Some of GrowNYC's Best Volunteers

March 26, 2012
Posted in Community Gardens | Tagged volunteer

We are truly thankful for the time volunteers commit to helping GrowNYC provide resources for a better NYC. Meet a few of our awesome volunteers! JOE BUCK As an Open Space Greening volunteer with GrowNYC, Joe has led teams of volunteers at Greening's biggest event of the year, the Annual Spring Plant Sale, which distributes plants to over 500 neighborhood garden projects every year. Why he does it: I enjoy the opportunities with GrowNYC and the community gardens because I get to tap into my imaginary “Inner-Gardener” in the midst of the urban jungle. “To be of service” was instilled in me growing up, so it feels natural to lend a hand. Besides, being self-absorbed is far more exhausting. The best part: Getting dirty! My job is a suit and tie. So having the opportunity to dig in the dirt, learn about a flower or vegetable or help create an oasis in what was once an empty lot is magical. It sounds bit corny, but I mean it. The impact: It connects resources with needs! It gives people the opportunity to step out their comfort zones and actually be part of the solution. Each one teach one, right?! NANCY RAPHAEL As a recycling volunteer with GrowNYC, Nancy has helped teach New Yorkers about composting and contributed to successful recycling at large events. Why she does it: I thoroughly believe that it takes a collective effort to make a difference and enjoy working with GrowNYC staff and fellow volunteers who have dedication visible in their faces. I do not view my volunteering experience as giving up my Saturday or Sunday, or as sacrificing my sleep. Instead, I see it as contributing my time to making a big difference in changing the carbon footprint of New York and I am proud to be a part of such a large task. The best part: The fun of engaging with New Yorkers and asking them to take care of the city they live in and think of the world they are a part of as well as connecting with fellow volunteers. I also enjoy the camaraderie between recycling volunteers that makes for a successful effort. The impact: As people become more and more conscious, they will feel compelled to volunteer their time and recycle at home and everywhere they may be--picking up stuff on the ground or advising others to recycle. ERIN EASTERN As a Greenmarket volunteer with GrowNYC, Erin staffs Union Square Greenmarket's Market Information Station and answers customer questions while assisting with cooking demonstrations and other market promotions. Why I do it: I volunteer because I believe in the farmers market/food justice movement and enjoy being helpful to the Market Managers so that they can run one of the best Public Markets in the world. I am proud to be a small part in the success of Greenmarket. Also, I love being outside rain or shine. As an indoor worker during the week, I genuinely miss the time I spent working outdoors and the feeling of being out there (especially when the weather is beautiful, of course). The best part: Having a community that is separate from my work, family, and friends. The people I meet through Greenmarket cross the usual cultural boundaries (e.g. urban/rural, young/old, farmer/organizer) and broaden my social world. I enjoy meeting the other volunteers and learning how they came to Greenmarket; making new friends that also have an interest in food justice, urban growing, CSA's, and a myriad of other cool things unrelated to food like film studies, United States law, and sports. The impact: The larger impact of Greenmarket is huge and I like thinking about how I am part of what they accomplish: Encouraging New Yorkers to interact with their food producers and learn where their food comes from; providing underserved communities access to fresh, healthy foods; creating a learning environment for schools and media; incubating small businesses and helping farmers to stay on their land.

Local Recycling Options for Obsolete High-Tech Trash

March 21, 2012
Posted in Recycling | Tagged electronic recycling, ewaste

When coming across some of the dated materials accumulating around the GrowNYC office, it’s not hard to believe that we are a 41-year-old organization. We recently discovered a stash of floppy disks and decided to purchase a Technotrash bin to have them recycled. These bins, available through a company called Greendisk, accept all kinds of media and tech-related waste for reuse or recycling. With all the great resources at hand in NYC we’re reserving our bin for the most obsolete materials, like VHS and audio tapes. Check out some of the many ways for NYC residents to recycle ever-accumulating e-waste and tech trash, thanks to recent laws, voluntary initiatives and community efforts: • Inkjet and toner cartridges: Return to Office Depot, Staples, check manufacturer packaging for mail-back labels. • Cell phones: NY state law requires all wireless providers to accept phones for recycling free of charge. Many charities also accept phones and chargers. • Rechargeable batteries: Prohibited from residential waste, but easily recyclable by returning to any retailer that sells the same type of battery. • Alkaline batteries: Bring to the DSNY Special Waste Drop-Off Site in your borough or to one of the City’s Household Hazardous Waste collections this spring. • Best Buy: Vacuums? CDs? Video game cartridges? What won’t these guys recycle? Bring up to three pieces of e-waste and other appliances per day free of charge. • Staples: Accepts up to 6 items per day of any brand computer, monitor, printer, shredder, UPS device, peripherals, and small office electronics like mobile phones, GPS and digital cameras. • Goodwill: Stores accept any brand of computer and peripherals at no charge. • Lower East Side Ecology Center’s E-waste Warehouse: Will accept electronics and alkaline, button, lithium and rechargeable batteries at no charge at their new drop-off site in Brooklyn. • Sims Recycling Solutions: Offers NY residents a free, postage-paid mail-back program for any brand of electronic equipment. • We Recycle!: Offers NY residents a free, postage-paid mail-back program for any brand of electronic equipment. Find upcoming electronics collections in neighborhoods across New York and visit NYC WasteLess for more info on electronics recycling in NYC.

