Monday, March 31, 2008

NYC Launches Re-Mix Campaign

Mayor Bloomberg Launches REMIX: Recycling Magazines is Excellent!

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the New York City launch of ReMix - Recycling Magazines is Excellent! - a national public education campaign aimed at increasing residential recycling of magazines and catalogs.
ReMix promotions will appear across New York City, in full-page public service advertisements in consumer magazines including TIME, Cosmopolitan, Country Living and Sports Illustrated as well as on buses and subways, in movie theatres, on cable television, and in other outlets. The total value of paid placements and in-kind donations for the ReMix campaign will top $3 million. The ReMix national campaign was started by Time Inc., with partners Verso Paper and the National Recycling Coalition.
"To meet the ambitious goals in our landmark Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), we need to increase recycling rates, and we know we can do a better job recycling magazines and catalogs," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Many New Yorkers don't realize that magazines, catalogs, phone books, and other kinds of paper are just as recyclable as newspapers and office paper. I'd like to thank our ReMix campaign partners for doing their part to increase magazine and catalog recycling and for joining our effort to build a greener, greater New York."The ReMix campaign began when a study by Time Inc. and Verso Paper found that while 95 percent of all unsold newsstand magazines are recycled by newsstands and publishers, only about 17 percent of sold magazines are recycled.
"Our national research showed that Americans support recycling, but are often uncertain about what can be recycled," said National Recycling Coalition Executive Director Kate Krebs. "We know that New Yorkers have embraced recycling as a way to keep waste out of landfills and improve the environment. Today, the Mayor and City officials, leading companies and advocacy organizations are launching ReMix in New York City to make sure everyone knows just how easy it is to recycle magazines and catalogs right along with their other paper recycling."
Time Inc.
Verso Paper
National Recycling Coalition
Hearst Corporation
Pratt Industries
Time Warner Cable
The Council on the Environment of New York City

Sunday, March 30, 2008

School to Eliminate Styrofoam Trays

A Windsor Terrace’s elementary school became the first in the city this week to abandon Styrofoam trays in favor of a newfangled pressed sugar cane version — but the school is doing it on its own, as the Department of Education refused to swallow the additional costs associated with going “green.”

In the latest salvo in Councilman Bill DeBlasio’s ongoing food fight against the city over cafeteria waste, PS 154 on 11th Avenue became the first city school to abandon cheap but environmentally taboo Styrofoam and replace it with a biodegradable version.
DeBlasio (D–Park Slope), who has authored bills to ban Styrofoam from all city agencies, applauded the school’s “bold step,” which was underwritten by Brooklyn Industries and the Juice Box, a wine store.

DeBlasio, parents and students have blamed the school system for not finding a green alternative to the 850,000 Styrofoam trays that get thrown away each day — trays that sit in landfills for up to 10,000 years before breaking down.

“Styrofoam should be banned from all schools because if we keep throwing it away the Earth will turn into a giant landfill and be disgusting,” said Sophia Thompson, a fourth grader.
That shouldn’t be a problem with the trays made from a sugar cane fiber known as bagasse, left over from the juicing process.

After landing in a compost pile or landfill, the bagasse trays break down within 45 days. (They break down a lot quicker when forced to carry the wettest, heaviest foods that lunch ladies can dole out, as our investigation revealed.)

The Department of Education acknowledges the environmental dilemma, but said it won’t ban Styrofoam — a Dow Chemicals brand name for a lightweight polystyrene made from toxic substances benzene, styrene and ethylene — because it’s almost 33 percent cheaper than the fibrous sugar cane alternative.

The school is currently figuring out how to dispose of the dozens of boxes of unused Styrofoam trays stacked up in its cafeteria. Given the circumstances, throwing them out does not appear to be an option.

Source: The Brooklyn Paper

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't Forget to Turn Off the Lights!

Tonight from 8-9pm...

On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. View cities involved around the world.

We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.

Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change.

One hour, America. Earth Hour. Turn out for Earth Hour!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

According to Co-op America...

Here is a list from Co-op America of ten items you should never buy again:

Styrofoam cups
Paper towels
Bleached coffee filters
Teak and mahogany
Chemical pesticides and herbicides
Conventional household cleaners
Toys made with PVC plastic
Plastic forks and spoons
Farm raised salmon



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Was that Fish Stick Line-Caught, Sustainably Harvested and Domestic?

