Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eco-gifts

Look no further than the Coop for some of your holiday gifts. Here are a few we like:

Acorn Designs exquisite gift journals, made of high quality recycled paper. The illustrated nature scenes on the cover are described inside. You’ll be tempted to keep one for yourself.

Bokubooks petite notebooks, come with a variety of elegant cover patterns. They are made of recycled paper and kenaf.

Wrapsacks gorgeous patterned shopping totes that fold to a wallet-size packet. They make gift sacks (a wrapping paper alternative) too.

The Coop also carries a variety of recycled wrapping paper and recycled content cards.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

PSFC Highlighted in Transportation Alternatives Monthly Magazine

In addition to the coverage it received in the November 20th, 2008 Linewaiters' Gazette, the Shop 'n' Cycle Exploratory Committee's October 18th valet parking demonstration was covered in Reclaim, the monthly magazine of the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. The story appeared on page 6 of its Fall 2008 issue. And in TA's bimonthly online newsletter, StreetBeat, the same event is covered in a reprint of a Brooklyn Eagle story dated October 20, 2008, which can be read at:

http://www.transalt.org/newsroom/media/2705

The demonstration was successful enough to earn the committee another eight months of exploratory work, as voted on at the Coop's October 28, 2008 General Meeting. If valet parking could actually work, it would greatly relieve the bike parking shortage at the Coop. The addition of many new bike racks along Union Street (with input from the Environmental Committee) has helped generate so much more bike traffic that the new capacity has quickly been overwhelmed. Even on the coldest, most blustery days, one typically finds every available bike rack and street sign with bikes locked to them. So the need is there.

As to doubts expressed about the amount of work force that would be required, committee member Ken Coughlin pointed out at the General Meeting that the Coop has a fully staffed Street Squad that is at the service of the Coop's car drivers, so that we are in effect encouraging people to drive to the Coop.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Member Q&A: BPA in Cans?

Q: A member wrote to us asking about BPA in can linings. More specifically--which companies whose canned food we carry at the coop have linings that contain Bisphenol A?

A: BPA has been in the news a lot this year. A little online research turned up the following recent information, which interested coop members may find helpful.

"After all the surge in publicity and hearing from many companies, I come to the conclusion that BPA is used industry wide and unless the company consciously chooses to purchase otherwise, all cans have it. Just about the only company that consciously uses an alternative is Eden Foods." For more information see, Organic Grace

And from a food coop in Madison, Wisconsin: "Given concerns over BPA in food containers, we have contacted vendors whose products we carry to ask if they use it. ... For more information see: Willy Street Coop

On the practical side of the issue: Bisphenol A and You: 8 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to BPA

We'll try to update this as new information becomes available.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Green Brooklyn Links


The Coop's not the only group of green-minded folks in Brooklyn. Check out these two websites from other local, environmentally-focused groups:




Brooklyn Green Team (http://brooklyngreenteam.blogspot.com/)
As their website states, "Brooklyn Green Team is a grassroots organization devoted to reducing the environmental impact of ourselves and others." The Green Team sponsors eco-activism (like their recent 5-minute shower challenge) and other community events, and their blog features environmental news and tips from Brooklyn and beyond.

Green Brooklyn (http://greenbrooklyn.com/)
Green Brooklyn is a blog that posts a wide variety of news and info of an ecological bent. The website also features links to local resources for environmentally-friendly shopping, eating, and living. It's even hosted by an internet provider running on 100% wind power!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Calvert Vaux Park and Artificial Turf

After years of neglect, the Parks Department has finally taken notice of Calvert Vaux Park (profiled in this article) and plans to make a number of changes. Some of these are most welcome, including proposed habitat creation on part of the 70-acre site. Unfortunately, the very first step, planned to start by the end of the month, is tearing up six of the soccer fields and replacing them with artificial turf. These fields provide feeding territory for killdeers, kestrels, American pipits, horned larks, and many other grassland birds; no studies have been done on how the artificial turf might affect them.

Not only is this move potentially bad for birds (and the plants and invertebrates they feed on), it's also likely to be bad for the park's other bipedal users. Artificial turf has been implicated in many injuries, both because it has less give than natural turf and because it absorbs more heat from the sun. On top of this, it increases storm-water runoff.

Despite all this, the Parks Department uses artificial turf widely; it requires less maintenance and requires less downtime between games. In this instance, the Parks Department has rejected calls to instead create additional fields to allow more playing time and the rest that the grass needs.

If you would like to express your concerns about artificial turf in Calvert Vaux Park:

Bill Tai, Director, Natural Resources Group,
City of New York Parks & Recreation
Arsenal North
1234 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10029
bill.tai AT parks.nyc.gov

And copy:

Adrian Benepe, Commissioner
City of New York, Dept of Parks & Recreation
The Arsenal at Central Park
830 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10021
adrian.benepe AT parks.nyc.gov

Suzanne Mattei, Regional Director
NYSDEC Region 2
1 Hunters Point Plaza
47-40 21st St.
Long Island City, NY 11101-5407
smmattei AT gw.dec.state.ny.us

Thanks to Ida Sanoff of the Natural Resources Protective Association for the contact information.

America Recycles Day

November 15th is America Recycles Day! Sponsored by the National Recycling Coalition, America Recycles Day is, "the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to reccycle and to buy recycled products." Learn more about recycling and buying recycled products -- including what, where and how -- and sign up to take the Recycling Pledge.

For more information, visit http://www.nrc-recycle.org/americarecycles.aspx

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Leaf Collection This Month at 6/15 Green

Due to budget cuts, the city won't be collecting fall leaves for composting this year. But don't send those leaves to the landfill! On weekends in November you can bring your bagged fall leaves to the 6/15 Green community garden for composting. Here are the details:

November 8, 9, 15 & 23
6th Ave and 15th St, Park Slope
11 am - 1 pm
Rain or Shine

Bag leaves in clear plastic or brown paper bags
No branches, no pesticide-sprayed leaves and no trash, please

For more information, visit http://www.615green.org/

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Electronics Recycling This Weekend

Old computers, TVs, cell phones, radios, cameras, VCRs and other electronics taking up space in your apartment? Keep them out of landfills -- recycle them at Green Screens this weekend! This city-wide event is sponsored by the Mayor's office, the Council on the Environment of NYC, and a host of other corporate and nonprofit organizations.

Saturday and Sunday, November 15 - 16
from 8 am to 2 pm

Brooklyn location: McCarren Park, Williamsburg

For more information (including dropoff locations in other boroughs), visit: http://www.greenisuniversal.com/greenscreens/

Monday, November 03, 2008

NYC Commuter Cycling Is Soaring

A recent NYT story highlighted a 35% increase in NYC commuter cycling from 2007 to 2008. The 140 miles of new bicycle routes was cited as a factor. The recent rise in gas prices almost certainly contributed. The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has pointed out that statistics show safety in numbers; the more motorists see cyclists on the road, the more careful – and courteous – they become, and fewer accidents occur. More cycling also results in less automobile pollution, which is good for all of us. To see a map of NYC bicycle routes, see: NYC Bike Maps.