By Ellen Edwards, Chair, Bronxville Green Committee
Oct. 23, 2019: On Saturday, November 2nd, the Bronxville Green Committee, with help from the Village’s Department of Public Works, will hold TAKE BACK DAY—your chance to deliver for recycling electronics, used bedding, used clothing, gently used furniture and paper to be shredded. Here’s your opportunity to dispose of these items responsibly while avoiding a trip to a county-run special waste facility.
On November 2nd, bring your items to Palumbo Place, behind Village Hall, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. For those arriving in cars or on foot, volunteers with signs will direct you to the correct entrances and “station” stops.
The Village of Bronxville works with both the county government and local organizations to distribute the items collected to ensure that they are either reused or recycled. Used bedding is taken to a Yonkers animal shelter to provide cozy beds for the animals there. Furniture Sharehouse distributes furniture to disadvantaged people in Westchester County who are referred to them by social service agencies. Click here to go to the Furniture Sharehouse website to see which items they can accept.
Vietnam Veterans of America sells the clothing they collect to raise funds to provide medical assistance to military veterans. According to a representative from the organization, donated items are sold to privately-owned thrift stores, which in turn sell the clothing to the general public.
The county provides a Mobile Shredder for paper, which helps residents fight identity theft by offering a safe way to dispose of sensitive documents. You can bring up to four file-sized boxes, and the shredded paper is recycled.
Westchester county ensures that all electronics collected for recycling in Bronxville, and in the county at large, are taken to licensed electronic waste dismantlers. They remove the data stored on them, dismantle the products, and sell the components directly to electronic manufacturers, both domestically and abroad. This process ensures that toxic elements found in electronic equipment, which can include lead, mercury, nickel, and cadmium, do not get into our food and water supplies. It also avoids our participation in the practice in which electronics are shipped to Asia and dismantled by underpaid workers in dangerous conditions. The parts are then disposed of in ways that often pollute the environment.
Since 2015, a New York state law requires that all electronic waste be kept out of the waste stream. According to Environment.westchestergov.com, electronic waste is the fastest-growing area of solid waste in the U.S. and is expected to continue to grow rapidly as more household items contain electronic components.
How are you doing with your recycling efforts at home? If you’re like me, you don’t want to “pollute” recycling bins by adding items that don’t belong there. And you may have questions.
Do you have to remove the cellophane windows of envelopes before recycling them? Yes!
Can I recycle my paper milk carton that feels like it’s covered with wax? Yes! It’s called a gable top container and is recyclable; rinse first and if you can, remove the plastic screw top and “knob” surround.)
Can I recycle plastic/foil-lined boxes such as those that contain juice, chopped tomatoes, and soup? Yes! Those are called aseptic and are recyclable; rinse them thoroughly and again, if possible, remove the plastic bits.)
Don’t put your “mixed” recyclables (plastic, glass, and metal) in plastic bags; they muck up the machinery. Just throw the items for recycling loose in the bin. And for glass and plastic recyclables, keep the tops and lids on them.
Don’t forget that you can recycle “thin” plastic bags by placing them in bins at grocery stores. Single-use plastic bags, dry cleaning bags, and newspaper sleeves can all be recycled there. Or, better yet, avoid plastic by bringing your canvas bags for groceries, and lightweight cloth bags for produce, when you go food shopping.
For more information, click on these links:
zerowastewestchester.org, a source of detailed information provided by the nonprofit Sustainable Westchester, and
environment.westchestergov.com which has information about the county’s Recycle Right campaign.
The county-run Recycling Hotline number is 914-813-5425. And as a last resort, when in doubt, throw it out.
Consider, too, what steps you might take to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Have you considered switching to brands that use less packaging? Are you ready to try collecting your food scraps and composting them in a compost bin in your yard? Or would you support a food scrap collection initiative in the village?
According to Westchester County’s 2018 report on recycling, available on their website, the county’s overall residential recycling rate is 53%. All the waste we do not recycle is trucked 30 miles north to a facility in Peekskill, where it is burned. That takes a toll on our local environment. Surely, we can do better! Why not begin by making Take Back Day on November 2nd, our most successful ever.
Photo courtesy Mary Liz Mulligan
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.