Tag Archives: Recycling

Roundup: ALS, Wine Corks …

 

=======================================================

MoCA Westport is very punny. The art space on Newtown Turnpike says:

“Bark your calendar to join other canines and their companions to sniff and schmooze at MoCA Westport’s New Yappy Hour! Our new community event will take place on the 1st Thursday of every month, from June – September.

“Haute hounds can lap up libations, thanks to water in their favorite flavor – bacon, chicken, beef or vegan – while human guests relax with a glass of Mutt Lynch Unleashed Chardonnay, Merlot Over and Play Dead, Chateau d’Og Cabernet Sauvignon or a refreshing cocktail featuring tequila, vodka, or gin. Beer selections are also available for purchase.”

MoCA members (and dogs) receive their first drink free — and other benefits.

Admission is free and open to the public. No reservation required. For more information, click here.

=======================================================

Last September, “06880” reported on Jon Maddock’s battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

May is ALS Awareness Month. His sister Judy reports that nearly 3 years after his diagnosis, the 1973 Staples High School graduate is participating in a platform drug trial at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Jon remains positive, knowing eventually drugs will slow ALS down to manageable, and someday a cure,” Judy says. “He is trying to be around when that happens. He and his family expect to be a part of that future. He’s doing his part to help find a cure.”

You can help too. Just click here to donate.

Jon Maddock in 2019. September 2019. The armband covered a PICC line used for infusions.

=====================================================

Isabelle Breen writes:

“My friend Katie Augustyn told me pre-COVID that she collects corks to recycle in Stamford. I started to collect them to add my stash to hers, then thought nothing more about it.

“With all the wine consumption in Westport, there are surely lots of corks. I wonder how to put out the word that Westport would benefit from having its own collection partners. Maybe a liquor store wants to take this project on?

“There is a shipping cost to the partner, but perhaps they could collect a nominal fee ($1) with each bag dropped off to defray their cost.

“Westport’s composting program has taken off remarkably well. This could be  another successful step toward helping our environment.”

Any takers? If you’re interested in this idea, click “Comments” below.

======================================================

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo #1 : an Earthplace duck….

(Photo/Abby Gordon-Tolan)

… and #2: 5-day-old robin fledglings:

(Photo/Betty Auber)

=====================================================

And finally … Mary Wells was born today in 1943. She died in 1992, at 49, of cancer. Her longtime friend and former collaborator, Smokey Robinson, delivered a eulogy.

Roundup: Recycling, GFA Graduation, Chocolate, More

==================================================

Business travel is way down. So we don’t see lines of drivers waiting with signs at airports, picking up executives.

Instead we’ve got lines of parents waiting at elementary schools, picking up children. All they need are signs.

This was the scene the other day at Saugatuck. The line of cars extended beyond Assumption Church.

(Photo/Felicia Sale)

=======================================================

Leigh Gage writes: “Has anyone else noticed trash and recycling trucks at the transfer center backing up to dump trash mixed with recycling into the dumpster?

“The sound of glass breaking drew my attention to several trucks dumping everything into the closest dumpster. An attendant said that whatever people leave out for pickup gets dumped together.

“Residents: {lease don’t put both garbage and recycling out on the same day.

“And refuse companies: Please instruct your drivers to not pick up recycling except on the day it’s supposed to be picked up.

“I wonder if residents sign up for once a week service to save money, then put recycling out with the garbage.”

=====================================================

It’s mid-February, so at Greens Farms Academy they’re getting ready for … graduation.

The private school on Beachside Avenue has announced its speakers. Wes Moore will deliver the commencement address on June 10. The night before, Mike Greenberg keynotes GFA’s first-ever baccalaureate.

Moore is the CEO of the the poverty-fighting foundation Robin Hood, best-selling author, combat veteran, White House fellow and social entrepreneur. His story is uplifting and inspiring.

Westport resident Mike Greenberg is the host of ESPN’s morning show “Get Up!,” a GFA trustee and (most importantly) the father graduating senior Stephen and alumna Nikki. A member of 2 Halls of Fame and an author of 5 best-sellers, he and his wife Stacy donate all proceeds to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

GFA’s graduation should be one for the books.

