We all know Greenpoint has a rep as being a pretty filthy hood. Not only do we process the lion’s share of NYC’s poop, but our backyard is infamous for its catastrophic oil spills and industrial superfund sites. Unfortunately, Greenpoint has and still remains a dumping ground for a myriad of things.
Our current garbage situation is so out of control, several test programs have been implemented to eliminate the scourge: The smelly composting pilot program, Big Belly Solar Compactor Cans installed on select corners, and we even have a neighborhood organization called Curb Your Litter, whose sole mission is to clean up our streets.
Just to put things into perspective about how insane our trash problem really is, in just one day of cleaning 25 Greenpoint streets, Curb Your Litter plucked 400 lbs of trash from curbs and gutters. Even worse—this poundage doesn’t even include the overflowing NYC garbage cans!
Talk about disgusting.
Now, I’m a proud Greenpointer like the rest of you, but after encountering a recent article declaring Greenpoint as “The Top Neighborhood in NYC for Illegal Dumping”, well…let’s just say I wasn’t feeling very patriot. In fact, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Oh, yeah? What else is new?”
We bought over 1000 white christmas lights to decorate our Holiday Market and we hope to use them for a long time. When they finally die and we recycle them, they may end up in Shijiao, China, the “Christmas Light Recycling Capital of the World.” This interesting video by Adam Minter, of the blog Shanghai Scrap, shows how the process works in order to recover valuable components like copper and insulation. In the USA this insulation would end up in a landfill, but in China it is reused as slipper soles.
A couple who got married in Greenpoint in 1950 and were the first to celebrate their nuptials at the Our Lady of Snow Hall on Graham Avenue, just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. Congratulations, Kay & Joe! (Greenpoint Gazette)
In case you thought everyone was happy about less garbage coming to Greenpoint, local trash collectors are upset about the reduction of capacity for transfer stations in such places as North Brooklyn. In all fairness, it doesn’t make sense to make it harder to get rid of trash in neighborhoods that are about to build monster condos filled with more rubbish makers. So, don’t build the towers and we’re good. (Craine’s NY)
How many of you Greenpointers have your own compost bin? Or bring your food scraps to the Greenmarket on Saturday in McCarren Park? Doesn’t it feel so good? Do you get giddy when you see all the food waste that doesn’t get thrown into plastic bags and sent to a landfill? Now the rest of this city is finally getting on board and this will directly benefit Greenpoint and North Brooklyn.
Starting today – Greenpointers (and all other New yorkers) can finally feel slightly less guilty for ordering delivery at four am in a snow storm! At long last NYC recycles all hard plastics, from busted big-wheels to plastic forks. DSNY just asks that you please rinse the General Tso’s juices out before tossing them in with your other recycling. It is anticipated that this move will save the city quite a lot of money in disposal fees and reduce the amount of plastics being buried forever in landfills or left to drift in our rivers and seas.
No No’s: plastic bags, wrappers, pouches or foam. (Bummer.)
Even so, it’s important to continue to reduce our use of plastic, as producing and recycling plastics uses a hefty amount of resources and energy.
Green Pointers: (get it?)
• opt for veggies in that aren’t shrink wrapped (Foxy lettuce, we’re looking at you) • buy a reusable water bottles instead of bottled water – NYC tap water is clean and safe • try living without plastic wrap and ziploc bags; trust me you can do it! • instead of that tupperware that you lose all the lids for, store leftovers in a bowl covered with a small plate – works just as well • use a canvas tote and say NO to evil plastic bags! You know that guilty feel you get when you forget your tote on line at the grocery store – it’s because satan made you do it…
Do you find it ironic that Greenpoint features the environmentally friendly Rooftop Farms, the new McGolrick Park Farmers Market, a Clean Green Dry Cleaners on Nassau Ave, among many other “green” initiatives? Are you confused that the Earth Day Celebration in McCarren Park is sponsored by Exxon Mobil?
It seems contradictory to be living in a very toxic place and at the same time celebrate so many eco-friendly things. It’s like eating organic kale in one hand and smoking a cigarette in the other hand.
So what is the point?
The point is, we live here and we love it! And we can’t just give up on Greenpoint. Generations ahead of us will call this place home and it’s important we make sure it is cleaner and healthier for them and safe for us in the meantime.
Instead of being cynical about all of these exciting “green” developments in the community, embrace them and look at them as steps towards cleaning up Greenpoint.
A very important panel discussion called Is Greenpoint Safe? was held at Anella recently. Organizers created this important document to help you become more informed and understand how you can get involved, get educated and get Greenpoint on the right track.
A few important things to note: The Newtown Creek is a Superfund Site, if you live above or near the Meeker Ave plumes it’s important to get your home tested right away for harmful fumes, oil spills and bad odors are cause for action, houseplants can help improve air quality in your home, eating food from your garden may be contaminated with lead or other toxic chemical so test the soil, and composting, limiting the use of harmful cleaners in your home and adopting a tree are all ways you can directly act towards making Greenpoint a cleaner and healthier place.
Please discuss and share this information with friends and neighbors.
Oil spill? Toxins? Plumes? Is Greenpoint safe? If you live or work here, you should be concerned about how your health is affected by these big problems. Please come and learn about the history behind our neighborhood’s toxic legacy and how it can be cleaned up. This important topic will be the focus of a discussion on Wednesday May 23, 2012 at 7pm in Anella’s backyard (222 Franklin St), in a panel moderated by Cara Canella of Speak Easy Series. Panelists include Kate Zidar of Newtown Creek Alliance, Laura Hoffman of O.U.T.R.A.G.E. (Organizations United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity), Mike Schade of Center for Health & Environmental Justice. RSVP: lincoln (at) lincolnrestler.org.