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LadiesMensa and I were talking earlier today over tea and coffee about how we can decrease our garbage output and came up with 10 Points of Redemption. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

  1. Join the Park Slope Co-Op. I went in the Park Slope Co-Op Sunday for the first time and was very interested in what they sold and how economically priced everything was. Cheap really. My friend let me know the deal. There is a $25 joining fee and a Member Investment of $100. It is refundable if you decide to leave. You have to do one shift a month and you’re a member. Their site is great. The have a daily produce list which includes each item’s price, where it was grown, and the farm’s growing practices.
  2. Next, all produce we buy must not be packaged and to buy things in season and local when possible. We are the new owners of the ECOBAGS® Organic Cloth Produce Bag. It’s great, but we need at least 2 more, maybe net
  3. Stop and think pre-purchase. Be creative. Meaning we always think we need something and then we go and get it… Other times we walk around our palace and find amazing things we can use instead. We get creative. We need to do that more often.
  4. Know the environmental impact of everything we purchase. Yeah seriously. I mean is it really that hard to find out on this thing called a computer every minute detail about anything in the known universe? Number 4 will only stop impulse buying, which is probably a good thing.
  5. Can we do candles somehow? I guess tea lights are out of the game as each one includes a metal base you just add to landfills when done. Then of course here we go again with the petroleum. I mean how is it we can consume toxins everyday, even our zen mood making candles are killing us! The problem is candle wax is generally made from paraffin wax. Burning a paraffin wax candle is much the same as allowing a diesel truck to idle in your livingroom. Paraffin wax contains a noxious mix of carcinogenic petro-carbon that not only affects your health, but blackens the inside of your home, and emits toxic chemicals like benzene and toluene. Petroleum as we all know is not what you would call renewable either.  Don’t worry everyone I did some research on alternatives and it seems pure soy candles and beeswax candles are the work around. I was in Wilmington, NC this weekend and discovered this great store called, The Old Wilmington Candle Company. They sell all types (except tea lights) of 100% soy based candles. I had heard that soy candles often contain a bit of paraffin wax, the gentleman who worked there explained that it is true some soy candles do contain paraffin wax, but theirs do not. Just be aware to check your labels or ask before buying. We bought Miss Sarah’s Rose Garden, which smells fantastical!!! Sidenote at The Old Wilmington Candle Company they also make all their candles on site. That’s cool.
  6. Soap without packaging. That is an easy one. You can find bulk un-packaged soap almost anywhere. We will start using said package free soap and get back to you on what we think!!! Maybe we’ll even make our own soap…and then blog about it. ;]
  7. Bulk vinegar. We use vinegar and water to clean almost everything (check this out), so we thought it would be a good idea to buy it in bulk. In doing research it seems that some white vinegars use petroleum as a starter (it’s used to create alcohol, which is then oxidized with bacteria to convert the alcohol to vinegar). It seems that was the case “back in the day”, but now a days companies seem to use corn and apples as their starters, but you should check first to be safe. Even though it is for cleaning and not consuming it is still toxic to you and the world. I have reached out to a few places to see if we can buy it in bulk (filling our own container), but have yet to hear back. Will let you all know when I find any spot.
  8. Glass over plastic. This is an easy one. If there is a choice buy glass even if it is more expensive. You can use the glass for storage, like to keep your dry foods in, loose tea, etc.
  9. Closest compost. It is important to not waste when unnecessary, so why not turn your food waste into compost? Sundays at Cortelyou Green Market is the closest to us. What about you? If you are in New York and want to see which farmer’s market does composting go here.
  10. What’s recyclable. We live in NYC, so if you do to check out NYC.Gov. Here’s the breakdown:

What and How to Recycle with Sanitation:PAPER & CARDBOARD

newspapers, magazines, catalogs white and colored paper (lined, copier, computer, staples OK) mail and envelopes (any color, window envelopes OK) paper bags, wrapping paper, soft-cover books, telephone books (paperbacks, comics, etc.; no spiral bindings), cardboard egg cartons and trays, smooth cardboard (food and shoes boxes, tubes, file folders, cardboard from product  packaging), corrugated cardboard boxes (flattened and tied)

Place all paper recyclables together in CLEAR bags, or in any bin labeled with GREEN recycling decals or marked “MIXED PAPER”. Or place in the white dumpster for paper recycling, if your building has one.) Flatten and bundle large pieces of corrugated cardboard and tie with sturdy twine, or break into small pieces to place in your recycling bin or bag. (Or place loose in the white dumpster for paper recycling, if your building has one.)

See how you can reduce your junk mail.

Don’t include the following with your paper recycling (see why):

hardcover books, napkins, paper towels, or tissues, soiled paper cups or plates, paper soiled with food or liquid paper with a lot of tape and glue, plastic- or wax-coated paper (candy wrappers, take-out containers, etc.) photographic paper

BEVERAGE CARTONS, BOTTLES, CANS, METAL & FOIL

  • milk cartons & juice boxes (or any such cartons and aseptic packaging for drinks: ice tea, soy milk, soup, etc.)
  • plastic bottles & jugs only
  • glass bottles & jars only
  • metal cans (soup, pet food, empty aerosol cans, dried-out paint cans, etc.)
  • aluminum foil wrap & trays
  • household metal (wire hangers, pots, tools, curtain rods, knives, small appliances that are mostly metal, certain vehicle license plates, etc.)
  • bulk metal (large metal items, such as furniture, cabinets, large appliances, etc.)

Empty and rinse containers before recycling. Place all together in CLEAR bags, or in any bin labeled with BLUE recycling decals or marked “BOTTLES & CANS”.

Remove caps & lids. Place METAL caps & lids in the recycling bin; put plastic caps & lids in the garbage.

Wrap knives or similar sharp metal objects in cardboard (such as a piece of cereal box) and secure with tape. Label the package “CAUTION: SHARP” and place with other designated metal, glass, plastic recyclables. For Home Sharps/Hypodermics, see Household Medical Wastes.

Place bulk metal next to recycling bins or bags.

Call 311 before discarding appliances that contain CFC gas.

5¢ deposit: Bring deposit bottles and cans back to the store for refunds.

Don’t include the following with your bottle and can recycling:

If item is in good condition, see reuse it nyc for reuse options.

What and How to Recycle: BULKY ITEMS

Furniture and appliances that are predominantly metal and are too big for your recycling container or clear bag (such as washing machines, metal filing cabinets, box springs, or water heaters) should be placed beside the recycling container on your regular Recycling Day.

Before discarding appliances containing CFC gas or freon  (such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, or dehumidifiers), you must schedule an appointment to place the item at the curb for CFC recovery. You can make an appointment on the Sanitation website or call 311. For safety reasons, the law requires doors to be removed from refrigerators and freezers before placing at the curb.

Non-recyclable trash that is too big for your garbage container or bag (such as mattresses, lumber, or debris from small construction or garden projects) may be placed at the curb on any regular garbage collection day.

The Department of Sanitation will collect up to six bulk items from one address. For more information, see bulk collection on the DSNY website. There are special regulations for wood from trees and for mattresses.

For info on how to handle TVs and other broken electronics, see electronics recycling.

For info on how to donate reusable furniture and other goods, visit NYC Stuff Exchange.

Let’s do this.

-Mushpa