By Ellen Edwards, Chair, Bronxville Green Committee
Oct. 21, 2020: On Saturday, November 7nd, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., in-person Take Back Day returns to Bronxville. This twice-annual event was canceled last June because of the pandemic.
Thanks to our sacrifices and success in limiting the virus, we are able to resume Take Back Day, sponsored by the Bronxville Green Committee and made possible with help from the Village’s Department of Public Works (DPW).
Take Back Day offers us an opportunity to drop off the items listed below for reuse or recycling, disposing of them responsibly while avoiding a trip to the county-run Household Material Recovery Facility (H-MRF) in Valhalla.
Instead, bring items to Palumbo Place behind Village Hall. Cars should enter Palumbo Place from Gramatan Road, and volunteers will direct you. As a safety precaution, we are discouraging foot traffic this year.
The continued threat of Covid-19 requires these protocols: Please wear masks and stay in your cars. Boxed items should be placed in trunks or hatchbacks or on back seats. To minimize contact, please allow volunteers to unload the items for you. You may be asked to space cars farther apart than usual and, as much as possible, to keep a social distance from personnel and volunteers. Find full Covid precautions here.
Here are the specifics about items that can be accepted on Take Back Day:
-Paper for shredding: up to four file-sized (10”x12”x15”) boxes of personal confidential papers per household. The country requests that you remove all large binder clips and covers. Papers from businesses, institutions, or commercial enterprises will not be accepted. Junk mail and newspapers belong in your recycling bin at home. Keep in mind that once the county’s mobile shredder is full, it won’t be able to accept more items, so plan to arrive early.
-Electronics: including computers and tablets, TVs, and cell phones, to be dismantled and recycled, including some batteries for hearing aids and electronic devices. Staff from the DPW will collect these items and transport them for you to the Household Material Recovery Facility in Valhalla.
Since 2015, a New York state law requires that all electronic waste be kept out of regular trash. According to environment.westchestergov.com, which offers a thorough explanation of this issue, electronic waste is the fastest growing area of solid waste in the U.S. and is expected to continue to grow rapidly as more and more household items contain electronic components.
Westchester County ensures that all electronics are taken to licensed electronic waste dismantlers, who remove the data stored on them, dismantle the products, and sell the components directly to electronic manufacturers, both domestically and abroad.
This process ensures that toxic elements found in electronic equipment, which can include lead, mercury, nickel, and cadmium, do not get into our food and water supplies. It also prevents our participation in the common but unsavory practice in which electronics are shipped to Asia and dismantled by underpaid workers in dangerous conditions, who then dispose of the component parts in ways that often pollute the environment.
-Gently used blankets and towels for the Yonkers animal shelter. No sheets, pillows, or rags, please. Please place items in bags and tie them securely.
-Gently worn clothing for Viet Vets, which sells the items and donates the proceeds to Vietnam veterans who are in need. Again, please place all items in bags with secure ties.
Items that can NOT be accepted on Take Back Day include:
-Old paint: Please fill cans containing liquid paint with kitty litter until it is solid. Place solid and empty cans next to your regular garbage with the lids off.
-Alkaline batteries: They should be placed in regular trash.
-Solvents, cleaning solutions, and other hazardous waste: These should be brought to the Household Material Recovery Facility at 15 Woods Road, Valhalla; please call the Recycling Helpline at 914-813-5425 or make an appointment online at environment.westchestergov.com/facilities/h-mrf.
Here are additional ways to reduce what you throw away:
-Sign up for Bronxville’s exciting food scrap collection program, which will be coming in the next months! Once the program launches, you’ll have a chance to collect your food scraps (including all food and food-soiled paper products such as oily pizza boxes!) and bring them to a drop-off site behind Village Hall. From there, they will be hauled to a commercial composter and turned into nutrient-rich compost, the “black gold” that returns nutrients to the soil and helps our gardens grow.
-Carry reusable bags when shopping. Starting on October 19th, the state ban on single-use plastic bags will be enforced. Instead of switching to paper bags, which are also not friendly to the environment, we encourage you to bring reusable bags to the grocery store and carry a small tote for other purchases. Lightweight, washable mesh bags are great when you’re shopping for produce.
-Recycle “thin” plastic bags by placing them in bins at grocery stores. Single-use plastic bags, dry cleaning bags, bread bags, shrink wrap, packing “pillows,” and newspaper sleeves can all be recycled there. Acme in Bronxville could not tell us when they will once again make available a bin to collect thin plastic, but collection bins are available now at local Stop and Shops, Whole Foods, and Stew Leonard’s.
When you’re not sure if something can be recycled, and for further details on proper disposal, these sources can help:-
-zerowastewestchester.org, a source of detailed information provided by the nonprofit Sustainable Westchester.
-environment.westchestergov.com, to learn more about the county’s Recycle Right campaign.
-Westchester County’s Recycling Hotline number is 914-813-5425.
Bronxville’s trash is shipped thirty miles north to a facility in Peekskill, where it is burned. The toxic ash that results is sent to landfills. By reusing, recycling, and composting, as well as participating in Take Back Day, we can greatly reduce our household waste streams and take important steps to ensure the health of our local environment. Thank you for your help in this effort!
Photo courtesy Green Committee
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.
The Bronxville Green Committee is a volunteer organization under Village government. We work with the Trustees and Village staff on programs that promote clean energy initiatives and sustainable ways of living. Our programs include The Bronxville Giving Garden, a community garden whose produce is donated to local groups; Take Back Day, when we collect items to be recycled; and Pollinator Pathways, which encourages adding native plants to our gardens. We believe everyone can make a difference by adopting simple, sustainable practices in daily life so we can work together to protect what we love -- our families, our homes and our town.