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January 2023 TEAC News

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January 27, 2023



______________________The Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council (TEAC) relies on volunteers to keep things moving. We’re a fun and engaging group of like-minded citizens working to make Tarrytown’s air, land, lakes and river healthier and cleaner.Our monthly meeting will be held in person at the Village Hall. It’s this Thursday, January 5, at 7pm. We will also try to have a Zoom option: Click Here!If any of our committee topics interest you, or if you just want to learn more about what we do, please feel free to join us!


Volunteers removing vines around the Tarrytown Lakes

TEAC is forming a NEW Vine Squad to help combat invasive vines that blanket our parks and trees. We will meet the first and third Saturdays of the month from 10am to 2 pm, January through April, starting this Saturday, January 7th.

This week (Saturday, January 7th, 10am), we’ll meet at the parking lot at the corner of Wilson Park Drive and County House Road. You’ll need to wear long sleeves and long pants, a hat, and bring water snacks, gloves and hand tools, if you have them.

Please sign up here.


By Annie Kravet, TEAC Member

Happy New Year, everyone! Here are 23 swaps you can make now to generate less waste in 2023. 

  1. Swap out tea bags for loose leaf tea 

  2.  Swap out disposable plastic razors for an eco friendly razor (list of ideas on this site)

  3. Swap body wash in a bottle for bar soap 

  4. Swap shampoo in a bottle for bar soap

  5. Swap body lotion in a bottle for a lotion bar 

  6. Swap out conditioner in a bottle for a conditioner bar

  7. Swap your dishwashing soap for dishwashing bar soap

  8. Swap throwing away clothing with a hole or two for mending 

  9.  Swap out store bought cleaners for easy DIY cleaners (baking soda and vinegar work for almost everything!) 

  10. Swap out paper towels for kitchen towels/ rags 

  11. Swap buying new clothes for second hand finds (there lots of online options for finding gently used clothing)

  12. Swap out facial wipes for washable cotton rounds 

  13. Swap disposable q-tips with a washable q-tip (“the last swab” is one brand that makes these)

  14. Swap tissues for handkerchiefs

  15. Swap/reduce toilet paper use for a bidet 

  16. Swap a disposable coffee cup for bringing your own 

  17. Swap plastic bags for reusable bags 

  18. Swap plastic straws for reusable straws 

  19. Swap out a paper lunch bag for a reusable lunch box 

  20. Swap out plastic snack baggies for reusable containers 

  21. Swap out pre-cut packaged fruits and veggies for buying them whole and cutting up at home 

  22. Swap out packaged baked goods for baking at home 

  23. Swap out new wrapping paper for recycled materials (paper from brown paper bags, recycled wrapping paper, reusable gift bags, etc) 

Remember, use what you have first! Plan to attend our next Household and Clothing Swap and our Repair Cafe, in April. Have you made any zero waste swaps? We would love to hear about them! 


By Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-Chair

You cannot walk into a grocery store, home supply store, or mall, without being assaulted by rows of items in plastic packaging.

Plastic is omnipresent, and it will not simply go away if we fail to acknowledge the problem.

Plastic will never naturally break down, and according to “The Real Truth About the U.S. Plastics Recycling Rate,” issued by The Last Beach Clean Up and Beyond Plastics, less than 6% post-consumer plastic waste in the U.S. is recycled, as of 2021.

But disposal of plastic isn’t the only issue; plastics omit greenhouse gasses at every stage of their life.

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, if plastics were a country, it would be the 5th largest contributor (after China, US, India and Russia) According to, “Plastics are derived from natural, organic materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and, of course, crude oil. Crude oil is a complex mixture of thousands of compounds and needs to be processed before it can be used. The production of plastics begins with the distillation of crude oil in an oil refinery.”

As the nation has been making a huge shift towards cleaner, more sustainable energy (more than 65% of coal mines have been shuttered as of 2021), the oil industry has been pivoting to petrochemicals.  “According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), petrochemicals will account for more than a third of the growth in world oil demand by 2030, and nearly half of the growth by 2050.” See full report, The New Coal.

We have all seen eye-catching headlines of “plastic eating enzymes” and “chemical recycling,” although there are costly tradeoffs and the technology may be decades away. In June 2022 the Washington Post published an article about a plastic foam eating ‘superworm’. Research on plastic eating enzymes has been ongoing since they were first discovered in Japan in 2016. 

