UWSR Eco Letter
May/June 2023
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The free UWSR Eco Letter comes from Upper West Side Recycling six times a year. Each Eco Letter lists events taking place during the following two or three months and also includes a Commentary on an environmental topic relevant to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We urge you to distribute this important information to appropriate people in your network and refer them to our website (www.uwsr.org).
Make sure to open and save a copy of our Hard-to-Recycle List for more information on how to recycle a wide variety of items, as well as our list of Environmental Organizations.

Please email us at [email protected] with any information you may have about upcoming environmental events for our consideration.
If this free Eco Letter was forwarded to you and you'd like to be included in our mailing list, click here.
Waste from Construction, Demolition and Renovation

Sometimes it seems as if everywhere you look some kind of construction, demolition or renovation is taking place. New builders are demolishing older structures to make room for new ones; businesses lease commercial spaces and need to reconstruct the interior for their own use; new tenants redesign their apartments, while others are perhaps redoing their kitchen or bathroom, or just making structural repairs.

All this ends up generating an estimated 7,500 tons of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste every day in New York City, and incomplete reporting means this figure may actually be low.

C&D debris is uncontaminated waste, meaning it doesn’t contain any hazardous substances. But it is not considered to be part of municipal solid waste and is therefore picked up by private carters rather than by the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY). If the amount of waste is too small to justify the use of a dumpster, a local waste debris removal contractor can be contacted. Or, if C&D waste is generated from do-it-yourself projects, you can dispose of it via the DSNY refuse collections or you can recycle some of it with DSNY or at some of the organizations listed below.

C&D materials include steel, wood products, drywall and plaster, bricks, clay tiles, asphalt shingles, concrete, and salvaged building components (such as doors, windows, and plumbing fixtures). Waste materials that are not considered C&D debris – even if they are generated from C&D activities – include asbestos- or lead-containing waste, household garbage, corrugated cardboard (which is recycled by DSNY), electrical fixtures and lights, carpeting (read about the new carpeting law in our January/February 2023 Eco Letter), furniture, appliances, tires, oil drums, and fuel tanks (see our Hard-to-Recycle List for ideas about what to do with these).

So what happens to all this debris? First, it’s generally loaded into dumpsters, which, when full, are then transported by a hauler to a construction and demolition debris handling and recovery facility (CDDHRF), where the materials are processed. These processing centers either accept specific, separated materials, such as metal for recycling, or extract recyclables from mixed loads before sending the balance of the material to a transfer station. At transfer stations the waste is loaded into larger trucks that take it to landfills or incinerators located outside the City.

There are about 20 CDDHRFs in New York City, although none of them are in Manhattan. Each facility is required to be inspected annually and must regularly submit a report of their activities.

Recycling and Re-use of C&D Waste

NYC has a number of facilities that accept segregated streams of materials. For example, scrap yards (including a few in Manhattan) generally accept metals, and “clean fill” processors accept only concrete, dirt and other inert materials. These facilities recycle or re-use virtually 100% of the material they handle, and their fees for accepting segregated materials are much lower than those charged by mixed C&D processors.

Following are some local companies that recycle a variety of C&D waste materials:
  • Big Reuse is a non-profit retail outlet for salvaged or surplus building materials, furniture, carpeting, furniture, doors and windows, tools, lighting, and appliances (see here for their Donations Guide). Their drop-off center is at 1 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY, (718) 725-8925, [email protected]. Pickup and deconstruction services are available for large quantities. No sheetrock.
  • Cardella Waste, 2400 Tonnelle Avenue, North Bergen, NJ, (800) 548-7001 and (201) 867-7903. Cardella accepts mixed waste in its dumpsters, then separates and recycles the different types of waste, including sheetrock, at their materials recovery facilities; they work with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Cooper Recycling, 123 Varick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11237, (718) 384-7727. Cooper Recycling is the largest construction and demolition debris recycling facility in NYC. Ceramic, concrete and brick are separated, crushed, and recycled back into aggregate materials used for roadbeds or fill. Metals and wood are separated and recycled. Clean scrap sheetrock is recycled with Saint-Gobain (see below).
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 62-01 Northern Boulevard, Woodside, NY 11377, (646) 876-9460, [email protected], accepts furniture, flooring, appliances, tools, plumbing, lighting and electrical goods. They will pick up materials.


An interesting example of the utilization of recycled bricks is The West, a new condo building with 219 residences at the corner of 47th Street and Eleventh Avenue. The facade is constructed from bricks made from nearly 580,000 pounds of demolition and industrial waste. Created by the Dutch company StoneCycling, the recycled bricks contain 60% waste, including ceramic toilet bowls, roof tiles, and steel.

