New York’s Prolific Pie Holes

       

      

Another OWM Hall of Shame culprit is NY’s famous Pizza lovers.  You know you are one block away from a Pizza Parlor when you start to see the plates littered along the sidewalks and streets.  It must take the same amount of time to walk one block as it does to enjoy a slice.  The plates make NYC’s sidewalks awash with white holes.  These eight were from my Monday morning walk to the subway.

      

      

Tuesday’s collection on the same walk.  The last one is my favorite!  That plate is now a permanent part of the sidewalk.

      

      

Wednesday’s walk was mostly about picking up plastic before the rainstorm but there were still enough holes to get eight more photos for the collection.

      

      

Thursday’s walk yielded some doubles.

      

     Thank God its Friday!

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

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NY’s Bottle Bill Joins The OWM Hall of Shame

A cheap drink made in Brooklyn that is polluting Brooklyn

How does New York’s Bottle Bill work?

New York State’s Returnable Container Act requires every deposit initiator to collect a $.05 deposit on beverage containers containing less than one gallon of carbonated soft drinks, beer, malt beverages, wine coolers or water, sold in New York.

A deposit initiator is the first bottler, distributor, dealer or agent to collect the deposit on a beverage container sold in New York State. You’re a deposit initiator if you:

  • Bottle beverages in beverage containers
  • Distribute beverages in beverage containers
  • Sell beverages in beverage containers
  • Act as an agent on behalf of a registered deposit initiator

Dealers (“retailers”) pay the distributor or deposit initiator at least a 5-cent deposit for each beverage container purchased.

Consumers pay the dealers the deposit for each beverage container purchased. (we pay $.05 to Pepsico and Arizona Teas to litter our environment with every purchase)

Consumers may then return their empty beverage containers to a dealer or redemption center to get their deposit back.

Retailers and redemption centers are reimbursed the deposit plus a 3.5-cent handling fee by the distributor or the deposit initiator for each empty beverage container returned.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/57687.html

What beverages are covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

Carbonated Soft Drinks, Sparkling Water, Carbonated Energy Drinks, Carbonated Juice (anything less than 100% juice, containing added sugar or water)
Soda Water
Beer and Other Malt Beverages
Mineral Water – Both carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water
Wine Products
Water that is flavored or nutritionally enhanced

What beverages are not covered by NY’s Bottle Bill?

Milk Products
Wine and Liquors
Hard Ciders
Tea  hello@drinkarizona.com
Sports Drinks  there is no contact info for Gatorade
Juice
Drink Boxes
Waters Containing Sugar

Let’s look at what is littered on our streets from Gatorade and Arizona Teas.  Both companies do not have deposit agreements with NY. I encounter this litter everyday on my 15 minute walk to work from Clinton Hill to Downtown Brooklyn on Dekalb Ave.

     

Take a moment to learn which companies have deposits for your state. It makes a difference.

The consumer deposit tax is not the best system to protect our environment but that is a topic for another blog.

Natural Ways To Consume Electrolytes

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Where Does a Used Plastic Cup Go?

A plastic cup that was used once for probably less than a minute?  About 450-1000 years will pass before it decomposes in the ground.  That’s if it made it to a landfill.

Plastic is made from petroleum or natural gas.  Plastic production is estimated to use 8 percent of yearly global oil production—both as the raw material and for energy in the manufacturing process.  Because plastics embody energy from fossil fuels (and actually have a higher energy value than coal), leaving so much of it in landfills is not only an environmental hazard, it’s an unconscionable waste of a valuable resource.

If it ends up in the water, it will keep breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces that our marine life will ingest.  And eventually end up back in you.  If the plankton are eating plastic then you are eating plastic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97XpXhCgtEQ

Start saying, “NO!” to that plastic cup.  You will feel tons better!

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

When You Have That Plastic Bottle

More fun to watch the cleverness of this post!!!

Single use plastic should be avoided at all times to send a clear signal to the producers of these horrible products that are harming every ecosystem in devastating ways.

The latest evidence of the harm these bottles are doing to our environment is the saddest ever!  North Face and many other environmentally friendly companies have been making polar fleece from recycled plastic bottles.  The unfortunate truth of this process is that we need to wash these garments.  All polyester and polyester polymer fabrics release micro fibers from our washing machine rinse cycles straight into our waterways.  Civic filter systems cannot remove these tiny fibers.  Once in our waterways, they are ingested by oysters, mussels, lobsters and other marine life that we eat.

Can it get much more sad?

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Clear Recycling Bags for Free

Every week we put our recyclables out on the curb in clear plastic bags that we have to buy from Glad.  The City requires clear or blue for recycling paper, metal, plastic, glass and compost.   It can get expensive.  Since we need a certain size, there are times when they are not available.

