A bill was recently passed to ban Polystyrene Foam (also known as Styrofoam) in New York City’s food service, joining cities like Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; Seattle; and Amherst, Massachusetts. Most recycling programs, including New York City’s, do not accept Foam Plastics for recycling because the material necessitates separate processing and must be kept exceptionally clean. Furthermore, when it is mistakenly put into the recycling or organics stream, it renders that stream contaminated and the entire stream therefore ends up in the landfill, at a higher cost to taxpayers. The bill reinforces public understanding of Styrofoam as damaging to the environment, and the expense associated with its disposal. Taxpayers end up paying to have their Styrofoam dumped in landfills or worse, our water supply, and both fates threaten our environment and our health.
The bill to ban Styrofoam is a call to New York City residents to take responsibility for their waste. By way of eliminating non-recyclables from the city’s food service, consumers are more directly confronted with their waste when prompted to separate recycling from garbage destined for the landfill. If New York City residents collectively made a conscious effort to minimize waste on an individual level, our landfills would diminish and our water would be cleaner, positively affecting our parks and their cleanliness. Styrofoam constitutes 0.5% of the weight of all waste and 0.64% of household hazardous waste, as defined by the Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling of the NYC Department of Sanitation. Although small in mass and volume, Styrofoam takes over one million years to decompose and the decision to ban the packaging product is a strong step in the direction of a more sustainable future of waste disposal and recycling. As the largest economy and market in North America, New York City sets a precedent in ceasing and banning the production and sale of consumer goods and packaging that is not recyclable.
The Arsenal Gallery at Central Park will host Freshkills Park on Wednesday July 10th at 6:00 p.m. as Angelyn Chandler, Capital Program Manager at Freshkills Park, discusses the park’s history and future plans. The event is free and part of the Land Art Generator Institute exhibition, please RSVP with firstname.lastname@example.org . Join us and learn more about the development if this world-class park!
April was National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, we asked fans of Freshkills Park to submit a haiku inspired by the park. We split the entries into two categories, Adult and Youth, and our judges selected three Adult winners and two Youth winners.
are returned by mother earth
with much forgiveness
As a child, I dreamed
of playing in the fields where
the great white trucks roamed
Coyote roams wild,
Man-made meadow under paw,
From lost kills he drinks.
Walking on the path
Life flourishes everywhere
How can you not smile?
-Caitlin Samargian, 12
Freshkills was a dump
Now turning into a park
That’s safe and healthy
-Samantha Chierchia, 11
The Freshkills Park Team would like to thank all who entered our contest, as well as our judges:
Ned Vizzini is the bestselling author of the acclaimed young-adult books The Other Normals, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Be More Chill, and Teen Angst? Naaah…. In television, he has written for ABC’s Last Resort and MTV’s Teen Wolf. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and Salon. He is the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets. His work has been translated into ten languages. He grew up in New York and attended Stuyvesant High School and Hunter College.
Marguerite María Rivas is a poet and scholar whose work has been published in such journals as The Americas Review, Earth’s Daughters, Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, and Short, Fast, and Deadly, among many others. A native Staten Islander whose poetry and prose is often Staten Island-centric, she is widely regarded as the de facto Poet Laureate of Staten Island. The author of Tell No One: Poems of Witness (Chimbarazu Press 2012), Rivas is an Associate Professor of English at The City University of New York and holds a Doctor of Letters in English from Drew University.
Nancy Hechinger is a professor at NYU in the Interactive Telecommunications Program, where she has been teaching an experimental course called Writing and Reading Poetry in the Digital Age. Her poetry has been published in the Red Wheelbarrow, Salamander, Pirene’s Fountain, & in The New York Quarterly.
Freshkills Park CELEBRATES National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry Month which means it is time for the fifth annual Freshkills Park Haiku Contest! We will be celebrating by asking you to share your impressions, experiences, thoughts and ideas of what Freshkills Park is, will be, and what it means to you- in haiku form. A haiku is a type of poem written in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables for a total of 17 syllables. For example, here is one of our winners from a previous year:
The bike paths I will ride on
My old love letters
Email your haiku, along with your name and age to email@example.com by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 29th
Prizes will be awarded to the top youth winner as well as the top three adult winners. If you are under 18, please indicate that you are submitting as a youth entrant. Submit for a chance to receive exclusive Freshkills Park merchandise. To learn more about Freshkills Park and to stay up to date on the latest news, visit the Freshkills Park Blog at www.freshkillspark.wordpress.com and ‘like’ us on Facebook.
An upcoming documentary entitled Landfill Harmonic chronicles the work of Favio Chavez, who is using trash to inspire his local community in Cateura, Paraguay. The documentary follows Chavez, landfill technician and director of the appropriately named Recycled Orchestra, as he constructs musical instruments made of trash sourced directly from the landfill. He provides these instruments to local youth both to inspire them and to try to keep them out of gangs – an unfortunate and all-too-common fate for many in Cateura. He also hopes to use the Recycled Orchestra as a platform from which to teach the importance of recycling, conservation, and the hazards of wastefulness.
At first, building the instruments was a difficult task for Chavez, a landfill technician with only basic carpentry skills. But over the course of four years, Chavez has perfected his craft, discovering which materials works best for each instrument. The film depicts how an oil drum and meat tenderizers can sound as deep and rich as a cello, and that music can be a force to change the lives of a marginalized community.
Like Freshkills Park, Favio Chavez and his Recycled Orchestra are finding opportunities in what is, to many, simply a blighted landscape.