And for the public. After the event, the school will post Moore’s speech on their website.

Mike Greenberg

=======================================================

This Valentine’s weekend — actually, all month — Le Rouge by Aarti’s “Give a Little Love” campaign continues.

10% of all February sales will be donated to local food banks. It’s one more way Westport’s favorite chocolatier helps those in need.

Stop by the 190 Main Street store — or browse online, and request curbside pickup, delivery or shipping. Sweeeeeet!

=====================================================

Adam Stolpen reminds us that yesterday was Tina Louise’s 87th birthday.

Ginger — the last surviving member of the “Gilligan’s Island” castaways — lived with her mother, Betty Meyers, at 19 Bluewater Hill.

Adam knows that factoid because his family moved in there in 1959, when Tina’s family moved out. 

But that still doesn’t answer the question: Why did all the castaways have so many different clothes, when all they were planning was go on a 3-hour tour?

Tina Louise, then and now.

=======================================================

And finally … Americans used to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, and George Washington’s 10 days later. Now, both have been rolled into “Presidents Day.” The 2 giants share the day with the likes of William Henry Harrison, Warren Harding and Donald Trump. Ah, progress!

Composting And Cutting Food Waste: What Westport Needs To Know

COVID-19 has brought changes to Westporters’ relationships with food.

Supermarkets look and feel different. Some people avoid shopping inside altogether. More than we know rely on free food sources.

Few people, however, realize that 20% of Connecticut’s residential trash is food waste. Sustainable Westport challenges all residents to decrease that amount. Pippa Bell Ader offers these thoughts:

Start by getting to know the food you waste, and how to make the most of the food you have. Compost leftover food scraps, either at home, by paying a hauler to pick up your scraps, or trying the new, free food scraps recycling drop-off area at the transfer station beginning July 6.

Also, consider helping out with food rescue for those who are food insecure.

Webinars provide information on how to do all of this. The Westport Library, Earthplace and Sustainable Westport have partnered to inform the community about the Zero Food Waste Challenge. They include:

  • Eat More with Less (June 10, 4 p.m.)
    Learn about changes to make in planning  and preparing meals, and preserving food. Bridgeport-based Chef Raquel, a cooking educator and caterer, will guide participants through practical and actionable food tips and tricks.
  • Composting Basics with Alice Ely, master composter (June 15, 3 p.m.)
    To turn over a new leaf and decrease food waste, turn over some compost. Learn how to save water, reduce pollution and improve your garden, by making “black gold” at home.
  • Town of Westport Food Scraps Recycling (June 17, 3 p.m.) All you need to know about this new, free program. Find out what can and can’t be recycled.

Click here to register. (Webinars will also be recorded, and available later at www.sustainablewestport.org.)

Backyard composting is great. But if you lack the time, resources or energy to dispose of food scraps that way, you can still do your part for the environment.

On July 6, Westport launches a food scrap recycling program at the transfer station at 300 Sherwood Island Connector. All food scraps and some more will be welcome: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, bread, rice, pasta, raw and cooked food, cut flowers, coffee grounds (and paper filters), paper tea bags, napkins, paper towels, wax paper and more. Click here and scroll down for a complete list.

Just collect food scraps and other items. (No tissues, please).Bring them in a lidded transportation bin to the transfer station’s specially marked “food scrap drop-off area.”

From the transfer station, material is taken to a commercial composting facility, where it’s turned into compost.

“Starter kits” are not required, but they make it easy. They include a countertop pail, storage and transportation bin, and compostable bags. A kit costs $25 (income-eligible discounts available), and can be picked up at Earthplace.

To order a kit, email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org (put “Starter Kit” in the subject heading), or call 203-293-6320 and leave a message.

Home composting kit.

The transfer station is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 12 noon. Try to avoid drop-off on Saturdays and Mondays, the busiest times at the station.

