are with the Challenge.

Where did the idea for the Million Pound Challenge come from?
6% of NYC's residential waste stream consists of textiles, like sheets, towels and unwanted clothing. That's 193,000 tons a year, which means that New Yorkers throw away 733 pounds of textiles every minute.

We've been collecting clothing and textiles at select Greenmarkets since 2007. We were in the process of evaluating our promotion of this program when the latest numbers came in at 750,000 pounds collected. So we thought, "Let's go for a million!" Right now we’re around 900,000 pounds.

Where have those 900,000 pounds of textiles been going?
We partner with Wearable Collections, a textiles recycling company that gives a certain percentage of their proceeds back to charitable organizations. They not only accept material at some of our markets, but also provide collection bins and do pickups at residential buildings.

Wearable Collections takes the material to a sorting facility where items are designated as usable or non-usable. The usable items will go to secondhand markets like thrift stores. Materials that are stained, ripped, or otherwise non-usable are further sorted into grades like cotton and synthetic blends. These textiles are then distributed to different markets and manufacturers that can turn them into things like car seats, insulation, and industrial rags.

Where can people drop off their stuff?
We are hoping to continue expansion of the program, but for now we have weekly drop-off sites at 8 markets in 3 boroughs on 4 days of the week. We also have special collections taking place during the Million Pound Challenge, like at the Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket on November 2, 9, 16 and 23.

People can bring any clean and dry textiles including clothing, paired shoes, sheets, towels, hats, bags and belts. We offer receipts for tax deductions as well.

People should wash everything before they donate?
Yes. It's okay if things have stains, but they should be laundered before donation. You can bring them in a plastic bag or just pack them in a reusable bag that you can empty into bins at the drop-off site.

What happens if you reach 1,000,000 pounds?
1,000,000 million pounds is a nice big number, but we see it as a great place to start. Keeping textiles out of landfills helps reduce disposal costs for taxpayers and prevents landfilling of materials that could create powerful greenhouse gasses. It will be great to reach a million pounds, but we will need to keep working to divert more material from going to waste; what it would mean is that we've made that many more people aware and have activated them to participate in recycling.

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