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How One Person’s Rags Become Someone Else’s Pillow Stuffing

Written by Susan Weeks and Amy Dunkin

What do you do with your family’s stained t-shirts, torn bed sheets, worn towels, socks with holes, and that collection of stuffed animals that has seen better days? Short of ripping up old textiles for rags that wind up clogging your closets, most people just toss them in the trash.

Now there’s another solution. Pelhamites can bring their unwanted textiles to a new recycling bin in the parking lot of the Community Church of the Pelhams on the corner of Washington and Highbrook Avenues next to the train tracks. Anything made of fiber can go into the pile. Even old leather shoes and handbags, soccer balls, toys, and baseball helmets are welcome.

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Try Reducing and Reusing Before Recycling

Written by Amy Dunkin and David Brown

In our desire to be responsible citizens of the Earth, individuals and institutions have put a lot of energy into recycling.  It’s more than just mental and physical energy, but also the kind that expends natural resources.

Recycling is an admirable answer to the growing problem of managing the waste of human consumption.  But it is only a partial solution; the truth is that recycling leaves its own carbon footprint.  Gas and electricity are consumed and pollution is created to cart away paper, plastics, and metals and repurpose them into new, usable products.

In the three R’s of environmental sustainability, “Recycling” is actually third in line.  It’s always better to “Reduce” and “Reuse” first.

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Written by Susan Weeks and Amy Dunkin

The Pelham school district is determined to reduce the volume of waste coming out of its lunchrooms and classrooms, and it is working with EcoPel, the Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams, to achieve that goal.

An alliance between the two groups formed last year when EcoPel set out to learn about the recycling practices in the public schools. An initial meeting between EcoPel President Sydney MacInnis, Superintendent Peter Giarrizzo, and Director of Facilities Anthony Mandile took place in June, and they have continued to get together regularly ever since.

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Healthy Planet

You’re probably familiar with the concept of Meatless Monday, whether or not you practice it in your family. The habit of going vegetarian at the start of each week has been gaining momentum in homes, restaurants, businesses, and schools ever since a marketing maven named Sid Lerner got the idea to promote Meatless Monday as public health-awareness campaign in 2003.

We at EcoPel, the Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams, believe there are many reasons to favor a plant-based diet on Mondays and all other days, and we discuss them at least twice a year during the Healthy Planet Potluck community dinners we sponsor in the fall and spring.

In case you missed the most recent Healthy Planet dinner on Nov. 7th, we’d like to review some of the health and environmental justifications for eschewing meat.

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The Case for “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em”

In mid-October, the leaves of Pelham will start changing to their magnificent fall colors. By the end of the month, they’ll be through with their showy display and come raining down from the trees onto our yards.

How quickly they turn from nature’s delight to nature’s nuisance.

This year, instead of using noisy gas blowers to create massive leaf piles in the streets for the town to vacuum up into even noisier trucks, why not consider the eco-friendly practice of  “Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em” (LELE), or mulching in place.

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Pedaling Pelham and Repurposing Old Bikes

To help promote the eco-friendly use of bicycles in our community, the Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams (EcoPel) is organizing “Le Tour de Pelham” on Sunday, Sept. 20 starting at 1 p.m.

The guided ride will depart from the Connecticut-bound side of the Metro-North train station. Led by EcoPel volunteers, the tour is aimed at encouraging Pelhamites young and old to leave their cars by the curb and hop onto their bikes. A safety clinic will help riders adjust their helmets correctly.

Pelham is an easy town to bike around. It is small and quiet enough that you can pedal end to end without traveling on busy streets or through dangerous intersections. For those who want to venture beyond the borders of town, there’s even a wooded, paved bike path that starts at the end of Park Lane and leads to Orchard Beach, City Island, and Pelham Bay Park.

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Household Recycling

The Environmental Coalition of the Pelhams (EcoPel), your local environmental organization, is focusing in 2015 on encouraging recycling in our community. Through education, outreach and lobbying, we hope to increase the rate of recycling among our villages’ businesses, schools, and homes.

The Pelhams can be proud to place among the communities with the highest household recycling rates in Westchester. Every properly recycled item reduces landfill costs and provides income for the county. We at EcoPel want to help build on that accomplishment by providing you with tips on how to improve your household recycling stream and to reduce overall waste:

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