He's hard to resist...
The Conserve Our Ocean Legacy Campaign NYC launched Ocean Action Month on March 13, 2008. The month is dedicated to promoting community activism and ocean conservation in New York. Right now our oceans are in trouble. Commercial fishermen with nets a football field size wide and several stories tall are sweeping up fish populations faster than they can reproduce. Overfishing has already declined large fish stocks like tuna and swordfish by 90% in the last 50 years. If left to continue along with other environmental stresses scientists predict that by 2048, global fish stocks could collapse. The National Marine Fisheries Service is releasing a critical rule about overfishing in the next two months and the public needs to be ready and informed to comment in the face of powerful commercial and political opposition.

This campaign aims to:

1-Establish conservation of ocean ecosystems as the primary responsibility of fisheries management
2-Require ecologically sustainable fishing practices to stop overfishing and rebuild depleted populations of fish
3-Reform the institutions responsible for managing fisheries to ensure that their decisions reflect the needs of the entire ecosystem.

Sounds good, right? We think so too. Keep the oceans full of diversity by signing their online petition

learn more at Ocean Legacy

To download a handy guide telling you what fish is okay to order when you're out to eat or at the market, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fighting for Water

In time for World Water Day, Canadian activist Maude Barlow's Blue Planet Project, is working to stop water companies like Suez from buying up the world’s water supply and selling it back to people for profit, and to develop a UN "covenant on the right to water." Blue Covenant is Barlow’s latest book, and she’s featured in the newly released FLOW: For Love Of Water, a film by French director Irena Salina.

She says the water crisis is already here in many parts of the world. This isn’t a cyclical drought; we’re actually running out of water in many parts of the world. A scientist I know calls them “hot stains.” They’re parts of the world that are already running out of fresh water: 22 countries in Africa, all of Northern China, big parts of India, Australia, Mexico City, the whole Middle East, most of the southwest of the US. I was just in Florida, and they’re pumping their water so fast now that whole shopping centers are disappearing into these great big sinkholes.

If a country is poor and owes a debt to the global north, the World Bank or other regional development banks will offer help on the condition that the country allow a private, for-profit corporation to come in. In richer countries, many municipalities go to the private sector because they believe it’s more efficient. Or the municipalities go to the private sector because they’re starved for funds.

We could get way more water from conservation. There’s a huge dependency in this country on water-cleaning technology—not just desalination, but toilet-to-tap technology, nanotechnology. Billions of dollars of research are going into it. I worry that when you get big companies investing in water technology, there’s a deep disincentive to protect source water because there’s so much money to be made in cleaning up dirty water. And now they’ve started the trade and sale of sewage water. You can actually buy it in bulk. Say you’re a developer in California and you need to prove you’ve got enough water to supply people with in order to get the right to develop, and you don’t. One of your options is to buy dirty water and get a company like GE to clean it up for you. I worry about the corporate control of water and dependence on technology instead of conservation and source protection.

Her biggest challenge? In the global north, it’s apathy; this myth of abundance, and the notion that somebody will fix it. In Arizona they’re going to build a water park on the desert that’s going to have waves so high you can surf on them, and a river that’s going to run so fast you can white water raft down it—in the middle of the desert. It’s that inability to understand what we’re up against. In the global south, it’s desperate poverty and inequality. But you have to find a balance between lecturing people and hoping the word comes to them though books, films, neighbors who are talking. Or kids, who come home and tell their parents, “You shouldn’t drink bottled water.” Maybe that’s the great hope—the next generation. I find that when I speak to youth, they really get it. Especially high school students; they’re ready to hear it, they’re ready to move.

To read her full interview, visit Plenty Magazine

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nothing Says Happy Easter like Free Reycling Through the Mail (for those of you who celebrate) and

Free and green. Those are the goals of a pilot program launched today by the U.S. Postal Service that allows customers to recycle small electronics and inkjet cartridges by mailing them free of charge.