Recycling Volunteer Profile: Michael Mullaley

March 16, 2012
Posted in Recycling | Tagged volunteer

We asked some questions to Michael Mullaley, age 25, an Office of Recycling Outreach & Education volunteer who has been volunteering with us almost every weekend and who has made promoting composting a passion of his ever since moving to NYC from Oregon. Check out our conversation on his volunteerism!

OROE: What prompted you to volunteer with OROE?
Michael: I majored in Environmental Studies in college and have been doing various conservation work over the last couple years. After moving to New York City, I wanted to learn about, and get involved with, environmental organizations here and some of the work that they are doing. OROE’s volunteer opportunities to get out on the ground, talk to people and help educate them about recycling and composting really appealed to me. Also, I wanted to personally learn more about recycling in NYC since guidelines are a little more specific here than back in Oregon.

OROE: What was your best experience volunteering with OROE so far?
Michael: I have two. I really enjoy working up at Inwood because of the sense of community that is generated at a farmers market. All the community members make me feel right at home. The other best experience came when I tabled at the Chinese New Year recycling event. It was very exciting to see the young kids get enthusiastic about the recycling game, and was quite impressive how quickly they picked up all the various details.

OROE: Have you always been a recycling enthusiast?
Michael: Definitely. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where recycling is second-nature. There are much fewer recycling-specific constrictions on items, which makes the overall experience simpler and less confusing. The city’s recycling infrastructure is very well organized too.

OROE: What’s your environmental policy?
Michael: Try and do things that limit my ecological footprint, which means becoming more aware of my actions and its impact on my surroundings. Develop sustainable habits in your everyday life (ie energy and water conservation, public transportation, recycling, collecting food scraps, buying less “stuff”), while trying to get involved with groups and organizations to have a greater environmental impact. Also, it has become a passion and priority to just get out and enjoy nature. Not only is it a chance to revel in the many gorgeous American landscapes, but it helps to put a face on that which is threatened by anthropogenic actions, and why it is so important to conserve, protect and fight for ecosystems.

OROE: What’s your personal philosophy?
Michael: Always be kind, work hard, and be open to new experiences.

OROE: What is your favorite thing about living in New York?
Michael: The wide diversity of people, cultures and languages here are incredible. I also love the public transportation, city parks and the surprisingly large amount of community gardens.

OROE: What is your favorite thing about volunteering in New York?
Michael: Meeting all sorts of people and listening to their individual stories.

OROE: Has volunteering with OROE helped you see New York or New Yorkers in a different light?
Michael: New York is more sustainable than people give it credit for. But there is still plenty of recycling and compost education to be done!

OROE: What upcoming events are you signed on to volunteer for with OROE?
Michael: Compost collection at Inwood, and Earth Day recycling education.

OROE: What are the benefits of volunteering with OROE?
Michael: You get to talk to people about environmental issues and help empower them to take action. In general, you have a chance to give back to the community, support a cause you believe in, gain additional experience you might not have had, and, of course, meet people.

Spring Cleaning is Even Greener with NYC SAFE Disposal Events

February 17, 2012
Posted in Recycling

New Yorkers generate about 8,500 tons of so-called Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) each year, not to mention what we store in basements and under our kitchen sinks.

Thanks to a new annual collection program, residents can safely dispose of hazardous substances such as household cleaners, mothballs, hobby supplies, glues, nail polish, batteries, paint, pesticides, medicine and more at the NYC Department of Sanitation’s NYC SAFE Disposal Events coming to each borough this spring.

Can’t make it to an event? Find everyday safe disposal options on GrowNYC’s Recycling Resources page. Finally, avoid disposal problems by learning to reduce toxins in your home.

Add reuse to your post-holiday clean-up with Stop ‘N’ Swap®!

