All posts by margypeet

Writing as a board member of ColorBrightonGreen.org, a community organization working to raise environmental awareness and action at the local level.

Alkaline Batteries: New Policy

After struggles in finding places to recycle alkaline batteries throughout 2017, ColorBrightonGreen.org has had to stop collecting them.

Our research has found that from an energy efficiency standpoint recycling of alkaline batteries is not at all efficient even if we could find a free or low cost method to recycle them. Alkaline batteries are not toxic and can be thrown in the garbage.

Rechargeable batteries are more environmentally friendly. A battery charger with 4 AA batteries can be purchased for $20. Additional 4-packs of rechargeable AAA or AA batteries can then be purchased for $10. Some of the rechargeable batteries that can be recharged the most will cost more than that amount.  You can see a link to information about some of the best ones hereRechargeable batteries will pay for themselves in most cases after only 10 charges.

If you have alkaline batteries that you really want to recycle, you can take 1 lb to Batteries Plus Bulbs in Henrietta or pay $20 to have them recycled through Waste Management.

Color Brighton Green will still collect and recycle button and rechargeable batteries.

Recycle Plastic Bags at the Store Please!

Plastic bags that get put in curbside recycle bins do not get recycled. Instead they clog the equipment used to sort and process other recyclable products and then those mangled plastic bags get landfilled.  Local recyclers ask that you not even put other recyclables in a plastic bag for your curbside pickup.  So, please help make recycling efficient by omitting all plastic bags from your curbside recycling containers. You can make a difference by saving and recycling plastic bags with the #2 or #4 on them by taking them back to the store collection sites.  See this link for more information!

ColorBrightonGreen.org Supports 5′ Bike Lanes on East Avenue

ColorBrightonGreen.org supports transportation infrastructure that will provide safe travel for non-carbon emitting vehicles such as bicycles. There is a proposed change to the lane configuration on Route 96 (East Avenue) between E. Highland Drive and Route 31F in the towns of Brighton and Pittsford. The current configuration of Rt. 96  is a 40′ wide roadway comprised of four 10′ wide lanes. The Fall 2017 proposed New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) configuration was three 11’ wide lanes for motorized vehicles (the center lane being a turn lane), and two 3.5′ shoulders/unofficial bike lanes.

While ColorBrightonGreen.org supports the initiative of the NYSDOT to provide wider shoulders on this section of East Avenue, we don’t believe that maximizing speeds and leaving only 3.5′ wide bike lanes will protect the safety of all road users. ColorBrightonGreen and several other community groups (including Mothers Out Front, the Rochester Peoples’ Climate Coalition, and Rochester Cycling Alliance) have responded to a coordinated advocacy effort led by Robin Wilt to call for three 10′ vehicle lanes and two 5′ official bicycle lanes along this section of East Avenue. Such a configuration already exists on East Avenue at Winton Road (less than a half mile from the proposed project area).

ColorBrightonGreen.org sent written comments to the NYSDOT Project Design Engineer Daniel Schwind (Daniel.Schwind@dot.ny.gov), and to the Town of Brighton Board Members, and to other elected officials in December 2017. These letters can be seen here on our website.

Subsequent to local advocacy efforts, the NYSDOT has now proposed two 10′ vehicle lanes, one 11′ vehicle turning lane, and two 4.5′ wide shoulders that would not be official bicycle lanes. As of January 6, 2018, advocacy efforts for three 10′ wide vehicular lanes and two 5′ bicycle lanes continue.

Here are some sources of information for you to consider:  Narrower Lanes Safer Streets Article from Planet Citizen.  Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Narrow Traffic Lanes Make Cities Safer article from World Resources Institute. Narrower Lanes Safer Streets from Research Gate.

Consider Joining or Starting a Buy Nothing Group

If you are interested in sustainability and in strengthening community you are invited to become a local part of a rapidly growing national and international movement. The Buy Nothing project seeks to create neighborhood gift economies, supporting the environment and strengthening person–to–person connections in the process.

Buy Nothing participants use Facebook to share items, services, and time with their neighbors. For example, if you have some well–loved but no–longer–needed dishes, you might offer these up. If you need to borrow an inflatable mattress for a guest, you might ask to borrow one. If you would like an occasional canine companion, you might ask if there’s someone whose dog would like to be walked. If you have a snowblower and are willing to use it to dig out a neighbor, you could let the group know. Buy Nothing groups are “hyperlocal”, meaning that everyone you will interact with will live near you. In this way, Buy Nothing interactions become community–enhancers as well. People who have gotten to know each other through Buy Nothing groups have formed walking groups, clubs, and cancer support groups. We are bringing back real Neighborhoods.

There are now six Buy Nothing groups in the Rochester area, and they are getting attention. Check out the recent Democrat and Chronicle article. Stay tuned for a ColorBrightonGreen fall event to promote the Buy Nothing Program. Meanwhile, if you’d like to join a Buy Nothing group, see if your home is within the confines of one of the following existing groups or explore how you can create a new group:

ColorBrightonGreen.org supports Community Choice Aggregation!

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is a bulk energy purchasing program intended to lower costs and transition to greater use of renewable energy for residents and small businesses in cities, towns, and villages that decide to participate.

As a member of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC), ColorBrightonGreen.org has committed to support this program because of the carbon cutting opportunities it offers.

Community Choice Aggregation is a program initiated by the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition in partnership with Joule Assets, who made this program a reality in Westchester County. A local CCA will provide residents and small business electric customers a locally chosen alternative to the state-mandated utility—RG&E, National Grid, or NYSEG—for energy supply. A local CCA represents the best interests of consumers by providing choices for lower, fixed prices and cleaner energy.

In order for residents and small businesses to benefit from this program, their local government has to pass a local law to participate. To date, the Villages of Lima, Scottsville, and Brockport and the Town of Geneva have passed those local laws. The Town of Brighton has held a public hearing for the CCA local law and as of January 2018 is in the process of revising the local law before acting on it at a time to be determined. The City of Rochester has indicated an interest in moving forward with Community Choice Aggregation. Other communities in our region are also considering joining the CCA program.

For more information on Community Choice Aggregation, visit the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition Website.

Curb Your Car Week Spring 2017 Results

The Spring 2017 Curb Your Car Week event took place the week of May 14-20, 2017. During that week 74 residents from the Rochester region registered their pledge to walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus for at least a day as an alternative to driving their car.

Survey Results

70 registered participants, 23 reporting their results

  • Total miles saved: 1,586
  • Gallons Saved: 47.55 gallons (based on individual MPG)
  • Pounds of CO2 saved: 951 (based on 20 lbs per gallon)

Miles saved per activity

  • Biking: 250
  • Carpooling: 468
  • Not going somewhere you normally go: 399
  • Combining trips: 292
  • Bus: 8
  • Walking: 73
  • Telecommuting: 76
  • Other: 20

Top savers

  • Not going somewhere you normally go: 296
  • Carpool: 138
  • Combining trips: 82
  • Biking: 45
  • Telecommuting: 24
  • Walking: 10
  • Bus: 8

Using a Clothes Line Instead of a Dryer

Our clothes dryers are the third biggest energy gobblers in our homes (after the furnace and hot water heater). Hanging some or all of our wash on an indoor or outdoor line is good exercise. Every dryer load skipped saves as much energy (and emissions) as not driving 5 miles in a conventional car. If you need to use a clothes dryer, do it in the off-peak demand hours (Monday-Friday 9 PM to 7 AM, or on weekends).