The “Mail Back” program helps consumers make more environmentally friendly choices, making it easier for customers to discard used or obsolete small electronics in an environmentally responsible way. Customers use free envelopes found in 1,500 Post Offices to mail back inkjet cartridges, PDAs, Blackberries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players – without having to pay for postage.

Postage is paid for by Clover Technologies Group, a nationally recognized company that recycles, remanufactures and remarkets inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges and small electronics. If the electronic item or cartridges cannot be refurbished and resold, its component parts are reused to refurbish other items, or the parts are broken down further and the materials are recycled. Clover Technologies Group has a “zero waste to landfill” policy: it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to the nation’s landfills.

Find free envelopes can be found on displays in Post Office lobbies. There is no limit to the number of envelopes customers may take. The pilot is set for 10 areas across the country, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego, but could become a national program this fall if the pilot program proves successful.

The Postal Service recycles 1 million tons of paper, plastic and other materials annually.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Great Ideas

When it comes to going green, ideas are limitless. Take these examples from a few businesses right here in Brooklyn. If you are local, check'em out or be inspired from afar!

Movers, Not Shakers is a full-service moving company in Red Hook, Brooklyn, devoted to making the moving process more earth-friendly. Owner Mark Ehrhardt supplies his clients with recycled plastic tubs for packing-this means no more cardboard boxes that will be used once and thrown away! Ehrhardt also buys carbon offsets to make up for the small amounts of pollution caused by his bio-diesel fueled trucks.

Blue Marble Ice Cream, located in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn, produces their organic frozen treats in upstate New York. The store itself is contructed from natural clay walls, locally made counter tops, and wood from the set of a play. Cups and spoons are made from sugar cane and corn. The owners are also conscious of where they get their ingredients from, for instance chocolate from a collectively-owned cocoa plantation in Ghana.

The Little Cupcake Bakeshop in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn uses porcelain cups instead of plastic, energy-efficient appliances, and wind energy to run the store. They also make donations to cancer research, the Fresh Air Fund, and Al Gore's Climate Project.

source: Brooklyn!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March 22 - World Water Day

You knew that of course, right?

In honor of the big day (when we think about water conservation/try to conserve that water/think about how lucky we are to have it flowing clean and drinkable from our taps), the Tap Project is launching World Water Day: Pay $1, Quench a Kid's Thirst for 40 Days

Many NYC restaurants have been participating, meaning you can eat at their restaurant, you drink their tap water, and instead of getting it for free you pay $1 for it. That $1 goes directly toward providing a child with fresh drinking water for 40 days.

The Tap Project kicked off on March 16, but we've still got a couple prime eating-out days ahead of us (it ends on the 22nd), so buy yourself a nice dinner and a cool glass of water at one of these many excellent and low- to high-priced restaurants throughout the five boroughs.

More than 5,000 children are dying every day as a result of water-borne diseases
For each dollar spent on water and sanitation projects, the projected return on investment is from $3 to $34

Source: The L Magazine
Visit Tap Project to find out more

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Be a Post-Consumer

In order to support recycling efforts, look for products made from high percentages of post-consumer waste, which is the waste produced by the end consumer of a material stream. Post-consumer waste is the garbage that individuals routinely discard, either in a waste receptacle or a dump, or by littering, incinerating, pouring down the drain or washing into the gutter.
Post-consumer waste is distinguished from pre-consumer waste, which is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc.) back into the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste has been commonly used by industries for many years, and is therefore often not considered recycling in the traditional sense.

Therefore, buying products with post-consumer content is an easy way to keep landfills lean. It avoids using virgin resources like forests and strengthens the market for recycled materials. We can separate all the metal, paper and plastic we want, but if no business remakes the scrap into something new, the cycle is broken.

Many bottles, cans, bags, boxes and packaging materials are made with recycled content these days. So check labels. Choose a product that has a high percentage of post-consumer waste over one that does not.

Source: Daily Green

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tiny Foot Print Shopping Spree

After surviving the No New Clothing Challenge, maybe it's time for a few new pieces for your closet. Why not make your purchases Earth friendly! Here are a few great shops in The Lower East Side. Don't forget your tote!

