Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mayor Breaks Ground on Recycling Facility

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today broke ground on a new Sims Municipal Recycling Facility that will serve as the principal processing facility for all of the City's metal, glass, and plastic recyclables. The recycling facility is part of the City's landmark Solid Waste Management Plan, which establishes a cost-effective, equitable, and environmentally sound system for managing the City's waste for the next 20 years, and it is a key part of the City's effort to achieve PlaNYC's goals of improving air quality, cutting traffic and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new, state-of-the-art facility located at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park will minimize the distance that collection trucks travel between pick-up sites and receiving centers, allow Sims to expand its barge and rail-based transport systems, eliminate over 260,000 vehicle miles traveled annually from City roadways, and create 100 new jobs when the facility is opened, which is expected in December 2011.
Learn More.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Unclogging Your Drain

A couple of green team members were in standing water for weeks. A drain that's not draining isn't pleasant. It's tempting to go for drano when a snake just isn't cutting it, but it's SOOO bad for water.

After bubbly cleaning liquids disappear down our drains, they are treated along with sewage and other waste water at municipal treatment plants, then discharged into nearby waterways. Most ingredients in chemical cleaners break down into harmless substances during treatment or soon afterward. Others, however, do not, threatening water quality or fish and other wildlife. In a May 2002 study of contaminants in stream water samples across the country, the U.S. Geological Survey found persistent detergent metabolites in 69% of streams tested.

PLUS... (according to Organic Consumers Association) The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners, according to Philip Dickey of the Washington Toxics Coalition. Corrosive chemicals can cause severe burns on eyes, skin and, if ingested, on the throat and esophagus. Ingredients with high acute toxicity include chlorine bleach and ammonia, which produce fumes that are highly irritating to eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and should not be used by people with asthma or lung or heart problems. These two chemicals pose an added threat in that they can react with each other or other chemicals to form lung-damaging gases.

Instead, try using a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for a half hour and then follow down with 2 quarts of boiling water. You may have to do it more than once. You can also go at it with a hanger (as we wound up doing) b/c the all-natural product we were using truthfully didn't cut it. Or call the plumber!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gowanus Garbage

Watch this disturbing video depicting trash and sewage flowing freely in our beloved Gowanus Canal.

What can you do about it? Volunteer with Gowanus Canal Conservancy! Email to volunteer and be a steward of this waterway.