Thursday, May 04, 2017

News and Updates: TerraCycle Vote at May 30th GM /Change of Collection dates/ Collection guidelines

Hello Coop Members and Friends of The Environmental Committee,

 Those in support of TerraCycle please make an effort to go to the GM on MAY 30th and vote in favor on continuing this project. 

Here is the wording of the proposal to be voted on. 

Given the success, popularity, and continued requests for the plastic film collection we are making the following VOTE PROPOSAL:
—Establish a baseline annual budget of $5000 to continue an ongoing TerraCycle Fee Based Zero Waste Plastic Film collection with a caveat of up to an additional $1500 in  bridge money as approved by the General Coordinators dependent on growth of the collection. 
—Any permanent increase in the yearly budget will be taken up with the membership as needed given use, demand, and/or expansion of the Plastic Film collection.
*Please Make Note:Schedule Of Collection Change: the Saturday May 27th TerraCycle collection has been moved up to Saturday the 20th due to the Memorial Day weekend.
Plastic Film Collection Guidelines
Thank you for your support and participation in the TerraCycle Plastic Film Collection!
If you are making a deposit to the Plastic Film Collection, please be prepared to show your Coop membership card.
Please do not leave the collection until your entire deposit has been vetted, as we will return items to you that are not appropriate for the collection.
All items should be clean/rinsed as needed, and free of any food.
Please sort out all the Free Brigade items from the rest of your plastic film deposit.
Please be aware that we DO NOT ACCEPT the following:
*Dry cleaner bags
*Packing material of any kind
*Newspaper and magazine wrapping
*Packaging from products NOT PURCHASED at the Coop
*Branded packaging from any other store (e.g., Trader Joe’s, 360 WholeFoods, etc.)
*Shopping bags of any kind
*Large quantities of cling wrap or shrink wrap— – quantities must come from purchases at the Coop
*Roll bags from other stores
*Any item that can go in the Brigade collection (e.g., energy bar wrappers, cereal bag liners, etc.)
*Any other plastic not associated with Coop purchases
*Dirty, sticky plastic film or with food still on or in it
Please, if you want this collection to keep going and growing, please make a donation, especially if you are dropping off a large amount of plastic film waste.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Coop Environmental Committee is joining the “Stop Climate Change” rally in New York 4/22

Hello and Welcome to the Environmental Committee Blog.
 It's spring time and EARTH DAY is approaching.
 Due to the emergency nature of U.S. threats to the world’s efforts to reduce climate change, rather than do educational tabling for Earth Day, this year the Coop Environmental Committee is joining the “Stop Climate Change” rally in New York and asking all interested Coop members to stand with us behind the Environmental Committee banner. If you would like to be part of our presence at the Earth Day Climate Change Rally, please meet us in front of the Coop at 11:15 on Saturday, April 22 so we can travel together to Folly Square.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Re: Tip of The Month (Reusable/Recyclable)

Happy New Year! It's 2017 and time to look at how we can make our shopping trips more Eco friendly to the planet.

From the "Form Healthy Habits" website:

 Opt for Reusable Products

Reusable products are less likely to end up in landfills, reducing your impact on the environment. Plus, despite their upfront cost being slightly higher, this type of product will save you money in the long-run. Ditch the paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable grocery bags and opt for reusable items instead.

Look for Recyclable Packaging 

 You can, of course, make your shopping trips greener by looking for products packaged in recyclable or reusable packages. As far as recycling goes, take a look at the packages you are buying and look for the “recyclable” icons on the plastic or can– then make sure you actually remember to recycle when you're finished with the product. In terms of reuse, glass jars and plastic containers can be used to store buttons, craft supplies, and even leftovers. All you have to do is make a conscious effort to buy things you can work with instead of things that will simply be thrown away.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Environmental Committee's Tip of the Month!