KAIGHT is an eco-boutique dedicated to advancing the image of green fashion by stocking only the hottest designers from the U.S., Europe and Canada that make clothes that push the boundaries of fashion in an environmentally conscious and ethical way. KAIGHT offers a one-stop-shopping experience for eco-minded fashionistas.

Organic Avenue
Organic Avenue offers the most incredible Hemp & Organic Clothing, Raw Food Staple Products, Fresh Live Organic Produce, Raw Food Classes, Gourmet Raw Dinners, Conscious Events, Holistic Healing Retreats, and much, much, more!
Organic Avenue has a member-based collective (community) that allows dedicated raw enthusiasts the ability to save money by purchasing collectively. Members receive discounts. Join Us!
Organic Avenue is open from 10am to 10pm Seven days a week.
Organic Avenue is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NYC at 101 Stantion Street, betwen Orchard and Ludlow.

Moo Shoes
MooShoes, Inc. is a vegan-owned business that sells an assortment of cruelty-free footwear, bags, t-shirts, wallets, books and other accessories. MooShoes offers its services through an online store as well as in its retail store in New York City, the first cruelty-free store of its kind in New York City.

Flea Market Comes to Brooklyn

Starting April 6, Brooklyn Flea begins in the 40,000 square foot yard of Fort Greene's Bishop Loughin Memorial High School. Started by Jonathan Butler, teh Founder of, and Eric Demby, this weekly event promises to include not only vintage items but also people who make handbags, jewelry, food, etc. Between 100-200 vendors will set up shop each Sunday til December, including RePop, a vintage shop, Housing Works, Nunu Chocolates, Eddie's Salvage, among others.

10am-5pm 176 Lafayette Ave between Clermont and Vanderbuilt Aves.

Source: Brooklyn!! or 718.935.1052

Monday, March 17, 2008

Guilt-Free Beer

Cascade Brewery, from Tasmania, have declared their new Cascade Green as 100% carbon neutral from the picking of hops to the eventual deposit in the recycling bin.

And although the company isn’t claiming the ingredients are organic, they do suggest they are all locally sourced from Tasmania. That the brewery has already reduced its energy usage by 16% and water usage by 30% per unit of production over the last six years. And that Cascade Green will travel to drinker’s lips courtesy of what is said to be lightest weight, highest recycled content glass bottle currently available in Australia. And cartons will ship in 100% recycled cardboard printed with two-colour biodegradable vegetable inks.

The carbon neutral aspect comes via the purchase of Australian Government Greenhouse Friendly certified carbon offsets go to supporting the Hobart Landfill Flare Facility, which extracts methane-rich gas from decomposing organic waste to generate 7,500 MWh of electricity per annum, enough to supply more than 1,100 homes. The project is said to save over 35,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, equal to taking 9,200 cars of the road each year.
Cascade is owned the Australian brewing powerhouse Fosters. Check it out at Cascade Green.
Of course, if you want to stay local (and not ship from Tasmania) there's Six Point and Brooklyn Brewery...

Source: Treehugger

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No More Wasted Paper

It's happened to all of us: You print something from the Web, and all you get is a sheet of paper with nothing but a URL or something equally useless. GreenPrint software is designed to prevent printing blank pages from the Web.

It looks for pages that have no type or just a few lines of type (users can set the parameters). Then, the software automatically eliminates these pages from the print job. Users can reselect the pages if desired and deselect any other pages they don't want to print -- say, the pages of legal jargon at the end of an airline reservation.

The software lets users eliminate images from a print job -- for instance, the maps generated in online driving directions -- thus saving ink. GreenPrint also allows users to avoid printing altogether by saving documents as PDF files. The average employee prints about 10,000 pages a year, and roughly 20 percent of that is waste," Hamilton said from his GreenPrint office in the Old Town section of Portland, Oregon.

"We estimate if [GreenPrint] got into widespread use, in the U.S. alone it would save tens of millions of trees a year and hundreds of millions of pounds" of polluting carbon-dioxide gases. GreenPrint tells users how many pages, and how much money, they have saved. Stringer said that based on a rate of 6½ cents per page, she paid off the $35 cost of the software in one day.
But now, GreenPrint is offering a free version of the software for non-business use, supported by advertising. Tens of thousands of people have downloaded the program in the weeks since its January 28 debut.