Questions about any aspect of the Zero Food Waste Challenge? Click here, or email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org

[OPINION] Eggs Cartons, Over Easy

Alert “06880” reader/ardent preservationist Bob Weingarten has been thinking about recycling — not just old homes, but egg cartons. He writes:

Whenever I go to a Westport supermarket to buy eggs, I see 3 different methods to packaging. (The exception is Trader Joe’s, which only sells eggs in cardboard cartons.)

Eggs are packaged in either Styrofoam, plastic with a paper advertisement on top, or cardboard cartons. Prices range from about $2.29 to over $6. Cardboard packaged eggs are the least expensive.

But that’s not the issue.

I’m concerned about the type of packaging used for eggs. Styrofoam and plastic cartons are non-recyclable; cardboard cartons can be recycled. Non-recyclable waste is a big — and costly — issue.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

I talked with RTM members Dick Lowenstein and Andrew Colabella. Andrew said that enforcing a town ordinance to restrict egg carton packaging is not possible. A packaging ordinance can only be enforced if the eggs were packaged on town premises.

I believe we need to do something.  There are 3 alternatives.

  1. Enact a town ordinance. I think this is possible. Westport passed an ordinance banning plastic bags, although they were not created in Westport.
  2. Encourage residence to only purchase eggs in cardboard cartons.  I switched to cardboard recently, and have no problems with the eggs. After using all the eggs, I recycle the cardboard carton. Very easy!
  3. Encourage our supermarkets to only sell eggs in a cardboard carton, as Trader Joe’s has done.

The use of cardboard cartons does not affect the taste of eggs. But it does reduce the amount of waste we place in landfills, and saves the town money for waste disposal.

Recycling The Beach

Alert “06880” reader/concerned environmentalist Amy Berkin — a Weston resident who loves Compo Beach, and often picks up straws, bottle caps, candy wrappers and other trash on her early morning visits — writes:

I’ve always wondered why there are so few recycling receptacles at Compo — especially given how many people I see throwing plastic into the trash.

I usually try to bring my plastic home with me to recycle. It seems wrong sitting looking out at the water, knowing that’s where so much plastic winds up.

The other night, I asked someone who was collecting the black trash bags from the receptacles why we don’t recycle at the beach. He explained that the town has never provided clear plastic bags, which are required for recycle collection.

Compo Beach receptacle (Photo/Amy Berkin)

Even though there are a few recycle bins at the beach, it all goes into the same fill because the collection bags are not clear. The town collectors don’t have the manpower to separate the trash (nor should they have to, in my opinion).

I think the general population is conscious enough about the need to recycle. Can’t the town supply clear bags?!

I asked Parks & Recreation Department director Jennifer Fava about this. She replied:

The issue is not about whether or not there are clear bags. The issue is that in public places it is very difficult to actually have separate recycling, as once the bin is contaminated the contents can no longer be recycled. This can occur with just one ice cream wrapper, one used food wrapper, plate, etc.

US Cities Stop Recycling. What Will Westport Do?

On Sunday, the New York Times published a front-page story:”As Costs Skyrocket, More US Cities Stop Recycling.”

It turns out that because China — our former number one customer — no longer accepts used plastic and paper, because it’s mixed with too much other trash, towns and cities across our country have seen collection bills rise steeply. The result: They’ve ended their programs, or now burn or bury more waste.

Many readers’ first thought was: “Holy smoke!” 

Their second was: “I wonder what my community is doing?”

To find out the 06880 answer, I contacted 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. He responded:

Pete Ratkiewich, our Public Works director, has been addressing this issue for several years.

The situation described in the Times article is also a reality here in Westport. In the recent past, international companies would buy US recyclables for reuse and repurpose abroad. As such, the town of Westport received compensation for its recyclable materials.

Recycling takes place all around Westport. This is the Farmers’ Market.

In 2018, China determined that US recyclables are too “contaminated” to be reused or repurposed, so that market has since ceased to exist (as well as in other countries such as India). So what was once a revenue generator here in Westport is now a cost to us.

The good news is that the town’s focus on recycling for several decades has “trained” all of us to think about what should be recycled and how best to do it.  Many of us still have and use our blue bins.

