December 7, 2018
by Pamela Berns
With the holidays upon us, you can make the decision to be either naughty or nice when it comes to your carbon footprint. From treats to trees, from toys to travel, your choices make a difference in the health of the planet. How can New Yorkers stop dreaming of a white Christmas, and take actions toward a green one? Here are a few ideas for sustainable celebrating.
Choose an earth-friendly tree
: According to Thomas Harman, founder of artificial Christmas tree maker Balsam Hill, “The minimal use necessary to make an artificial tree green is about seven years. Use it for three and a real tree is better
.” But artificial trees are often made of materials that don’t readily decompose and may even contain toxic chemicals. Leaving a real tree in the ground is still best for the environment, so if you choose to go for a cut tree, make sure you get it from a reliable sustainable source. If you’re not sure what to make of the whole artificial vs cut tree controversy, consider a living tree. Think of it as buying a potted plant rather than cut flowers, only bigger. The tree comes with roots intact, and can be planted afterward. If you don’t have a yard of your own, gift it to someone who does. There are also plenty of community and school gardens in need of green. (Keep in mind that living trees sequester carbon; they actually store it and turn it into nutrition.)
February 27, 2018
by Kimberly Stempien
Where can you visit a farm within the five boroughs of New York City? Queens County Farm Museum
, in Floral Park, Queens, a 47-acre working farm with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Purchased in 1975 by the NYC Department of Parks, the farm dates back to 1697. In the 1800’s, it was a very productive truck farm, which used wagons to deliver produce into the NYC markets. Today, the farm focuses on sustainable agriculture and educational programs for children and adults.
Ali Abate, Director of Education, began working at the farm in the summer of 2013, bringing a background in youth development, program planning, staff management and a passion for sustainability and agriculture. She emphasized that the farm provides a vital service to the community by providing a peaceful solace from the hustle and bustle of New York City, while offering a number of excellent programs related to sustainability education.
May 24, 2017
by Sunitha Sarveswaran
Most people look at strawberry tops or carrot peels and throw them away, without realizing the myriad of other uses these scraps could provide. According to the EPA, the most preferred use for food and organics is human consumption. The least preferred uses are landfill and incineration. The GreenHomeNYC April Forum on Sustainable Food Systems featured a panel of five experts who spoke about the different strategies communities, businesses, and building owners can employ in order to limit or eliminate their organic waste footprint.
Communities can make a difference
According to the New York City Department of Sanitation
, more than a third of all waste generated by New York City residents is organic waste. Michael Hurwitz, the Director of the GreenMarket Program and GrowNYC
, spoke about how consumers can make a large impact on the organic waste footprint of New York City. Greenmarket was founded in 1976 with two main goals: to keep local farms viable and to ensure New Yorkers have unlimited access to fresh, local produce. Hurwitz discussed how one third of all food grown goes unharvested due to the cosmetic preferences of vendors. GreenMarket takes this unwanted produce and sells it at their local markets. Greenmarket’s passion is educating consumers on how to prepare food so that every part is used and scraps are not wasted. Greenmarket provides recipes, canning presentations and workshops to help consumers minimize their food waste and stretch their dollar.
September 30, 2015
by Tamanna Virmani
All of us living or working in New York City recognize and admire the fact that the city is a trailblazer in many areas. However, waste management in general, and organics recycling in particular, have been challenging issues for the city – issues needing a trailblazing spirit to establish best practices for the future. A recent panel discussion hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council explored the future of waste management in New York City.
Led by moderator Clare Miflin of Kiss + Cathcart Architects, experts Christina Grace of Foodprint Group and Brett Mons from the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) discussed food waste in light of Mayor DeBlasio’s OneNYC
plan. OneNYC, an ambitious plan to make New York the most sustainable big city in the world, encompasses a number of initiatives, one of which is to send zero waste to landfills by 2030. This will require expansion of the New York City organics program to serve all New Yorkers by the end of 2018 and a 90% reduction in commercial waste disposal by 2030. In order to achieve these goals, major changes are needed, along with active involvement from residents, businesses, the building community and the Department of Sanitation. (more…)
May 30, 2015
by Lisa Bonanate
A world with zero waste – sending nothing to landfill or incineration – sounds like a Utopian dream. But in San Francisco, it’s a dream that’s becoming a political and social reality. If you live in San Francisco, you can recycle or compost anything, even hazardous materials and construction waste. How has the City by the Bay achieved this goal and what can New York learn from its example? In a recent screening of the documentary Racing to Zero: In Pursuit of Zero Waste
, New Yorkers got an eye-opening look at San Francisco’s ambitious recycling program, followed by a panel discussion that explored how the Big Apple stacks up, specifically in light of the mayor’s OneNYC
After it achieved the state-mandate of 50% landfill diversion by 2000, San Francisco extended its program by setting a landfill diversion goal of 75% by 2010 and zero waste by 2020. This will achieve three sustainability goals: conservation of resources, reduced environmental impact and creation of green jobs. San Francisco has dramatically reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills. Even so, over half of what goes into the city’s landfill bins can be recycled or composted. When all waste material is separated into the correct blue (recycle) or green (compost) bins, San Francisco’s diversion rate will increase from 80 percent to 90 percent.
May 28, 2013
This year the Lower East Side Ecology Center will open its office and learning center at the East River Park Fireboat House.
The site will contain an aquarium connected to the river to prove that “there are actually things living in the East River.” Through initiatives such as environmental education programs, greening, and composting, The Lower East Side Ecology Center
works to promote a more sustainable New York City.
As part of GreenHomeNYC’s SustaiNYC Spring tours
, Daniel Tainow, Education Director, led a tour of three sites affiliated with LESEC.
On top of the Fireboat House is a Xero Flor Green Roof, made up of squares of sedum for insulation, absorption of rainwater, as well as other benefits of a green roof. “We will cut holes in the tower in order to install a spiral staircase that will make the green roof more accessible. This will also encourage passive air movement throughout the tower.” In the past the tower was used to hang hoses to dry after use. Solar ivy (tiny solar panels designed to mimic the appearance of ivy) will be hung to generate solar energy.
May 5, 2013
On May 18th, discover what makes New York City one of the greenest metropolises in the world. See first-hand what is being done to further develop our sustainability and resiliency for the future.
The one-day event will take guests behind the scenes to see sustainable sites throughout the city. Tours will highlight cutting edge innovations in building energy, water management, waste management, urban agriculture, and more.
Date: Saturday, May 18th 2013
Time: Between 10AM and 3PM
Cost: Varies by Tour
Choose from a number of exciting tours!
424 Melrose Street – A Passive Multifamily in Brooklyn
Having designed energy efficient projects since 1996, Architect Chris Benedict brings the concept of passive building design to Bushwick with her latest project at 424 Melrose Street. The 24-unit apartment house is designed to comply with the stringent passive house standard while being completed at the same price as typical construction by thoughtfully rethinking the infrastructure of the building. The building also features a solar heated domestic hot water system. The building is currently under construction, so guests will be able to tour the site and get a first hand-look at the guts of the building.
Lower East Side Ecology Center – Urban Compost Tour
This tour will take guests behind the scenes of the newly renovated Environmental Learning Center. Guests will learn about the sustainable features of the building including it’s green roof system and oyster gardens, and will discuss the future green improvements in ventilation and solar power. We will also tour the compost site to see how food waste collected at the Union Square Greenmarket and at the Ecology Center’s community garden are turned into composting using an in-vessle system and windrows.