"Our goal is nothing short of ending wasteful printing worldwide," Hamilton said. More than two dozen Fortune 500 companies are testing out the product.

DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE and spread the word!

Source: CNN


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Electronic Recycling Legislative Update

From Christine Quinn:

Yesterday, the Council and I were proud to announce that we had reached a major agreement with Mayor Bloomberg on the electronic waste legislation that we passed in February. Both the Council and the Mayor have agreed on the importance of an e-waste program, and on the majority of elements in the original legislation. However, the Mayor has opposed our inclusion of enforceable collections standards for electronic manufacturers.

Rather than allow that disagreement to delay implementation of this essential program, I am very pleased to report that we have recalled the original bill and reintroduced two new pieces of legislation. The first bill, Intro. 728, will cover all other elements of the e-waste plan, including requiring manufacturers to finance a take-back system that is convenient for all New Yorkers. The second bill, Intro. 729,will cover only the elements creating enforceable collections standards.

The Council and I plan to vote on both bills simultaneously at our next Stated Meeting on March 26th. This will allow Mayor Bloomberg to sign the first bill, Intro. 728,creating and quickly implementing a comprehensive e-waste collection program for New York City.

Fingers crossed.

Friday, March 14, 2008


We can't tell you what it is. You just have to see for yourself.

Ease Up!

DENVER – Drivers in the Mile High City will be the first to help gauge how punching the accelerator or slamming the brakes affects greenhouse gas emissions.

A pilot program called “Driving Change” will have 400 vehicles to test by May, including the car of Mayor John Hickenlooper, who agreed to have the city be the test site.

The cars – 200 belonging to the city and the rest privately owned – will be equipped with an electronic device smaller than a deck of cards underneath the dashboard. The device will track how such driving patterns as speeding, idling and fast stopping affect fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Drivers will be able to view the results online.

“What was so appealing is it had the logic of a brilliant idea, the notion that by modest changes to people's driving (they) could dramatically lower their fuel consumption,” Hickenlooper said.
The Democratic National Convention Committee, which will be held in Denver in August, launched a program Tuesday aimed at helping drivers be more conscientious about their cars' carbon footprint. On the committee's Web site, convention visitors can use a “carbon calculator” to measure their trip's effect.

The California-based Enviance Inc. developed the technology to track the correlation between driving maneuvers and greenhouse gas emissions. Cartasite Inc. of Denver manufactured the device that will go in the vehicles.

“Vehicles represent about 30 percent of the greenhouse footprint in (Denver),” said Larry Goldenhersh, president and CEO of Enviance. Goldenhersh said the goal of the program is to see whether people can be persuaded to change their driving behavior.

Source: AP

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Return to Sender

Forest Ethics, the folks who brought you the do not call registry, are launching a new campaign to get your name of junk mail lists - finally!

In 2003, Congress created the national Do Not Call Registry—the most popular consumer rights bill in history. Today, people are waiting for a companion registry that will end the onslaught of junk mail.

Since 1991, polls have consistently shown that between 80 and 90% of respondents dislike junk mail and would take some action to reduce it if given the opportunity. Not only does junk mail annoy us, violate our privacy, and foster identity theft—junk mail destroys our environment and contributes to global warming.

Junk Mail Overflows Our Mailboxes

Junk mail in the U.S. accounts for over 100,000,000,000 pieces of mail each year—about 30% of all the mail delivered in the world.

Every year American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junk mail or 848 pieces of junk mail per household, which requires 6.5 million tons of paper.

Approximately 44% of junk mail goes to landfills unopened; the average American will spend 8 months of their lives dealing with junk mail.

Junk Mail Contributes to Climate Change

It takes more than 100 million trees to produce the total volume of junk mail that arrives in American mailboxes each year—that's the equivalent of clearcutting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every 4 months.

The manufacture of junk mail releases more greenhouse gas emissions per year than the emissions released by 3.7 million cars.

Deforestation of Indonesia’s tropical forests is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions.14 This destruction is largely driven by demand for pulp and paper for end uses like junk mail.

Logging contributes to Indonesia’s status as the world’s third largest emitter of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere, despite its relatively small size.15

It would take the equivalent of over 500,000 garbage truck loads to dump all junk mail into landfills and incinerators each year.

