NYLCVEF’s Spring Green Tips

| March 22, 2024

By Peter Aronson

February was the hottest on record, following January, which was the hottest January on record. And this followed the year 2023, which went into the record books as the hottest year since global record keeping began in 1850.

With this relentless and ominous global warming upon us, and the summer and wildfire season in front of us, it’s worth remembering that we all, collectively, can make a difference if we put our minds to it.

Putting our minds to it involves breaking old habits. We offer a few suggestions, and we firmly believe that every little bit helps. Because if everyone does a little, it could add up to a lot.

We encourage everyone to compost. By composting you are helping the environment in two important ways. You are reducing waste going to landfills, where decaying food waste breaks down and is emitted into the atmosphere as methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, and you are beginning the healthy cycle whereby composted food scraps are converted into a reusable, nutrient-rich soil supplement. 

If you  live in New York City, composting is now available throughout Brooklyn and Queens and is being rolled out in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. There are also community composting centers as well as composting bins on street corners throughout  the city. For details about your area, please visit this New York City composting info page.

If you live outside New York City and are not participating in your communities’ composting program, search online or ask local officials about the plan.

Also, with spring upon us, you might want to do some spring cleaning. This will give you a good excuse to adapt to eco-friendly cleaning methods, if you have not already done so. One Tree Planted, Eartheasy and the University of Minnesota, among other websites, have suggestions, including making the switch to all-green cleaning products and all single-use cleaning tools, opting out of all junk mail and paper financial statements, changing to non-toxic pest control solutions, and learning proper recycling rules. (Too often we recycle things we shouldn’t and don’t recycle things we could.)

This New York City website states clearly the city’s recycling rules and lists by category in a comprehensive drop-down menu (paper/cardboard, plastic, metal, etc.) what can and cannot be recycled. Did you know that old telephones and rigid plastic caps can be recycled, but cell phones, garden hoses and toothpaste tubes cannot? This article at Recycle Away also discusses the city’s rules. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a comprehensive website regarding green cleaning products, including links to information about its Safe Choice and Design for Environment programs.

If car shopping is in your spring or summer plans, please consider going electric, or at least upgrading to a hybrid or hybrid plugin.

For example, changing from a gas-run car to a hybrid plugin can double your miles per gallon from 25 to 50.

And as it gets warmer, if you use air conditioning, please keep it at 70 or higher, instead of in the 60s.

We do think every green decision helps improve our environment. Please consider making some of these modest changes this spring and summer season.

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