Judith Enck, co-founder and President of Beyond Plastics, based at Bennington College, says “every few years, there’s a new scientific paper about using enzymes or other bio-remediation techniques to address plastic waste, but it has not amounted to much.” Enck has criticized the U.S. Department of Energy for promoting research into chemical recycling, which she says could give companies license to continue business as usual, including fossil fuel companies. The BOTTLE Consortium receives some funding from companies like Heinz, which is a heavy user of single-use plastics. “The only thing that’s going to solve this problem is making less plastic,” she says. Check out Beyond Plastics for more information.

On a positive note, the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) is working on a Global Plastics Treaty, with the aim of addressing plastic pollution with a legally binding agreement by the end of 2024.  Members from 160 countries met in Uruguay in early December 2022 to draft the agreement and start negotiations. More information here.

Read about other proactive efforts being made with the Break Free From Plastic Bill, and try some of our plastic-free zero waste tips above to do your part!

By Dean Gallea, TEAC Co-Chair

GAS DELIVERY COSTSNatural Gas Pipeline In Kentucky Explodes, Killing 1, Injuring 5 |

Last week, I had a discussion with a neighbor in Tarrytown about his utility bill. The cost for his Con Edison gas (only) for November: $665! Of that, $485, or 73%, was ConEd’s “delivery” cost. Delivery is what ConEd deems a fair price to cover its costs for the infrastructure needed to get the gas to your appliances: pipelines, pumping, monitoring, metering and billing. I checked my bill: I was only paying 39% of my total gas bill for delivery. Why the difference? 

Turns out my neighbor was in a different “rate category”, termed GS1, while I was on GS3. For the month of November ConEd’s delivery charge (per therm, a measure of gas usage) was $1.71 for GS1, but only $1.25 for GS3, so my neighbor was paying nearly half a dollar more per therm than I was! A quick call to ConEd confirmed that, indeed, he was on the wrong rate plan, apparently for months since combining an accessory apartment’s service into his own. Con Edison will be rebating his overpayment.

So, it might pay to check your bill, right above the gas billing detail, to be sure you are on the GS3 rate, called “Residential or Religious Heating”:

If you see GS1 and the word “Heating” is missing, give ConEd a call: 800-752-6633

There’s another reason to check your bill: From December 1st through February 28, County Exec George Latimer has suspended the 4% Westchester sales tax on heating fuels. This follows the current practice in neighboring NY counties. Latimer said, “If you see you are being charged Westchester County sales tax for any home energy item starting December 1, please contact the County right away at (914) 995-2900.” It’s not clear how – or if – they will split the taxed portion of the electric bill for those good folks using electric heat pumps for heating.

CON-FUSION?Will the latest breakthrough in nuclear fusion help to fight climate change? : NPR

A couple weeks ago, the national mainstream media was buzzing about a breakthrough at NIF, a U.S. nuclear research laboratory. Scientists reached the “cusp of ignition” in an experiment in fusion power production, smashing high-energy atomic particles together and measuring more energy emitted from the event than it absorbed. (Though, apparently, the huge amount of energy needed to prime the equipment for the sub-nanosecond-long event didn’t count.) More energy OUT than IN is deemed a milestone. 

Fusion research has been going on for 70 years, both for doomsday weaponry and energy production. The former is well established, the latter not so much. Some joke that practical fusion power is always 30 years away. The goal is lofty: Electrical power production that uses inexpensive, non-toxic materials and produces little hazardous byproducts. To try to speed up that timeline, the Biden administration included $280M for fusion in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The sad fact is that fusion plants, even when scaled up to utility levels, will have a cost (per kilowatt) exceeding that for solar or wind energy by an order of magnitude or more, according to many estimates. Only highly-developed countries will have the financial resources to invest in such hugely-expensive technology, which would enrich only a few high-tech companies. And a focus on fusion development may put a damper on beneficial price erosion in other, lower-tech renewables needed by developing nations. Let’s not forget that, in the 1950’s, the dawn of nuclear fission energy growth, nuclear energy was touted to become “too cheap to meter”. We know where that myth went, and what we are now burdened with cleaning up after.

Natives in the Winter Garden:

By Mai Mai Margules, TEAC Member

Happy 2023 everyone!

With a new year just beginning this is the time that we reflect on the past and look forward to the future with hopes and aspirations. New Year’s resolutions, for better or worse, can help guide us as we chart out our priorities for the year ahead.

Dry milkweed husks in winter.

One very doable and impactful resolution to help restore biodiversity is to plant native seed this January. Native plants form the foundation of our ecosystems, they are the ecological basis that sustain life, including people.