By the year 2010, almost 50% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is expected to be paper and paperboard waste.

A response rate of less than 0.25% is considered acceptable for the 500 million U.S. credit card solicitations that are mailed monthly.

A national poll by Zobgy International found that 92% of respondents discard or recycle at least some of their junk mail without reading it.



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fancy CFL's

No more one size and offensive color fits all. If you need a dimming light, a chandelier, or even a flickering one, check out these new CFL's...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Electronics Recyling in NYC - What's That About?

As the fate of a City Council bill requiring electronic waste recycling rests on the tip of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s pen, many New Yorkers have no idea where and how to dispose of unwanted electronic items, many of which contain environmental hazards like lead and mercury.
Sabrina Brown, for example, has never heard of “e-waste” recycling.
Ms. Brown, 20, a student from Richmond Hill, Queens, said she had three cellphones, an old laptop computer, an old television, two old radios and three old cameras sitting in her room.
“I don’t know where to take them,” she said.

Mr. Bloomberg has expressed strong opposition to a bill passed by the City Council last month that would fine New Yorkers $100 for throwing electronics in the garbage and would require manufacturers to take back their products and those made by companies that are no longer in business.

The Lower East Side Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental group, holds monthly electronic waste drop-off events. The center also works with Build It Green! NYC, a nonprofit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials, which accepts unwanted electronics at its warehouse in Astoria, Queens, Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Per Scholas is a Bronx-based organization that accepts old electronics and refurbishes computers to distribute in low-income communities and to schools. Some retailers, including Staples, accept old electronics at their stores for recycling.

Last year, the Lower East Side Ecology Center collected 118 tons of discarded electronics, more than in any previous year, though the center also held twice as many collection events as it had in the past.

The Sanitation Department, which began its electronics drop-off events in 2004, saw a steady increase in its collection through the first three years. But the number of tons collected dipped to 295 in 2007 from 309 in 2006, though the number of people who provided something for recycling increased. According to a Sanitation Department study of waste disposed in 2004 and 2005, discarded electronics made up 0.64 percent of the city’s trash. But even a small amount of such waste can produce contamination, said Kate Sinding, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Carey Pulverman, the project manager for the Lower East Side Ecology Center, spends much of her day on the phone with people looking for ways to get rid of old electronics. “The thing is, people don’t want to go out of their way to do it,” she said. “Mostly, it’s them trying to talk to me about why they need their stuff picked up.”

Full Story, NYTimes

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Greening up your PC recently published a list of greening your computer from A-Z.

Just a few include:
Blackle: This black screen version of Google consumes less monitor energy than the regular white one.
The Green Data Project: This project encourages slimming down your unnecessary data for greener servers and more.
CO2Stats: Determine the carbon footprint of your site or blog based on traffic with this app.
Box: Use Box to upload client files instead of printing or sending a CD.
Skype: Use Skype to conduct virtual meetings and avoid wasteful transportation.
GreenPrint: GreenPrint offers an easy way to prevent the printing of extraneous information like banner ads, URLs, and legal disclaimers.
Spamato: Cut down on power-sucking spam with this app that will keep junk mail from hitting your inbox.
TigerTech: TigerTech uses only EnergyStar products, fluorescent lights, and donates to the CarbonFund yearly.
GreenestHost: This host was designed with eco-friendly storage in mind, offering solar power, low power servers, and more efficient management that allows the company to operate with fewer servers.
Iron Mountain: Just like GreenestHost, Iron Mountain is solar powered, making their energy usage clean and renewable.
Sustainable Hosting: Sustainable Hosting’s facility is powered in part by wind, saving approximately more than 32,000 pounds of CO2.
DreamHost: DreamHost operates on energy efficient servers, and purchases carbon emmission offsets for their servers and office waste.

For the full list, click here

Saturday, March 8, 2008

New Leaf

While visiting the greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza, looking for an office plant, the sign at the New Leaf farm stand said grown in South Bronx. New Leaf, a drug-free work experience program for homeless men and women trains and employees through a nontraditional program. Workers grow plans and herbs in two greenhouses an open garden and courtyard. They also work in an herbal vinegar enterprise, creating, under strict conditions, flavored vinegars from the herbs they grow. These products are sold in Greenmarkets in Manhattan and Brooklyn. All profits are plowed back into the program.

