Saturday, February 23, 2008

Creating Green Roofs Step-by-Step

Date: Friday, March 7
Location: New York Botanical Garden

Green roofs are not only aesthetically pleasing, they also reduce stormwater runoff and insulate buildings. Learn about this cutting-edge technology and how to implement it during Continuing Education’s new daylong program of six in-depth classes ranging from design to construction and led by experts. Participants may select as many as three topics.

For more details see: or call 800.322.NYBG(6924) to register.

Monday, February 18, 2008

BEST ECO-CHOICE: Plastic Bag Dryer

The Food Coop sells a plastic bag drying tree that conveniently and efficiently dries about ten plastic bags at a time without using dish drying space. REDUCE your plastic bag use, then REUSE your bags by rinsing them to dry on this dryer, then RECYCLE your bags and after many uses, by bringing them to the Coop's 3x monthly plastic RECYCLING collection!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stop Intro 650 (NYC Council) Now!

What follows is an excerpt from a letter sent by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health regarding Intro 650, a bill introduced into the New York City Council at the request of the mayor and with the support of the Speaker of the City Council.

"Intro 650 will require permits for the possession or use of any instruments which monitor chemical, biological or radiological contamination. The NYC Police Department has testified that the impetus for the bill came from the Department of Homeland Security. Intro 650 will give NYPD the power to authorize, deny, or delay any workplace or environmental sampling. We believe the bill, if enacted, will restrict, and could prevent altogether, independent environmental monitoring by unions, community organizations, and others, including university programs. We believe this would pose a significant threat to our civil liberties.

The stated purposed of the bill is to “reduce excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety." However, the bill’s proponents have presented no data to support the claim of "excessive false alarms," nor have they identified the types of alarms that are presumed to be excessive. No evidence has been presented to document "unwarranted anxiety." It is likely that no such data exist.

Had such legislation been in place on and after 9/11, the independent testing done by unions and community-based organizations could not have been legally conducted and what we now know about the contamination of Lower Manhattan would be limited. This same concern was addressed by other speakers at the hearing.

The bill is being opposed by a wide range of organizations including the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the New York City Central Labor Council, the United Federation of Teachers, Healthy Schools Network, West Harlem Environmental Action, and NYCOSH.

Attached please find a letter we are asking you to sign which we will submit to the City Council. Please send me your endorsement and indicate whether this is an organizational endorsement or whether we should list your name, title, and affiliation for identification purposes only. If you send your own letter to the City Council, could you please forward us a copy. Thank you. Time is of the essence.

Joel Shufro William Henning
Executive Director, NYCOSH Chair, NYCOSH"

_________ Yes, please add my name as a signatory to the enclosed letter.

Name ____________________________

Title ____________________________


Please email us back at or Fax us at 212-227-9854

_________ Please designate that the name of the institution attached to my name is for identification purposes only.

_________ I will send a letter over my signature to the members of the City Council below and will send a copy to NYCOSH.

(Contact information for City Council members is available here:

_________ I will do both.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Green Renter lecture series

Lots of times we read great suggestions for what "ordinary people" can do to reduce their environmental impact, but often these ideas only apply if you own your own house. The "Green Renter" series at Solar1 is aimed at the ordinary people in NYC who rent, and want to contribute to a more sustainable world. Now in its third season, the Green Renter is a weekly lecture series that addresses a broad variety of environmental subjects of New York interest, ranging from individual household practices to important local activist initiatives.

Coming Tuesday Feb. 5: Saving Energy in Your Apartment, with Elyssa Rothe, the Energy $mart Communities Coordinator at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO). More details at .

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Plastic Bag Reduction Strategies

Thanks to all who attended the General Meeting last week and spoke out in support of the initiative to reduce plastic bag usage at the Coop.

Here are a few plastic bag reduction strategies from around the world, taken from the information sheet that we made available at last week’s meeting:

Each year, 12 million barrels of oil are needed to produce the 100 billion plastic bags Americans consume annually. Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down. According to Worldwatch, tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals, and turtles die every year from contact with plastic bags. Many cities, countries and organizations have begun to develop strategies to limit or eliminate plastic bag use. Here are some of them:

  • Ireland in March of 2002, introduced a plastic bag tax, or PlasTax. Consumers are charged approximately 20 cents per bag. The tax has resulted in a 90% drop in consumption, or approximately 1 billion fewer bags consumed annually. Litter has been dramatically reduced. The tax raised approximately $9.6 million the first year, which went to a fund to benefit the environment.

  • Switzerland has shops that charge 15 or 20 cents for plastic bags, but most Swiss shoppers bring their own reusable bags.

Plastic Bans:
  • Bangladesh initiated a ban on plastic bags in 2002, after they were found to cut off drainage systems and played a pivotal role in the 1988 and 1998 floods. The plastic ban is leading to a revival of the jute bag industry and other sustainable and biodegradable alternatives. Jute grows abundantly in Bangladesh and requires a lot less energy for processing than plastic.

  • Australia will phase out plastic bags by the end of 2008.

  • Alaska has 30 rural communities that have banned plastic bags.

  • Whole Foods Market is phasing out single-use plastic grocery bags at its stores nationwide to be completed by Earth Day on April 22 this year. They will sell canvas bags and a new reusable plastic sack made from recycled water bottles for 99 cents. The stores will continue to offer paper bags made with recycled paper free of charge.