Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Green Dry Cleaning in the Slope

A new green dry cleaner, Green Hangers, has opened on 7th Ave. at the corner of 8th St. in Park Slope. Most dry cleaning is done with solvents that are harmful to our health and the environment. Perchloroethylene, or perc, has the potential to cause kidney and liver damage, developmental problems in the unborn and possibly cancer. Green cleaners, such as the new Green Hangers and Green Apple Cleaner at 78 Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, uses CO2 to clean clothing. Green America (formerly Co-op America) has a great article which explains why CO2 is a safer and more sustainable option.

There are dry cleaners that use the word "green" in their name or advertising, and are actually no different than other cleaners. It is important to inquire how they do their cleaning, if they use PERC or some alternative, and if so, what.

If you do use a regular dry cleaner (with perc), you can minimize potential health problems by removing the plastic wrap at the store and letting your clothes air out on the way home. Avoid storing freshly dry cleaned clothes in a baby or child's room, as they are more susceptible to the effects of perc and other toxins.

Image courtesy of Austin Cleaners

Monday, December 21, 2009

Safer, Greener Holiday Gifts

Thinking of buying some kids toys this holiday season? Check out the Green Guides Plastic Toys Buying Guide to see which ones are safer for your children to use, as well as more environmentally friendly. Also see their 20 Last Minute FUNctional Gifts Under $20--sure to be crowd-pleasers.

The Food Coop carries some gift items such as naturally scented soaps and lotions, recycled paper gift notebooks, scented candles, and some holiday cards that contain seeds--they can be buried in the garden where they will biodegrade and grow into wildflowers in the spring!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recycling During the Holidays

You can recycle much of the paper generated during the holidays:

Recycle your holiday cards and promotional mail. This time of year, we get inundated with mail and catalogs. When you’re done with these, recycle them with your mixed paper and cardboard. Do this year round with all unwanted mail!

Recycle paper gift wrap and cardboard boxes. Paper gift wrap and cardboard tubes are recyclable. So are the cardboard boxes that contain your presents. Recycle these along with your other mixed paper and cardboard.

You can also recycle many of the beverage containers that hold your favorite holiday drinks, such as wine and beer bottles. You can even recycle the carton that holds your eggnog. Recycle these along with other designated metal, glass, and plastic recyclables.

Also, consider reusable totes, boxes or scarves to wrap your gifts.
If you use wrapping paper, the Coop has a selection of recycled wrapping paper as well as cards.

Check the Department of Sanitation's holiday collection schedule to know when to set out your recyclables.

For more green holiday tips, see NYC Wasteless.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Greenpeace Has New Executive Director

Greenpeace International's new executive director, Kumi Naidoo of South Africa, is in Copenhagen for the climate summit now taking place there. He is the first African to head Greenpeace, and his appointment can be seen as a change of direction for the legendary environmental organization from discreet environmental campaigns toward connecting the dots of environmental activism with human rights and poverty.

In this respect his background is appropriate, if unusual, for his new role as Greenpeace director. Born in Durbin SA, he was part of the African National Congress' struggle against South Africa's apartheid system. He had to flee the country in 1986 for violating the country's emergency regulations, and returned after Nelson Mandela was freed from jail. He has been a human rights and anti-poverty activist both as part of the ANC and apart from it ever since.

Kumi Naidoo sat down for an interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman in Copenhagen on Thursday, December 10th, and spoke about Obama’s Peace Prize, Obama’s War, Copenhagen and Climate Debt. You can watch the interview online.

Friday, December 11, 2009

NYC Greener, Greater Buildings Plan

New York’s City Council passed landmark legislation yesterday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing government, commercial, and residential buildings in New York City.

The package of four bills is expected to dramatically reduce the City’s energy usage, saving consumers $700 million annually in energy costs, while creating 17,880 jobs and reducing New York City’s carbon footprint by nearly 5%.

In addition to the four pieces of legislation, the six-point Greener, Greater Buildings Plan includes two PlaNYC programs that will train workers for new construction-related jobs, and help finance energy-saving improvements using $16 million in federal stimulus funding.

The plan will also result in cleaner air, since pollution from boilers, furnaces, and local power plants will also be reduced. Learn more details about the plan.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The EPA Launches Online Discussion Forum

Have you ever wanted to tell the Environmental Protection Agency what you think? Now's your chance--their new online discussion forum allows the public to comment on issues such as:
  • Contaminated sites

  • Waste management

  • Recycling issues
The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) has launched an online discussion forum designed to enhance communication between EPA and the public on OSWER issues. The OSWER Discussion Forum, which is a public comment board, is, says the EPA, "another important component in EPA’s ongoing efforts to increase transparency and public engagement."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Copenhagen Climate Conference

Worldwatch is going to provide updates on this week's Climate Conference in Copenhagen, beginning Monday, December 7. You can visit the Dateline Copenhagen Blog or download their Climate Change Pocket Reference Guide.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Cities as Solutions for Climate Change

Event Date: Wednesday, 12/02/09
6:00pm - 8:00pm

Location: NY Academy of Sciences Conference Center,
7 World Trade Center,
250 Greenwich St., 40th Floor

This panel discussion will highlight New York City as an example for cities around the globe and examine the key role cities play in climate change adaptation going into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (Cop15) discussions in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Presented by the Green Science & Environmental Policy Discussion Group and New York City Panel on Climate Change

Find more information on this event and register here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Greenmarkets Get Even Greener

We've got loads of great Greenmarkets in New York City, what could make them greener? The Council on the Environment for New York City's rechargeable battery and cellphone recycling, that's what! CENYC is expanding its recycling efforts at select Greenmarket locations by adding collection boxes to recycle old rechargeable batteries and cell phones. CENYC is establishing this program in cooperation with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Cooperation (RBRC), a nonprofit public service organization that operates the Call2Recycle program.

Find recycling collection boxes at the following Greenmarkets:

Union Square Greenmarket, 8am-6pm

Brooklyn Borough Hall, 8am-6pm
Court & Montague

Union Square Greenmarket, 8am-6pm

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 8am-6pm
E. 47th St & 2nd Ave.

97th Street Greenmarket, 8am-2pm
W 97th & Columbus

Union Square Greenmarket, 8am-6pm


Union Square Greenmarket, 8am-6pm

Brooklyn Borough Hall, 8am-6pm
Court & Montague

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, 8am-4pm
NW Entrance to Prospect Park

Fort Greene Park Greenmarket, 8am-4pm
Washington Park at DeKalb

McCarren Park Greenmarket, 8am-3pm
Driggs & Union

Inwood Greenmarket, 8am-3pm
Isham St b/t Seaman & Cooper

For more information, visit the CENYC website.

Image courtesy of 's Flickr pool.