New Leaf

Friday, March 7, 2008

Caffeine Awareness Month, who knew!, a popular online resource devoted to solving everyday problems by providing reliable "how to” instruction on diverse topics, celebrates the world's most popular bean by providing interesting facts and alternative uses for coffee, in recognition of "Caffeine Awareness Month” in March.

For example, you can use coffee grounds as a cleaner . The grounds are extremely abrasive and acidic, giving them the edge when it comes to difficult cleaning. Simply mix them with a little bit of water, and then scrub with a firm brush. Do make sure that the dirty items are stain-resistant as coffee grounds may dye surfaces.

Find other green uses for your grinds

Bag-less in Dumbo

Two businesses in DUMBO have begun weaning customers off the latest symbol of wasteful consumerism: the plastic shopping bag. Foragers, the high-end grocery store at Front and Adams streets, has begun deducting 10 cents from the purchases of patrons who decline plastic bags. And Water Street Restaurant and Lounge has stopped delivering food in plastic bags. “We really want our store to be as garbage-free as possible,” said Anna Castellani, the store’s owner (pictured). Castellani said she been trying to cure Brooklynites of their plastic addiction since opening her store two-and-a-half years ago, but said that only recently have customers become amenable to the idea.

In January, the City Council joined the worldwide trend, passing a law requiring stores with at least 5,000 square feet, or chain stores with five or more branches in the city, to collect plastic bags for recycling. The goal of the bill, which goes into effect in July, is to save a tiny bit of the 12 million barrels of oil that are converted into plastic bags every year.

Jane Kojima, a spokeswoman for the DUMBO Improvement District, said she’s lined up about 20 businesses that will begin reducing plastic bags starting in March, once the group distributes canvas bags to every household in the neighborhood. As usual, the Park Slope Food Co-op, which charges members for plastic bags on the honor system, is way ahead of the green movement — though not as far ahead as its general manager would like. “This spring, the Co-op plans to up the ante, voting to entirely eliminate all disposable bags — plastic and paper — from the cooperative grocery store. Holtz predicted that the measure would pass.

Castellani said her three-week-old initiative appears to be having some effect. About 50 percent of her customers now decline plastic bags. Corey Szopinski, who frequently fills up his stomach — and a biodegradable container — with Foragers’ sublime mac and cheese, said he’s thrilled with the new initiative. “Business owners need to start thinking about reducing waste,” said Szopinski. “[And] now that they have biodegradable containers and potato starch utensils (which are awesome!), I go there instead of to restaurants that use Styrofoam or plastic.”
Also, staff from the Center for the Urban Environment have launched a month-long No Plastic Bag Challenge. The goal is to reduce plastic bag use by 75%

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Interview with MA Shumin, an Environmental Documentary Film-maker

AG: How did you get into film-making, and environmental films in particular?
MS: I studied filmmaking since freshman year in 1998 at Syracuse University and am loving it since. I have always been interested in the theme of society, people and culture. In our current time, humans affect the environment, and the environment affect us. From September 2007 to June 2008 I am a Metcalf Fellow in Environmental Reporting at NPR Science Friday, producing environmental videos for their website.

AG: What was your most interest experience while working on a project?
MS:Learning that there is such thing as (and eating it) vegetarian shark fin soup. I am working on a video about Shark, one of the reason they are endangered is because of shark finning.

AG: What was the most alarming experience working on a project?
MS: Learning about the value of the most precious resource on Earth.... water. And that starting now, very soon, wars will be fought not on oil, but on this precious and vital resource.

AG: What is your best "green pratice"?
MS: I have become a minimalist, and don't consume so much. I believe the best we can do for our environment is not to have stuff to throw out in the first place.