Hello Coop Members!
Environmental Committee's Tip of the Month: 
Try Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Combine baking soda and vinegar for kitchen and bathroom cleaning.  
Vinegar alone is great for cleaning glass windows and mirrors, as well as for getting cat odors out of fabric, wood floors or anything else.
Go online for tons of tips on cheap, nontoxic cleaning.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TerraCycle Collection at PSFC is expanding and needs your help! Learn more and join the squad.

The TerraCycle Collection is expanding and needs YOUR help!

We currently have two work shifts, which fall on the second Wednesday of the month from 3:30 to 6:30p.m., and the fourth Saturday of the month 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

If these shift times do not work for you to become a squad member, we still want to hear from you as we are very interested in adding new collection times. Dedicated
FTOP workers are also welcome. If you can be on a shift more times than not, we
would definitely welcome you on shifts as much as you can schedule with us.

Info about the shift:

*Shifts are very stable, 12 shifts per year, no moving around the calendar
based on work week A, B, C. or D. Shifts are set for a particular day/time of
the month and do not change.

*Enjoy working your shift with like-minded environmentally conscious Coop
members, members you work with and members who drop off their recyclables.

*This shift is a very feel good shift knowing you are making a difference and
helping members to make a difference in improving our environment.

*The shift tends to go quickly as the collection is well received by members
and we tend to be busy throughout the shift.

*For most of the year, the collections are held outside and shift workers enjoy
fresh air.

*You will get your hands dirty—not unlike work on other shifts. We have
gloves available and you can go in periodically to wash your hands in the

*There will be a few shifts where weather may be of concern.  We have a
policy to address hot, rainy, or frigid weather with consideration to workers’
comfort. More details are available if interested.

*The work of the shift does require a fair amount of standing and some light
lifting. At the end of each shift we carry or cart the boxes to the UPS store on
Flatbush and Seventh Aves

Interested in working the Wednesday or Saturday shift or starting a third collection time as your workslot? We want to hear from you! Contact Cynthia Pennycooke in the Membership Office: 718-622- 0560 AND Inquiries can be sent to  
For more information about Terracycle, visit

Friday, July 22, 2016

Expanded TerraCycle recycling is here at the Coop!

Outside of the Coop except during inclement weather when collection will be held inside the Coop

2nd Wednesday of the month 3:45-6pm
4th Saturday of the month 1:45-4pm
(Please try to come at least 15 minutes before the end of the shift.)

New expanded plastic collection for Coop members only! 
Please be ready to show your membership card. 

New items collected:
  • Plastic bags/wrapping/packaging from most Coop items (both food and non food items.)
  • Plastic roll bags distributed by the Coop.
  • Thin plastic film wrapping from items such as cheese, meat, toilet paper, tea boxes etc. 
NO foil backed packaging is accepted at the moment.

The regular TerraCycle collection is still available to Coop and non-Coop members!

Ongoing community collection items:
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, any brand and size.
  • Baby food pouches and caps, any brand
  • Energy bar wrappers (any brand but only energy bars)
  • Brita and other similar water filters
  • Plastic food storage zip loc bags, cling wrap and small bulk bags such as the bags used for spice, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Plastic cereal and cracker bags (no foil packaging)
NO shopping bags
Food residue and paper labels OK

It was a scorching June afternoon that heralded the arrival of the expanded TerraCycle collection here at the Park Slope Food Coop.
ONLY SOFT PLASTIC FROM COOP PURCHASES.  More than one Fresh Direct labeled ziploc bag was handed back to sheepish members.  Why?  The Coop has to pay extra for the items in this expanded collection. 
Donations of any amount are welcome!
Please wash food residue before handing over.  The TerraCycle committee cannot send off plastic with food on it and if your plastic is dirty you will be asked to pop into the Coop to rinse it off.
It is really helpful to try and sort the various types of plastic if possible.  The TerraCycle squad will always help but collections can get busy.  Any extra organizing beforehand is always welcome.
Remember that everything from toothpaste to baby food pouches are collected.
 The youngest member of the TerraCycle squad hits up the plastic sorting.  If a five year old can sort plastic there's hope for all of us.
That's a girl's size amount of plastic waste saved 
from landfills and out of our environment.

