What Can You Do?

What can you do?

"Being" and "doing" green only takes some thought and planning, and the rewards are twofold, economically for you and environmentally for Mother Earth.   In this space we will show some of the things that you can do to achieve benefits in both categories.  Keep watching because more will be added from time to time.
 
Bags

Bring reusable bags to the supermarket to carry your groceries home. Keep them in your car and include them on the top of your shopping list!

 

You...
Mother Earth
You can earn a rebate from the store.

Each year Americans go through 100 billion plastic shopping bags -- that's 12 million barrels of oil.

 
Food Miles


How far does your food travel? Estimates on how long the average food travels from pasture to plate range from 1,200 to 2,500 miles. Check the state and country of origin before you buy, better yet, whenever possible, buy perishables from local markets.  See Resources section for local farms.

You...
Mother Earth

You will have fresher, healthier, and tastier food and will help our local farmers thrive.

Buying local food reduces energy consumption expended when freezing, refrigerating, and transporting that food around.


Easy Car Care

Keep your tires properly inflated to the proper pressure by checking them regularly when you fill up at the gas station. Some new cars have an indicator light to remind you when you need to check your tires.

You... Mother Earth

will be increasing your fuel economy and extending the life of your rubber, which means more cash in your pocket. For every three pounds that your tires are below their recommended pressure, your fuel economy drops one percent.

Increased fuel economy means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

 
Control the Temperature

Having a thermostat that automatically turns the heat down while you're asleep or away from home significantly reduces energy use. Similar savings can be achieved by turning the thermostat up when cooling your house.

You... Mother Earth

probably won’t notice the difference, but your fuel and electric bills will.

 

Setting the temperature to 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees overnight, for example, can cut energy consumption by 10%.

 
There are FIVE “Rs” to Remember:  Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reclaim!
  1. Refuse - When you purchase an item, try to buy the one with the least amount of packaging. Less to use in the other four ‘Rs”.
  2. Reduce - Don’t buy things you don’t need.
  3. Reuse - When you have finished with a commodity, pass it along to someone else, donate to charity, swap with a neighbor, or see the story (new from old) at the end of this section.
  4. Recycle - Follow the guidelines from Westchester County and the Town of Cortlandt.  (See resources)  In the past few years the world has found many ways make new materials out of what we used to send to landfills, etc.
  5. Reclaim – composting is a great way to use what nature has given us.  If you can set up a composting site for yourself, see if your neighbors will add to it in exchange for some composted materials for their plants, grass and vegetable gardens.
NEW FROM OLD: A true story!
By Sue McDonnell

Last spring it was evident that I would have to replace my deck soon. I decided to do it with a new material that looks like wood but is made from recycled plastic bags. What to do with the old wood that was still good? I advertised it on a website just developed for the purpose of reclaiming things that would other wise be destroyed.

Someone from lower Westchester was delighted to take my wood.

Recently he sent me pictures of what he had done with the wood.

Savings Mother Earth

I saved on not having to have the material carted away. He saved money on the cost of wood.   

If it had been carted away it might have been burned, crushed or otherwise made unusable. To make his projects would have required cutting down more trees, cutting them to size, transporting them by truck. So, savings all around!

There are several websites that can help you dispose of unwanted materials in an environmentally friendly way:

Freecycle
Furniture Sharehouse - Westchester's Furniture Bank
Westchester County Treasure Hunt
See RESOURCES for more links...


RECYCLING- IT’S THE LAW

Recycle means any method, technique or process utilized to separate, process, modify, convert, treat or otherwise prepare solid waste so that its component materials or substances may be beneficially used or reused.          

What Can be Recycled

NEWSPRINT: Newspapers as purchased, including any glossy inserts.

 

PAPER: Includes high quality paper such as letterhead, copier paper, typing paper, tablet sheets, computer printout paper, and all paper of similar quality

Does not include: carbon paper, self-carbonizing paper, coated or glossy paper, envelopes with windows or adhesive labels.

*Residential waste generators are permitted to commingle high-grade paper with newsprint; however, non-residential waste generators are required to separate high-grade paper from newsprint.

CARDBOARD: Including corrugated cardboard containers, which must be cleaned of excessive amounts of contaminants such as adhesives, metals and plastics; cereal boxes, tissue boxes, paper towel rolls or any other non-corrugated materials made from cardboard. 

GLASS: Clear, Green or (brown) color, used to store food or beverages only, which must be emptied and rinsed clean.

Does not include ceramics, window or automobile glass, mirrors and light bulbs. CFL lightbulbs can be taken to Home Depot (look for a bin for disposal near the entrance.)

PLASTICS: All HDPE or PET type plastics coded 1 or 2, including food, beverage, detergent and shampoo containers, which should be emptied and rinsed clean.

Does not Include all plastic film, plastic bags, vinyl, rigid plastic (e.g., toys) and plastic foam materials, (Styrofoam).

METALS: All metal and non-metal food and beverage containers, including steel, aluminum and bimetal, which shall be empty and rinsed clean.

Does not include; Bulk metals: Call the DES Sanitation Division (914) 737-0100.

Yard Waste

Leaves, collected during the spring and fall only.
Must be in brown paper bags.
Blackplastic bags will no longer be accepted.

ELECTRONICS: If it has a plug: Take to the DES Sanitation Division, Roa Hook Road, Thursdays from 1 to 3 pm, except July and August, 12 noon to 2 pm.

BATTERIES: Vehicular batteries: Lead-acid batteries used in automobiles and heavy equipment take to store where purchased. Household batteries (e.g., for flashlights, radios, cameras, etc.) these can be disposed of with your garbage. 

USED MOTOR OIL: The type used in gasoline and diesel vehicle and equipment engines, delivered in an uncontaminated container. DO NOT POUR DOWN A DRAIN. Take to a gas station.

DO NOT INCLUDE C&D MATERIALS
C & D Definition:

“Construction and demolition debris or (C&D) means uncontaminated solid waste resulting from the construction, remodeling, repair and demolition of structures and roads, and uncontaminated solid waste consisting of vegetation resulting from land clearing and grubbing, utility line maintenance and seasonal and storm-related cleanup. Such waste includes, but is not limited to, bricks, concrete and other masonry materials, soil, rock, wood, wall coverings, plaster, drywall, plumbing fixtures, non-asbestos insulation, roofing shingles, asphaltic pavement, glass, plastics that are not sealed in a manner that conceals other wastes, electrical wiring and components containing no hazardous liquids, and metals that are incidental to any of the above.”

For More Information, consult your combined Sanitation/Recreation brochure or click on www.townofcortlandt.com, or call (914) 737-0100.

JOIN US!

The Sustainable Cortlandt Citizen’s Committee (SCCC) is open to new members who wish to protect the environment. If you would like to participate in Keeping Cortlandt Green or have any ideas to share, email us at:  greencortlandt@townofcortlandt.com