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Advice on health and home from NRDC's green living guru
Reduce clutter and to find things that are "New to You" this Saturday 12/15 at the The New Brighton Stop 'N' Swap. Stop 'N' Swaps recapture the energy and natural resources that are invested in products, and prevent the waste that is generated by producing, packaging and transporting new things. New York City's Office of Recycling Outreach and Education has facilitated forty Stop 'N' Swaps over five years serving 9,000 New Yorkers. Everything is free at the Stop 'N' Swap
In my Maine hometown of Cape Elizabeth, we still cart our own trash & stuff to ”the dump” although not many of us call it that anymore. When I was a kid, it was a big dirt circle with a very deep dropoff on the outside, to which we'd back up our vehicle and throw the bags of trash as far as we could. A man who raised pigs came to collect the contents of our little garbage can - not on any schedule. Today we compost our garbage to grow flowers and food. The Dump has been renamed the Transfer Station, and there's a tiny building where we dump our trash bags. Before we reach that, on the other side of the traffic stream, are huge shipping containers labeled and sectioned into specific recyclables. Sound good? We also have an area where we drop off our raked leaves, grass trimmings, cleared earth, Christmas trees and whatever breaks down into a long (supervised) dragon that becomes mountains of compost. We have sections for everything from used car oil to furniture. No more landfill. At the end of the loop are the donation containers for Goodwill and the Salvation Army, and then the best place of all - The Swap Shop! A long, low building divided into two sections: the library, and mini-sections of anything you could ever need. Cape Elizabeth is a wealthy town; the pickin's are generally pricey name brands in great condition. And residents all chip in to keep the books in library order, the magazines in piles, the toys sorted with room to try the ride-upons - and all the yard machines, tools, and exercise equipment near the big garage doors so a person can give 'em a try. Sometimes people load their vehicle with things someone else wanted - to get it all to their home at once. Nice people. There's a bit of a festive air, lots of neighborliness, and it's THE place to hear all the town news. I miss it terribly, our Transfer Station. Now we pay a company to send a man to drive a truck down our alley once a week and mechanically empty the tall plastic bins of trash and recycling into his truck with a pneumatic steel arm. He doesn't even wave. It's efficient... but this city needs a Transfer Station.