Check out these links to some of her work
an awesome video on biodiesel here in NYC
video about oysters - not just for eating!
E-waste video on

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Easy on the Gas

Americans are starting to use less gasoline. It took a weakened economy and record oil prices -- crude hit an all-time high of $103.95 a barrel Monday -- but in the past six weeks, U.S. gasoline consumption has fallen by an average 1.1 percent from 2007 levels, the most sustained drop in at least 16 years (excepting the drop-off that followed Hurricane Katrina). As Americans move to mitigate their gas-pump pain by seeking out more fuel-efficient cars, migrating into walkable neighborhoods, and riding public transit, analysts are suggesting that reduced gasoline use could be a long-term trend.

Sources: Grist, AP

Clinton Hill/Fort Greene Food Coop Comes to Town (Hopefully)

There's been a big groundswell of support to create a Clinton Hill/Fort Green Coop with 482 signatures thus far for the petition of support, and just over 300 people who've asked to join the mailing list since the effort began. The group responsible for launching the co-op is in talks with Sean Meenan of Cafe Habana to possibly use one of the spaces he owns on Fulton as a future home. Join them this Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. We've got four committees now working on different aspects of the coop -- Business/Financing, Outreach/Membership, Location/Lease and Merchandising -- with a large group of committed, excited folks who want to make this green effort happen.

Best of luck in their endeavors!

Learn More

Monday, March 3, 2008

PlanPS 2008

Upcoming Event

PlanPS2008: How You Can Start Fighting Climate Change TodayThe Park Slope Civic Council presents a community forum on sustainability.
When: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM THURSDAY, MARCH 6
Where: Old First Reformed ChurchCarroll Street and Seventh Avenue

From simple, everyday, eco-friendly tips to how you can get started on installing solar panels or a green roof, our expert panelists will give you the tools to start making Park Slope a greener community today.Featuring presentations by Rohit Aggarwala, Director of the Mayor's Office on Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, Anthony Pereira, CEO of altPower, and more.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Buried In Bottles

A February 2008 study conducted by NYPIRG indicates, well, read on...

Buried in Bottles: A Survey of Beverage Containers in New York’s Litter
By Joseph Stelling, New York Public Interest Research Group

The New York Public Interest Research Group conducted litter surveys at twenty sites across New York State in October and November 2007. Cleanups were held at a variety of locations, including beaches (5), college campuses (2), urban neighborhoods (6), parks (4), riverfronts (2), and along a highway (1). Results showed that litter from non-carbonated beverage containers (bottled water, juice, sports drinks, etc.), which are not currently included in the state’s nickel deposit system (commonly known as the Bottle Bill), far outnumbered litter from beverage containers currently covered under the state’s Bottle Bill (soda, beer, sparkling water, malt beverages, and wine coolers). Even though non-carbonated beverages make up less than 30% of the U.S. beverage market, containers from these products accounted for 61% of the beverage container litter, and 21% of the total litter volume.

Passed in 1982, the New York State Returnable Container Act, commonly known as the Bottle Bill, has been highly effective at capturing carbonated beverage containers. The Bottle Bill places a 5-cent deposit on carbonated beverage containers, which is fully refundable to consumers who return their bottles and cans to their local store or redemption center. Between 1983, when the Bottle Bill went in effect, and 2005, the most recent year for which New York has reported statistics, the Bottle Bill achieved an average redemption rate of 73.6%, with additional containers being captured by curbside programs. The deposit system is the most effective way to capture beverage containers because they are typically consumed “on the go” and disposed of away from home. According to a 2002 report, the 10 states with deposit systems recovered beverage containers at 2.5 times the rate of states without deposits. The authors of the original Bill had no way of knowing that 25 years later, bottled water and other noncarbonated drinks would see such a rise in popularity. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, bottled water sales have risen more than ten-fold in the last decade alone. At the current rate of growth, the Container Recycling Institute projects that sales of non-carbonated beverages will surpass soda sales by 2010.

In the last 25 years consumer habits have changed, and we must adapt our laws to reflect these changes. These trends will likely become more prevalent with every passing year that NYS fails to modernize its beverage container deposit system. If the trends we found hold true across the entire litter stream, then an updated Bottle Bill would target an additional 21% of New York’s Litter. In order to reduce beverage container litter in our communities, the NYS Legislature should update New York’s Bottle Bill to include non-carbonated beverages.

*For more information about this survey or NYPIRG’s campaign to pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, contact Joseph Stelling at (518) 436-0876 or email