“Native plants feed the insects which feed the birds which feed the animals which feed the web of life….. Biodiversity”  ~ Doug Tallamy

As most of our native seeds, milkweed, coneflowers, asters, bee balm etc., need a period of cold, moist winter stratification (periods of freezing and thawing to break dormancy) for 30 to 90 days, January is the perfect month to plant. Here is a good article for winter planting in clamshell containers outdoors, an easy way to start seedlings.

You can also plant directly in the ground or in pots if you cover the seeds with a protective screen to keep animals from disturbing them. Be sure to water. Milkweed and smaller seeds should be pressed into the soil rather than covered as they need light to germinate.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about planting. We have free native seeds that you can pick up if you live locally . Just contact us at  Native seeds are also available for sale online at Prairie Moon, American Meadows and many other vendors.

We ended 2022 with some uplifting news.The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) concluded in Montreal on December 19, 2022 with a landmark agreement to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems and protect indigenous rights. This treaty recognizes that the world is at a critical tipping point with one million plant and animal species threatened with extinction due to human actions.

All of us can reverse this trend —  take action today. Plant native seeds and plants, stop using chemical pesticides and herbicides, and leave areas of your property natural, ie “messy” (leave the leaves and plant stalks) to create wildlife habitat.

In doing so you create sustainable spaces that will nurture pollinators, birds and wildlife in 2023 and for many years to come. Now that’s a great New Year’s resolution!


The newest addition to Tarrytown’s bin family is here! Recycle un-usable textiles and shoes at the food-scraps drop-off area.

Cleaning out your closets in anticipation of the holiday onslaught? No need to throw old garments away… if you can’t consign them, or donate them to a re-sale shop like the Salvation Army or Goodwill, recycle them!

Tarrytown now has four textile recycling bins around the Village. The newest is located next to the food scrap recycling bins on Green Street past Losee Park. There is also one at the entrance to Trilogy Consignment Shop on Main Street, and two others hosted by the Police Benevolent Association in the Bridge Plaza parking lot at the intersection of 119 and Broadway, and one at the Clothes Doctor on the other side of the H-Bridge.


By Rachel Tieger, TEAC Co-Chair

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Eating Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens on New Year’s Day is supposed to bring good fortune and luck for the new year. So here is a delicious soup recipe which is easy to make, healthy and vegan!

Although I made modifications, I found the original recipe on The Simple Veganista.

Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 1 hour 15 min
Yield: Serves 6 – 8 servings


½  lb. black eyed peas, soaked – see notes (or 1- 15oz can , drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ small organic sweet onion, diced
2 large organic carrots, diced
2 or 3 organic celery ribs, sliced
½ dry white or rose wine
1-2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon each dried cilantro, basil, and 2tbsp fresh minced sage (can swap herbs de provence or add 2-3 tbsp each of your favorite fresh herbs, minced)
2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tbsp Mother in Law’s Gochujang (optional! – for extra spice and depth)
1 – 14oz can organic diced tomatoes, with the juices
2 – 3 cups organic collard greens, (or other greens like kale, chard or cabbage) chopped
6 cups organic vegetable broth, or water with 2-3 tablespoons Better than Bouillon paste
1 teaspoon each salt + pepper, or to taste
One lemon cut in wedges (seeds removed)

Saute: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil or water over medium heat, add onion, carrots, and celery, saute for 7 – 10 minutes. Add the wine, smoked paprika, thyme, basil, oregano, or other herbs for about 1 –  2 minutes.

Simmer: Add the black-eyed peas, tomatoes, vegetable broth, and gochunjang (if using), bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes (for canned) to 1 1/4 hours (for soaked), or until beans are tender. Before soup is done, about 5 – 10 minutes ahead, stir in the greens, and add lemon wedges. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Serve: Try a squeeze of lemon over the top of each bowl for an extra lift, or garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, parsley, or spoonful of vegan pesto. Vegan Cornbread or beer bread is a perfect accompaniment to this savory soup! 

Store: Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze for up to 2–3 months. Let thaw before reheating.

Pro Tips:

When soup is complete, you may use an immersion blender or bullet to thicken and help meld the flavors. Blend only 10-15 % of the soup so there are lots of lovely chunks of vegetables and peas.

To quick-soak the black-eyed peas, place the beans in a large pot covered with 1-2 inches of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let soak in the hot water for 1 hour, drain water. 

Organic dried black eyed peas are more nutritious and less expensive than canned peas and do not need to be soaked overnight (like other dried legumes).

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt

Copyright © 2022

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