Sustaining Bed-Stuy:

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Recycling is catching on in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and The Hattie Carthan Community Gardens, led by urban farmer Yonnette Fleming, second from right, and The Magnolia Tree Earth Center, represented here by Nancy Wolf, far right, are leading the movement.   Last month, those community-based environmental groups partnered with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, to offer an electronic waste recycling event and 46 households participated on short notice.  “We were very pleased with the outcome,” said Christine Datz-Romero (second from left in photo), the Executive Director of the LES Ecology Center of  the Ecology Center’s  first conducting an activity in the neighborhood.  “We will be returning to spread the word about the importance of responsible disposal of outdated electronic equipment.”

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“In addition to representatives from the households, we talked to many more community residents.  We view these events also as an opportunity to inform the community about the importance of e-waste recycling and making people aware that by January 1, 2015 it will be illegal for NYC residents to dispose of their old electronics in the regular trash.”

The Ecology Center has a permanent drop-off location in Gowanus at 469 President Street (corner of Nevins St.) where items can be dropped off, Tuesdays/Thursdays/ Fridays, 10a-5p; Wednesdays, 12p-7p; and Saturdays, 10a-4p.  The Brooklyn warehouse also offers affordable priced refurbished electronics.

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Nancy Wolf (far right), founding board member of the Magnolia Tree Earth Center, informed us, “The following working and  non-working items are accepted: computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, phones, audio/visual equipment, video games, cell phones and PDAs.”

The Lower East Side Ecology Center, founded in 1987, was one of the first organizations to offer community-based recycling and composting programs in New York City.  Magnolia Tree Earth Center, founded 40 years ago, is the oldest community-based ecology-focused center in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood. The Hattie Carthan Community Garden, named for the late neighborhood ecology leader and community activist, is served by more than 40 area farmers and gardeners.

NYC Councilman Al Vann (center and in photo with children), a former teacher and a staunch supporter of Bedford Stuyvesant ecology programs, is also credited with helping create community awareness of environmental issues through the years. Photo credit: Barry L. Mason