DEC field staff often encounter littered balloons, even when working in NY’s most remote areas. In fact, some DEC Forestry staff who perform forest surveys find littered balloons almost daily, and DEC staff in the Bureau of Wildlife in Region 4 pickup and collect balloons they find while doing field work throughout the nine counties that makeup the region. On our beaches, DEC’s Marine Resources staff are learning more about balloon litter in NY’s coastal areas through coastal balloon litter surveys conducted through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris grant.
Littered foil or latex balloons and their strings can be found on the ground, stuck in trees, and in water bodies including trout streams, lakes, coastal areas, and other sensitive ecosystems. Finding waste balloons in any wild place doesn’t just take away from the experience of being in these environments - when balloons end up as litter, they can also become a hazard to fish and wildlife or can become microplastic pollution. We can all do our part to make sure our decorations meant to show kindness do not end up harming the environment or our communities. Be part of the solution:
If you celebrate with balloons, make sure they are tied down tight, and avoid balloon releases. Many balloons end up in the environment from being released at celebrations and memorials.
Dispose of balloons properly in the trash. Balloons do not belong in the recycling bin.
Consider alternatives to balloons such as bubbles, bells, paper or fabric garlands, reusable banners, or planting a native tree, shrub, or flowers in remembrance of a loved one.
Photo taken by Steven Heerkens, DEC Wildlife Biologist, while doing field work in Herkimer County
The Recycle Right NY campaign was originally launched by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) after a series of recycling stakeholder meetings in 2018 to jump start discussion aimed at addressing challenges facing New York's recycling system. Campaign management was transitioned to the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions (SU-CSCS), a core partner with the NYS Center for SMM. The SU-CSCS team worked with more than 100 New York state recycling professionals to further build out this important resource.
Recycling guidelines across the State differ significantly. Therefore, an item accepted by one local recycling service may not be accepted in other areas of New York. These variations, coupled with insufficient information about specific items, leads to confusion and results in negative impacts to New York's recycling system. When non-accepted items are placed in recycling bins, those items can ultimately damage recycling facility equipment, decrease the value of other recovered materials, and incur additional environmental and economic costs for transport to a waste facility.
The Recycle Right NY site features new resources such as a search tool to help visitors easily find their local recycling guidelines, as well as a "Recyclopedia" - an encyclopedia for recycling - that will provide waste reduction, reuse, and recycling tips for more than 300 common household items. Together, these resources will help residents to learn more about what is and is not recyclable, and how best to reduce, reuse, and recycle in their communities.
"So many people ask me: Can any item with the recycling symbol on it be recycled? Recycling can be confusing and often leads residents to "wish-cycle," or optimistically place items in their recycling bin even if it is not an acceptable recyclable item. Meanwhile, municipalities face complex challenges to properly collect, sort, and market clean recyclable materials. I am thrilled that the Recycle Right NY effort will reduce contamination of recycling streams across the State by offering direct support to community leaders on how their residents can improve their recycling habits," said Gary Carrel, NYS Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3) Board President and Erie County Solid Waste Recycling Specialist.
"Our goal is to make recycling easy to understand and simple to do. We hope to shift the perception of used materials as 'waste to be discarded' to 'resources to be recovered '", said Melissa Young, Assistant Director for Syracuse University's Center for Sustainable Community Solutions, "Beyond recycling, we hope to inspire and empower New Yorkers to reduce and reuse items when possible, which will greatly aid us in our journey to becoming the lowest waste producing state in the country."
In addition to the new recycling website, the Recycle Right NY campaign has launched its own social media pages and e-newsletter, and will develop new educational resources such as short videos, a resource locator map, and much more.
The theme for Earth Day 2021 is "Restore Our Earth." Recycling, along with waste reduction and reuse, can help achieve this goal by empowering us all to become stewards of New York's materials and beautiful natural environments. Recycling correctly keeps valuable materials in productive use longer, which helps to conserve natural resources, reduce litter, save energy, prevent pollution, create jobs, and bolster the economy.
Waste reduction, reuse, and recycling involves individual choices made in homes, at work, and on the road. So, this Earth Day, visit the RecycleRightNY website and pledge to "Know Before You Throw!" and "Recycle Right!" Encourage family and friends to do the same. New Yorkers working together will accelerate the State's journey to zero waste and build a model of sustainable materials management for the rest of the nation.
The New York State Center for Sustainable Materials Management (Center) was established at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in the spring of 2020 through a NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grant administered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Center places ESF, DEC, and their partners in a leadership role regarding materials (waste) reduction, reuse, and recycling in New York and the US. The Center focuses on the breadth of the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) framework. SMM is an approach to promote sustainable materials use, integrating actions targeted at reducing negative environmental impacts, while preserving natural capital throughout the life cycle of materials, taking into account economic efficiency and social equity. Natural capital is preserved through SMM by increasing resource productivity, reducing material throughputs, and reusing/recycling materials to such a degree that depletion of natural capital is minimized, and ecosystem services maintained. The objective is to maximize positive, and minimize negative environmental, economic, and social outcomes across the entire life cycle, as well as at every stage of the cycle.
As we get ready to celebrate Air Quality Awareness week, let us also be aware that NY’s open burning ban is now in effect. March 16 marked the first day of the annual spring burn ban that is effective through May 14. This statewide ban temporarily outlaws burning residential brush and yard debris to safeguard our communities and natural resources from wildfires and reduce air pollution and protect human health.
Open burning of yard debris is one of the leading causes of spring wildfires in NYS. Warm spring temperatures and lack of snow cover dry out the previous fall’s debris and leaves, increasing the risk of fires spreading out of control. Last year, 192 wildfires were reported that burned more than 1,122 acres. Since the start of the annual burn ban in 2009, spring wildfires have decreased by more than 40 percent. Smoke from wildfires is also more dangerous than emissions from other sources due to the heavy concentration of fine particles, which can aggravate respiratory illnesses and trigger asthma attacks.
The annual burn ban does not prohibit small campfires fueled by charcoal or untreated wood. Before you start your campfire, check the Fire Danger Map, posted on DEC's website and on the free New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App, to know the fire risk in your area. Campfires should never be left unattended and must be extinguished when done. Also, remember that burning trash and leaves is not allowed in NYS at any time of the year. Let’s keep our neighborhoods and yards wildfire-free by building safe campfires and burning our yard debris responsibly after the burn ban ends.
Below is the most up to date 2021 Recycling Calendar, as of January 20, 2021, for Recycling for the Town of Evans.
This excludes the Village of Angola and the Mobile Home Communities. Please contact the Villge of Angola and the Mobile Home Communities if you should have any questions.
TIPS FOR RECYCLING •The 96 gallon tote must be used for Recycling and if the little blue bin is used your recycling will not be picked up for that two (2) week period. •The handle at the top of the tote must be facing away from the road and if it is not your recycling will not be picked up for that two (2) week period. The metal bar at the bottom must be facing the road.