dual stream recycling


This past Saturday the 29th, I had the pleasure of attending the town of Bedford's Environmental Action Day. When I say "pleasure", it's really an understatement. It was incredible to be in the same building with hundreds of environmental professionals, and over 700 interested supporters. When I finally left at 3:30, my brain was swimming with thoughts about how progressive Bedford's recycling services are, the message I had heard over and over about how important and effective local action is, and the statistics on job creation from reuse/recycling I'd heard. And a lot more inspiration!

 Bedford 2020 Coalition's mission is to lead, organize and promote a community wide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020. They are the first town to work towards this goal, with 13 other towns in Westchester County following suit after Bedford's pilot project proves to be successful. The event kicked off the Energize Bedford initiative,  a "Recovery Act-funded program that will work with the Town of Bedford and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to provide energy efficiency improvements to 150 homes in Bedford in 2011 and 1,500 homes across Northern Westchester by 2013."  More information can be found on the Energize Bedford site.


With workshops running throughout the day (18 total to choose from), I scarcely had enough time to decide which booths at the expo to drop by. I started with Rock the Reactors (a group opposed to the relicensing of the Indian Point power plant) intrigued by the LED light display and chatted with Remy Chevalier of the Green Nuclear Butterfly blog. He showed me the new Philips LED bulb called the EnduraLED that lasts 25,000 hours that will save consumers and businesses $120 in electricity costs over its lifetime (and only use 12 watts of power)! According to Remy, LED lighting can bring about a 20% decrease in energy used. I also learned about the Green Guru Guide book series by Seth Leitman, the Green Living Guy, who I've heard quite a bit about.Check out his book on Green Lighting if this sort of thing interests you!


I stopped by the Riverkeeper booth and chatted with Volunteer Coordinator Emily, who's planning a slew of events. I'm looking forward to helping at their August cleanup at the Piermont Marsh...last year, volunteers removed between 10,000-25,000 pounds of trash from the Marsh! Check them out Riverkeeper.org!


I attended workshops for the rest of the day, and took great notes straight from the experts. The  workshop that was right up my alley was Trash 101.


Here's the headlines that caught my attention:

  • The US accounts for 5% of the world's population, and consumes 35% of the world's resources.
  • Waste is a $40 billion per year industry.
  • The Westchester County rate of recycling is at 61% (Dutchess County is 4%, and the rest of the US is 33%).
  • On June 1st, Bedford will have a new dual-stream facility that will process plastics 1-7! And, they're making a sizable revenue by recycling. It sounds like what they're doing is really working.


Bedford has some other smart services that I wish more towns around here would get. They have e-waste collection days, and are building a permanent facility at the Grassland Campus to collect electronic waste, white goods (refrigerators, washers, etc) and chemicals. They have a drop off recycling center for all plastics/papers/metal (it processes 550 tons/yr), a compost facility that saves the town $100K per year, and a rock crushing facility that crushes rock for fill @10 tons per year. They also have a recycling helpline at 813-5425 if you have any questions about what to bring where. Finally, they've got inspectors to check out the facilities & recycling trucks, and they fine wherever necessary. With their 277 cases last year, they made $31k and made sure that all the material ended up in the right place. Great work, Bedford! I hope other parts of New York state will follow in your big footsteps.

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