BUT!  If you know someone who goes to the dry cleaner…you have clear bags for free!  Just tie the ends and recycle instead of throwing them away.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

I Wish I Could Say It Felt Good

Honoring International Coastal Cleanup Day, Martin and I paddled our kayaks toward Jamaica Bay, an 18,000-acre wetland estuary surrounded by the Rockaway Peninsula to the South, Brooklyn to the West, and Queens to the East.  The 10,000 acres of parkland (almost equal to the size of Manhattan)is managed by the National Park Service.  It consists of numerous islands, a labyrinth of waterways, meadowlands, and two freshwater ponds, providing a unique environment for both wildlife preservation and urban recreation.  A favorite stop for migratory waterfowl, the area is an essential part of making the larger regional ecosystem complete.

http://www.nyharborparks.org/visit/jaba.html

Jamaica Bay was a prime fishing and oystering center but it became so polluted by 1916 that all of those businesses ended.  It took over 5 decades, but the Clean Water Act finally made dumping and polluting illegal by 1972 and the big bay has since made a comeback.  Mussels (still inedible) are now embedded in the reeds along the shores. 50,000 oysters were planted in beds composed of broken porcelain, harvested from recycled toilets as part of New York City’s Water Conservation Program.

The Bay is full of islands and channels whose names have been lost in the mists of time: Point Elders Marsh, Old Swale Marsh, Nestepol Marsh, Grass Hassock, Jo Co’s Marsh, and many more known only by local mariners.  Non are inhabited by humans.

We kayaked to Canarsie Pol with two extra large, clear garbage bags and the intention of making a dent in the amount of plastic washed up on the shore.  All of this plastic was ocean bound trash from storm runoff, boats, the mainland and careless recreational practices while people were out enjoying what nature brings to them but not caring about what they bring to nature.  A lot of this plastic becomes a structural part of the reeds and the beach.

A Ghost Pier Abandoned Long Ago on Canarsie Pol

After 4 hours, along a mere 200 yard stretch of reeds just west of this old pier, we filled 3 large bags (we found another one on the island) with plastic single use items. Mind you, this was only what was accessible to us where the reeds met the beach.  The plastic we could see but could not reach went into the reeds for yards.  Its anyone’s guess how much plastic is buried under the sand.

I wish I could say it felt good to be out on a beautiful fall day picking up garbage.

Plastic bags were so enmeshed in the reeds and the sand dunes that they are now a permanent part of Canarsie Pol. Weathered plastic shattered in our hands as we tried to pull it out of the sand.  The amount of small pieces of styrofoam broken up over time was impossible to collect.  We didn’t even bother with glass or aluminum.

The black bag to the right is filled with plastic lids, shopping bags and single use items.                                                          A third clear bag was left on the island.

Thanks a lot Gatorade. You must feel proud to have your name on this waste.

The third bag had to be tied and securely left on shore for another concerned citizen to bring back to the mainland.  We couldn’t securely attach it to our kayaks and we dreaded the thought of us and the other bags spilling into the bay.

I thought I could at least get a good feeling by knowing that the person who picks up our redeemables each week could make some money.  He told me that all of these bottles are destined for the landfill because the barcodes which are printed on the plastic brand labels are gone.

The beverage companies must stop their practice of making the environment pay for their irresponsible profits.

We must stop giving these companies our hard earned money and our beautiful home.

NYC needs to lead the ban on single use plastic bags once and for all.

Until next time,

Garbage Girl

Compostable Waste That Will Surprise You

Organic waste being converted into compost at McEnroe Farms in Millerton, NY about 100 miles from NYC. Photo credit: BioCycle

The New York Department of Sanitation has a goal of Zero Waste to landfills by 2030.  Part of this initiative is getting New Yorkers to compost all of the organic waste they generate.  It will apply to approximately 350 of the biggest food generators in the city, including hotels with 150 or more rooms, arenas and stadiums with at least 15,000 seats, as well as large-volume food manufacturers and food wholesalers.

Compo Keeper made a list of 25 items you use everyday that can go into the compost bin!  http://compokeeper.com/25-non-food-household-items-youll-be-surprised-are-compostable/

Be especially aware that plastic fibers, films, and microbeads  will break down, contaminate the compost and possibly enter the environment unchecked.  Plastic fibers from polyester and other synthetic fabrics in our laundry are the number one worst environmental contaminants followed by microbeads.