Up to the end of the fiscal year that ended July 2018, the town of Westport was realizing revenue from our recycling programs. But the cumulative cost effect for this fiscal year, and the next one we are budgeting for, is a total of $300,000.

We saw this coming, and have actively pursued alternative approaches along with a number of neighboring communities. Westport is in a consortium with approximately 14 other communities called the Greater Bridgeport Regional Recycling Interlocal Committee.

The GBRRIC — also called “the Interlocal” — aggregates all of our municipal recyclables, thereby increasing our purchasing power with private haulers. The GBRRIC recently negotiated a contract with Oak Ridge Waste and Recycling, and determined that the GBRRIC cost of recycling is now $75 per ton. As recently as 2017, that same recycling yielded a revenue of $25 per ton.

Annually, Westport residents generate 3,300 tons of recyclable waste. The total trash generated is approximately 10,000 tons from residents and 6,000 tons from commercial entities.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection sets guidelines on what materials should be recycled. We believe that glass products should be removed from the list of recyclables and set aside from the other materials, given their high level of contaminants. We have found that glass has become one of the most frequently rejected recycled commodities for that reason, and also a major contributor to our tonnage total.

Our Green Task Force, currently being rebranded as “Sustainable Westport,” is leading the charge to find alternate solutions that either cut our recycling expenses, or reduce the amount of waste that gets generated here in Westport.  Efforts underway include a composting program at Greens Farms Elementary School, which will roll out to other schools and hopefully other entities as the pilot proves the value of composting.

Also, we plan to lobby the state to allow glass to be placed in a separate recycling stream, and to change related recycling regulations.

The immediate challenge is that the Town’s fiscal year 2020 budget will need to reflect the increased cost of the recycling process.

Pic Of The Day #423

The Westport Farmers’ Market strongly supports sustainable agriculture.

But its commitment to the environment extends beyond “grow and eat local.”

At the Market today, silverware replaced plastic utensils. One fork, knife or spoon can be used over and over, thousands of times.

Prominent signs pointed the way — and educated market-goers on the importance of recycling.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Westport’s Newest Recycling Effort

Spotted this weekend on Main Street, outside Oscar’s:

Recycling

Westport is all about recycling. But there must be a classier way to encourage it.

Transfer Station Blues

An alert “06880” reader — who wishes to remain anonymous, as will soon be clear — sent along these thoughts, after a trip to the transfer station:

So off I go to the dump with my garbage and recycles.

Today a new sign (I’ve been out of town] greets me: “NO PLASTIC BAGS.”

But all my recycles are securely bound in white plastic bags. Everything has been washed out pretty good, though there is still a bit of liquid in the bags. I guess I should rip them open (they never untie) and dump them into the pods, right?

Then take the plastic bags and put them in the green garbage can. Try not to get anything on my clothes. You know how those plastic bags like to cling to other plastics. Gotta do a shake and shake and shake. Very, very messy.

Look, they even have steps for me.

But alas, the steps lead to a closed door. I’ll go to another one.

Damn, same thing.

Oh well, I’ll keep going. Whoops, these steps are so far away I’ll have to take each item out and throw them in piece by piece.

These steps are a bit far...

Finally, steps that lead to a nearby open door. I can shake here for 15 minutes.

I wonder if all the trash collectors have to rip open every plastic bags they collect before they dump them. OMG, what a task. No way.

A non-environmental thought crosses my mind: Throw everything into the garbage pit like we did in the good old days.

Unwanted Phone Books: The Sequel

From time to time, “06880” has bitched about reported on the obnoxious tradition of dumping phone books next to mailboxes, where they often sit seemingly forever.

Eventually, they’re picked up.  Then it becomes our job to dispose of them.  When was the last time you used the yellow pages?  Or called someone’s land line?

The more environmentally conscious Westporters try to recycle their unwanted phone books.  The other day, “06880” reader JoAnn Davidson drove to the transfer station, with 10 soggy phone books that sat by her condo mailboxes for at least 2 weeks.

Here’s what she saw:

How these puppies will be recycled is anyone’s guess.