2016 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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April 23, 2016: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The first walk of our third season!

Some clouds, a little rain, but not enough to keep us from kicking off the 2016 season with a great walk in celebration of Earth Day.

We started with a discussion of “reduce, reuse, recycle” and agreed that reducing is the first step, because it decreases the total amount of waste that needs to be reused or recycled, and reduces the amount that just ends up in the trash. The only “green” product is the product you don’t buy.

But we all have to buy some things, of course. So reusing and recycling minimize the need for buying new things. We discussed how we already do a lot on Cada Paso walks: we reuse our water bottles, we drink tap water instead of buying bottled water, we use tote bags over and over again instead of single-use plastic bags, we compost our food waste, and… we walk! Walking is the greenest way to travel.

We practiced recycling with a demonstration of what materials can and cannot be recycled. Some of the rules can be confusing, even for the most dedicated recycler. But the important thing is to try because the recycling plant will sort out the non-recyclables.

See if you know the answers to our flashcards!*

And then we walked! Our friend Katie Benn greeted us at one of our favorite gardens, Pleasant Village, to learn about composting from Greg Behl and enjoy this great community space. For information on where and how to compost in your neighborhood see here.

The chickens were a big hit and Mario made a special friend. Families signed our petition to the City Council Speaker in support of legislation to limit the use of plastic bags because of all the waste and pollution and cost the impose on the city and neighborhoods.

That was the conclusion of the “official” walk, but several of our families continued on to the Harlem RBI health fair where we were greeted by our friend Johnny Rivera.

UPDATE! The City Council has since voted to approve a 5¢ fee on plastic bags! Maybe our signatures helped!


Date: April 23, 2016
Adults: 22
Children: 20
Total: 42

Miles: 1.0 (to Pleasant Village, with extra mile to Harlem RBI for some)
Calories: 490 kcal**
Time: about 3 hours, 15 min

Co-leaders: Cappy Collins, Mario Lavelanet, Deysi Martínez, Emma Murphy
Special Guests:Saba & Daniel (see info on their youth group here), Brother Hector

*Answers to Flashcards:
Electric fan: YES
Toaster: YES
(Small appliances that are mostly plastic and metal can be put in the recycling bin, big ones on the sidewalk. Refrigerators and A/C’s need special pick-up because of the coolants: call 311 or visit nyc.gov/sanitation.)
Newspaper: YES (unless wet)
Electronics: YES (phones go back to phone stores; see here for other electronics)
Plastic food container: YES
Plastic bag made of recyclable plastic: NO!
(Even though the food container and bag could be made of exactly the same material, plastic films clog up the recycling machinery. Yet another reason not to use plastic bags!)
Wine bottle: YES
Wine glass: NO!
(Glass food and beverage containers (jars, bottles) are always recyclable; but, surprisingly, household glassware (glasses, bowls, pitchers, windows, etc.) may contain additives that contaminate the recycling process. Broken glass should be wrapped up in something to prevent injury and placed in regular trash.)
Styrofoam cup: NO! (All synthetic foams should be considered non-recyclable.)
Paper milk carton: YES (BUT—needs to go with plastics because of the plastic coating that prevents it from being processed like other paper. Same goes for any food or beverage in a “paper box”.)
Lightbulbs: NO! (Like household glassware, wrap these up to prevent injury and put in the regular trash.)
Plastic/paper flatware/cups/plates: YES (Rinse food off first! If a paper plate is too dirty, it can be composted instead!)

Check out the NYC Recycles guide for details, or see here for instructions for specific items.

“Walking, under 2.0 mph” 130lbs = 148 kcal/hr

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