    • Bamboo Skewers
    • Toothpicks
    • Soiled Pizza Boxes (paper recycling has to reject these)
    • Paper soiled by food and oils
    • Q-tips (not the plastic kinds)
    • Matches
    • Burlap sacks (shredded)
    • Latex Balloons
    • Latex and Lambskin condoms (yes, even used)
    • Holiday wreaths (without any plastic shiny things)
    • Potpourri
    • Nail clippings
    • Natural fiber rope
    • Cellophane
    • Kleenex (yes, used ones!)
    • Loofas (the real ones)
    • Cotton balls (100% cotton)
    • Masking tape
    • White/plain glue
    • Hair from your hairbrush
    • Trimmings from an electric razor
    • 100% cotton tampons and sanitary pads (yes, even used)
    • Cardboard tampon applicators
    • Dryer lint (from 100% natural fabrics only!)
    • Old cotton clothing and jeans (ripped or cut into small pieces)
    • Cotton fabric scraps (shredded)
    • Wool clothing (ripped or cut into small pieces)
    • Cotton towels and sheets (shredded)
    • Pencil shavings
    • Sticky notes (shredded)
    • “Dust bunnies” from wood and tile floors
    • Contents of your dustpan (pick out any inorganic stuff, like pennies and Legos)
    • Burlap sacks (cut or torn into small pieces)
    • Old rope and twine (chopped, natural, unwaxed only)
    • Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pits
    • Soiled Paper table cloths (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
    • Crepe paper streamers (shredded)
    • Natural holiday wreaths
    • Fur from the dog or cat brush
    • Droppings and bedding from your rabbit, gerbil, hamster, etc.
    • Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird or snake cage
    • Feathers
    • Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits, gerbils, etc.)
    • Dry dog or cat food, fish pellets

Until next time, remember you can eat the entire apple!
Garbage Girl             

The Phoenix of Waste

 

The Natural Resources Defense Council  teamed with The Ad Council on this video to educate people about Food Waste.  Set to Michael Giacchino’s Academy Award Winning soundtrack from the critically acclaimed movie “Up,” the life of a strawberry was created pro bono by SapientNitro as part of a new “Save The Food” campaign.

It is part of a national public service campaign to combat food waste from its largest source — consumers.  We collectively waste more food than grocery stores, restaurants or farms.

ReFED, Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data, is a collaboration of over 30 business, government, investor, foundation, and nonprofit leaders committed  to reducing food waste in the US.  “The magnitude of the food waste problem is difficult to comprehend,” states the report. “The U.S. spends $218 billion a year — 1.3 percent of GDP — growing, processing, transporting and disposing of food that is never eaten.”

The “Roadmap To Reduce U.S. Food Waste By 20 Percent”, released by ReFED on March 9, is the first national economic study on food waste to develop a plan of action by this multistakeholder group.

The Roadmap estimates that it will cost $18 billion over a decade, or roughly $2 billion annually, to reduce food waste by 20 percent.  The economic value of all the food we waste is equivalent to $218 billion annually, so investing that one percent to drive a 20 percent food waste reduction can unlock $100 billion in savings over a decade.

The Roadmap focuses on the three most scalable solutions for each category:  Prevention: Standardized date labeling; Consumer education campaigns; and Waste tracking and analytics.  Recovery: Donation tax incentives; Standardized donation regulation; and Donation matching software.  Recycling: Centralized composting; Centralized anaerobic digestion; and Water resource recovery facilities with anaerobic digestion.

SKYLINE_07_be0cc220-c1f5-4e5b-afdf-818ba1f13ffb

One of the nation’s greatest success stories is Phoenix, Arizona.  By creating efficient ways to prevent wasted food, donate food and divert food waste, they are a leader in food waste management.

For example, during Super Bowl 49, hundreds of thousands of rabid football fans converged on downtown Phoenix for a week of partying before the big game.  Phoenix’s “Kick the Waste Initiative” was the perfect test for their pilot food waste collection and composting program.  By placing containers for food scraps and food-soiled paper in the 12-block perimeter of the party zone for the Super Bowl, they achieved a 73 percent diversion rate.  This is consistent with ReFED’s analysis, which finds that 73 percent of recycling opportunity is expected to come from centralized composting and anaerobic digestion facilities.  Through the same program, the city took the food scraps and soiled paper to their new pilot composting facility and three months later, they used it on city landscape and gardening projects.

In January 2016, Phoenix hosted the College Football Playoffs  increasing their diversion rate to 82 percent of the event’s waste.

The nation has a 50 percent food waste reduction goal by 2030.  Under a federal government initiative to lead partnerships between charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments, it intends to reduce food waste in the United States as an important step in improving  food security and conserving our nation’s natural resources.    http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2015/09/0257.xml

Then there is Jake Mace!  He has the best “at home” compost instructions on the web. You can follow him at JakeMace.com but better yet click on his link and learn how you can make the most amazing compost. http://i1os.com/How_to_Make_Amazing_COMPOST_at_Home!_by_VeganAthlete/5VIFtNCgv28.video

How You Can Help:

Awareness!