Tom, a Coop member for five years says this about the TerraCycle collection. 
"I love it. I wish we could recycle everything. I wish we could do the dry cleaning bags. I wish we could do more. I would be all for that. It sickens me to see the amount of plastic we can't get rid of."
Tom has used roll bags only half a dozen times in five years. We can't all be Tom but we can certainly make sure our roll bags get recycled. Single use plastic is the most commonly used plastic found to affect wildlife.

Plastic People

Photo credit: Jenna Spevack
With the recent roll bag vote and the expanded TerraCycle collections happening at the Coop, plastic has had increased visibility among Coop members.  However, there’s one area where plastic chemicals are ubiquitously present yet mostly unseen within the walls of 782 Union. Where? Actually inside our food and then ultimately in our bodies. 

To understand how plastic chemicals end up food and then in people, a basic lesson in polymer chemistry is needed.  Simplified, plastics are made up of long chains of plasticizer chemicals (a monomer is a plastic compound, which when strung together make up polymers that form the building blocks of plastic.)  Plastics of course have a wide variety of uses.  From hard, colored plastic to flexible, transparent cling film and other types of food packaging, plastics have brought a certain ease to many us living a modern life.

Unfortunately popular plastic chemicals share two characteristics that’s a problem for us.  They are able to interact with the body’s hormonal systems (it is increasingly observed how detrimental they can be for human health) and secondly they don’t stay put.  Plastic chemicals need very little to start migrating out into the wider environments they find themselves in.  Promiscuous polymers are not what we tend to think about when we think about plastic, but there’s excellent data to show this migration clearly.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has observed the plasticizer BPA or Bisphenol-A in the urine of 93% of American’s tested and phthalates (the class of plastic chemicals used to make PVC) have been found in the majority of children tested.  This is very concerning as phthalates are linked to a host of conditions affecting kids, including birth defects, asthma and allergies.

The public would be surprised to hear that food is major source of plasticizers like phthalates.  After all no one intentionally eats plastic but dietary source of plastic chemicals can be oxymoronic to say the least, both in your face and hidden in plain sight.  The plastic your food has been produced with and is wrapped and packaged in is the key source of this dietary exposure.

A 2013 New York study showed phthalates showing up in food bought in everyday supermarkets.  The plasticizers were found in everything from turkey bacon, fresh salmon steaks, vegetable soup to even cake mix and bread. These food items were bought straight off the shelves in randomly selected supermarkets.  You can see the entire list of food products hereand these chemicals will be found in both organic and conventional products.


So what’s a Park Slope Food Coop member to do? 

Well there are things that we can start doing right now:  
  • Reducing the amount of food bought in plastic packaging and tin cans (cans are lined with a plastic film that is for the most part made from BPA and BPA alternatives such as BPS and BPF) is a start.  Try bulk buying those garbanzo beans rather than getting tins, or using fresh ingredients to make foods like soups is a great way to avoid the cans.
  • Buying in season and freezing.  Frozen peaches still come in soft plastic bags but peach season means an abundance of fruit at great prices that can easily be frozen in glass containers.
  • Using more cloth reusable bags for bulk and less plastic roll bags.  These bags easily find their way into waterways, soil and other areas of our environment. Chemicals can leach from these bags as the plastic starts disintegrating and into it’s surroundings.
  • If you have to use roll bags, returning them in our extended TerraCycle collections will keep them out of general environmental circulation and recycling provides the building blocks for other plastic materials.  Soft plastics are NOT covered by NYC recycling initiatives, so TerraCycle is one of the few ways to keep these plastics out of landfills etc.
One initiative worth exploring could be to allow members to buy more bulk with less plastic usage.  This could work for things like cheese for example.  It is currently possible to purchase some items in bulk, using your own non plastic packaging but it’s not widely advertised or done (it seems to be dependent on the shift and squad leader.)  With more members interest, this could be something offered on an official ongoing basis.


1 National Toxicology Program, Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction Monographs on the Potential Human Reproductive and Developmental Effects: phthalates reviews available at: