Taking care of our planet

By FHCSA member Laura Yoshida—

While there probably are a few of us who are in it just for the vegetables, it’s not a huge leap to venture that most of us CSAers care a bit about the earth and doing our part to preserve it. Just being part of a CSA reduces our impact through reduced transport distances and reusable packaging.

Although a lot of environmental policy issues must be played out in the public arena, there are ways that individuals can make a difference. Many are simple and just require re-thinking old habits. Others are more time-intensive but might be worth it for your family as part of your commitment to the environment. Take a look at some of the info below for inspiration and tangible tips!

     What do you do when a pair of pants tears at the knee or a shirt develops a hole? If it’s beyond repair and can’t be used for clean up around the house, why not make a rug?!! Click here to link to a tutorial on rag rug-making and begin to give your home that personal touch!

     If rag rug-making is a little too crafty for you, how about recycling? GrowNYC accepts clean and dry clothing, paired shoes, bedding, linens, hats, handbags, belts and large fabric scraps at eight greenmarket locations, including the Jackson Heights Greenmarket (Sundays 8am-3pm at 34th Ave b/t 77th & 78th Sts). If you live in an apartment building and want to make life even more convenient, consider working with your management to participate in the RefashionNYC program.

     Did you know that food comprises about 17% of NYC’s waste stream? When food rots in landfill, it gives off a greenhouse gas called methane, which is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than the carbon pollution that comes out of your car exhaust. Learn more about composting at home through the Queens Botanical Garden Compost Project. If composting at home is not convenient, consider dropping food scraps at greenmarket sites throughout the city, including the Jackson Heights Greenmarket on Sundays all year round, and Sunnyside and Socrates Sculpture Park Greenmarkets in the summer. Rules of composting and links to composting locations can be found at growNYC. Info on composting leaves and Christmas trees is available at NYCWasteLess.

     Have you been frustrated that NYC recycling doesn’t accept yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus or medicine bottles? If you’ve run out of ways to re-use those containers, you can take them to Whole Foods which, through its Gimme5 program, partners with Preserve to make recycled household products including toothbrushes, razors, tableware, and kitchen products. Stores in Jericho, Lake Grove, Manhasset, and White Plains are participating in addition to these Manhattan locations: 10 Columbus Circle, 250 7th Ave., 270 Greenwich St., 4 Union Square South, 808 Columbus Ave. and 95 E. Houston St.

     Earth911 offers localized information on recycling in addition to a variety of general environmental tips.

For those of us with a competitive NYer gene, check out these environmental impact or carbon footprint calculators to see how your lifestyle compares to others’.

And for some true inspiration, check out No Impact Man blog. This Manhattanite convinced his wife and daughter to live for one year with no net impact to the earth. Their story is detailed in this book and in a documentary film. Originally begun as an idea for a book, the author was so transformed by his experience that he launched the No Impact Project, which seeks to educate and engage people in lowering their impact.

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