  • What are you eating?
  • How is it packaged?
  • How far did it travel to get to you?
  • How was it grown or processed?
  • Will you eat it or throw it away?
  • Can it be composted?
  • Make jam!  It’s a lot easier than you think.

Until next week, images

Garbage Girl

Rats Aren’t Wasting Brooklyn’s Popularity

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Headlines have recently reported the increasing number of rats moving to Brooklyn.  The upscaled popularity of the borough seems to be attracting more than millionaires!

With the hopes of curtailing New York’s rat problem once and for all, Mayor de Blasio is spending $3 million on a citywide rodent-extermination plan.   Our rats have been battle-hardened since the city was born so it will take a citywide, every person doing their part, push to make a dent.

Rodent complaints surged 19 percent citywide from 20,545 complaints to 24,374.  You too, can complain about rats by calling 311.  Or  http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/2374/rodent-complaint   to report rat sightings.

The highest number of rat calls in the city came from Brooklyn with 7,842, Bronx had the second-highest with 5,573, Manhattan had 5,508 complaints, followed by Queens with 3,987 and Staten Island with 1,197.

The most complaints came from residents of 335 E 148th St.  Called, Bronx’s Rat Central, they set the record for the most rodent complaints at a single address by calling the city’s complaint hot line 131 times this year.

 

Rats are popular these days; gaining celebrity on social media.  Complete with commentary and lots of high pitched screeching these rat videos can actually get you to admire the critters.

There’s the pigeon killing rat caught on video in Brooklyn.  In broad daylight, this rat caught an injured pigeon by the neck and dragged it a few feet.  The pigeon freed itself but the rat gave chase, showed a fearless determination, and finished the job.  John Freund recorded the encounter in Williamsburg and posted the clip to YouTube last year — but the video suddenly went viral this week.

Rats in New York are now being given names for their notoriety, like Pizza Rat.  A bold undetered vermin who carried a slice of pepperoni pizza down a flight of subway stairs. Then there is McDonald’s Rat.  This guy caused all sorts of problems for the food chain in Thailand when its behavior went viral.  We topped that, though, with Subway Rat.  Not the normal commute that day when this rat came on board with all of the other passengers.

The video that really peaked our yuck factor was Selfie Rat.  A rat crawled into the lap of a man sleeping on the subway platform and took a picture of itself with the man’s phone.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CvWXG8gqEU

If you need more! You can take a tour with Motherboard and a Rodentologist to Columbia Park in Chinatown and learn all about rats.

How You Can Help:

  • Keep food waste really well contained.
  • Place household waste at curbside as close as possible to pickup times.
  • Use the new really cool solar powered waste compacting and signaling receptacles, that the Sanitation Department gave us, for all of your street trash.
  • Never litter food on city streets or sidewalks.
  • Report rats or mice where food is served.
  • Report rats or mice in sewers, on streets or sidewalks.
  • Report rats or mice in public schools.
  • Report rats or mice in parks.
  • Report rats or mice in public transportation.
  • Report a condition that could attract rodents such as trash or food left out.
  • Call 311 to report rats or mice in your home or building.
  • Unfortunately rats can carry diseases that kill humans or they might actually be able to help pick up after the messier of us!  Let’s send these guys packin’.

Until next week:19166021-Illustration-of-Cartoon-rat-get-out-Stock-Vector-mouse

Garbage Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic Waste Solutions

plastic-pollution-presentation-by-ankitmishra-34-638

Ankit Mishra made a very comprehensive tool available to us all that helps us understand plastic pollution and manage plastic waste.  Click on each of the 35 slides below and get a really quick, easy to understand lesson in plastic that can inform your plastic awareness and how it affects us.

 

Another amazing plastic resource became available to us recently when Precious Plastic, by Dave Hakkens surfaced.  This really great idea started as his graduation project from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands, an interdisciplinary educational institute for art, architecture and design with an international reputation brought about by the work of its faculty and alumni.

Dave’s concept has grown since 2013 to include  open sourcing his recycling machines for free.  They are easy to build, using basic tools and universal materials.  Now anyone can download his blueprints, start a business and clean up their environment.  This idea really deserves getting shared.  Click on the url and check out his video!    http://preciousplastic.com/en/

How You Can Help:

  • Every little bit of plastic properly discarded helps. In NYC, any plastic caps, packaging scraps, and random plastic bits that we see everyday on the sidewalks get washed into the storm drains and flushed out to our oceans when the system’s capacity is overwhelmed by heavy rain.
  • Plastic washed up on the beaches is actually a blessing.  If we pick it up, we get a second chance to make sure it won’t get washed out to sea.
  • Spread the word for Dave Hakkens and Precious Plastic.

Until next week,maxresdefault

Garbage Girl