January 17, 2012
Posted in Recycling

Sure it’s rewarding to sort eggnog containers and wrapping paper for recycling, chip in at MulchFest, bring obsolete electronics to a recycling collection and drop unwanted textiles and food scraps at a local Greenmarket drop-off site, but nothing beats clearing out post-holiday clutter like a Stop ‘N’ Swap. Since 2007 more than 7,000 New Yorkers have attended GrowNYC’s seasonal gathering to find new homes for unwanted items that are too good to toss. Even those who come to get rid of clutter find it hard to ignore the tables piled with books, music, toys, dishes, handbags, electronics and more. Whether it’s the joy of having more space at home or the fun of finding something great for free, Stop ‘N’ Swap puts a smile on every face and nothing good goes to waste. Learn more at www.GrowNYC.org/swap and check one out this winter! Upcoming Stop ‘N’ Swaps: Manhattan – Chinatown/Two Bridges Saturday, January 28, 2012, 12pm-3pm PS 126 Manhattan Academy of Technology 80 Catherine St at Cherry St Staten Island – West Brighton Sunday, February 5, 2012, 1pm-4pm St. Mary's Episcopal Church 347 Davis Ave (b/t Castleton Ave & S. St Austin's Pl)

Holiday Compost and Textile Recycling Schedule

December 13, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged textile recycling

Tina, Joel, and Annie Podkaminer of Trumansburg Tree Farm.

All Sunday Greenmarkets will be closed on Christmas, December 25, and New Year's Day, January 1. All Saturday Greenmarkets will be open on Christmas Eve, December 24, and New Year's Eve, December 31, but textiles and compost will not be collected.

Thanksgiving Produce Bags + Textile Recycling at La Marqueta

November 15, 2011

Wholesale Greenmarket will be selling pre-packed produce bags at La Marqueta's Clothing and Textile Recycling Day on Saturday, November 19th. The bags will be made up of fresh, local produce [potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, collards, and MORE] and will cost $7. Customers will be able to use EBT towards their purchase. Everyone is welcome to purchase a bag; no pre-orders will be accepted and sales are on a first-come, first-serve basis. GrowNYC will also be assisting with textile recycling at the event. Bring clean and dry clothing, paired shoes, bedding, linens, hats, handbags, belts, fabric scraps 36"x36" or larger and other textiles (no rugs or carpeting). Materials will be sorted for reuse or recycling. Everyone who donates will receive a free energy-efficient CFL light bulb! GrowNYC's Thanksgiving Produce Bags + Textile Recycling Saturday, November 19, 12pm-5pm La Marqueta 1590 Park Avenue (btw E. 112th & E. 115th St) New York, NY 10029

Holiday Greenmarket & Textile Collection Schedule

November 14, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged thanksgiving

The week of Thanksgiving, all Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday markets will be open. Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25, all markets will be closed. Markets will resume their normal schedules on Saturday, November 26. Some markets have rescheduled their Thursday and Friday dates; details below:

Manhattan

97th Street: Open Wednesday, 11/23 + accepting textiles, Closed Friday 11/25 Bowling Green: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24 City Hall: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Friday, 11/25 Columbia: Open Tuesday, 11/22, Closed Thursday, 11/24 Port Authority Bus Terminal: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24 Tucker Square: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24 World Financial Center: Open Wednesday, 11/23, Closed Thursday, 11/24

Brooklyn

Grand Army Plaza: Open Wednesday, 11/23 (no textile collection)

Support School Recycling Champions on Kickstarter

November 7, 2011

GrowNYC is trying something new. Kickstarter, the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world, invited us to launch a project.

We're trying to raise $10,000 in 60 days to bring our Recycling Champions program to one school in each borough in 2011-12. We'll work alongside students, teachers, administrators and custodial engineers to educate the school community about the importance of recycling, provide professional development resources and presentation tools, facilitate classroom activities and lessons, and create youth recycling "ambassadors" to motivate and educate community. Make your pledge TODAY and get fun rewards!

Vote for GrowNYC's School Recycling Champions on Kickstarter!

How to Compost at Greenmarket in 3 Simple Steps

July 20, 2011
Posted in Greenmarket | Tagged compost

First-time composters wonder about the best way to get their veggie trimmings to the compost collection. Here's our quick guide:

1) Get a storage container. Anything from a 32-ounce yogurt container or plastic bag to a covered pail will do the job. Check out our slideshow for more ideas.

2) Keep it cool. Store scraps in the freezer or fridge to reduce odors at home and at the Greenmarket.

3) Bring it to the market. Stop by the compost tent and empty your container into our receptacle. You can reduce waste by reusing the same container. After you shop you can drop in unwanted carrot tops, corn husks, radish greens, etc before leaving the market. That's it!

Learn more about what you can and can't compost.

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