Local brick recyclers include:

Concrete and Asphalt:

  • You can also find local clean-fill processors in the list of Solid Waste Management Facilities from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Materials. Some of these also handle wood stumps, branches or chips. 

Gypsum Wallboard (Sheetrock):

  • Cardella Waste (see above) recycles clean scrap Sheetrock (gypsum wallboard) with US Gypsum in Denver, PA, where the paper is stripped off and recycled, and the gypsum core is reused as additive to concrete, plaster, and stucco or as a soil amendment.
  • Cooper Recycling (see above) recycles Sheetrock with Saint-Gobain NA (in Malvern, PA), through Saint-Gobain’s building products subsidiary business unit, CertainTeed Gypsum, which has begun reclaiming scrap gypsum wallboard at its new Buchanan, NY facility. The gypsum material is processed at the Cooper Recycling facility and then reclaimed at the Buchanan plant to create new drywall.


Wood can be reclaimed as vintage lumber. It can also be shredded and then re-used as bedding for pets or agricultural uses, or it can be incorporated into new products such as tables and other furniture. See also Concrete and Asphalt, above.

More and more people are using reclaimed wood, which combines a distinctive character with the eco-friendliness of a recycled building material. Most often used in wall paneling, reclaimed wood can also be turned into flooring, furniture, beams and other structural members. You’ll likely get a lot of hits if you search for “reclaimed wood” on Amazon, E-Bay, Home Depot or Lowes, but be alert to the fact that some wood purchased through large retailers isn’t actually reclaimed but is new wood that has been distressed, stained or otherwise processed to look older and more weathered. Real reclaimed wood is usually unstained, unfinished and may be riddled with nail holes.

Builders are aware of the value of reclaimed lumber. During demolition they'll often make a concerted effort to salvage usable flooring, interior woodwork, siding and structural timber. They may already be under contract with a distributor, but they’re often happy to sell to anyone willing to haul the wood away.

Local recyclers who process and sell used or vintage wood include:
  • Big Reuse [see above] (lumber over four feet in length, doors and windows, flooring, furniture) 
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore [see above] (furniture, flooring)
  • M. Fine Lumber, Brooklyn, NY, (781) 381-5200 (reclaimed shelving, beams, paneling, flooring)
  • NYCitySlab, Yonkers, NY, (914)-239-3556 (reclaimed wood from NYC’s lost buildings - lumber, water-tank wood, flooring, stumps)
  • Sawkill Lumber, Brooklyn, NY, (917) 862-7910 (flooring, paneling and dimensional lumber)
  • Singh Hardwood, Far Rockaway, NY, (718) 474-5600 (decking, slabs, stair parts, millwork)

More Information:

This Archive is an excellent resource for research and review of
environmental issues that are part of our daily lives.

You can assume an event is online if no location is listed. For ongoing events, please check first with the sponsoring organization for their status.

Sometimes we're notified of events after we send you the current bi-monthly issue. Be sure to check here on our website to see any updates.

Electronic & Textile Recycling
(See also our Hard-to-Recycle List)

REMINDER: According to New York State recycling laws it is illegal to put any electronic waste into your trash. Residential buildings will be fined for violations of this law.

Free Electronics Recycling Events

Lower East Side Ecology; (212) 477-4022.  Hosts E-Waste recycling events during the year throughout Manhattan. Events occur as scheduled, rain or shine.  

Accepted (unless otherwise noted): Computers and peripherals (monitors, printers, faxes/scanners, keyboards, mice, wires, etc.); TVs; stereo and A/V equipment, VCRs, DVD players; cell and wall phones.
Not Accepted: Microwaves, small appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. If you're not sure about a given item, check with Lower East Side Ecology before you bring it; (212) 477-4022.

  • Friday, May 5, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Recycle Your E-Waste, 300-310 West 14th Street at 8th Avenue. Info: (212) 477-4022, Lower East Side Ecology
  • Wednesday, May 24, 2023, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Spring 2023 E-Waste Recycling Drive, Duffy Square, West 46th Street. Info: Broadway Green, [email protected] 
  • Saturday, June 3, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Recycle Your E-Waste, Manhattan Plaza, 43rd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. Info: Lower East Side Ecology, 212-477-4022
  • Sunday, June 11, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., DSNY SAFE Disposal Event, West 120th Street between Broadway & Amsterdam Avenue. Info: DSNY 

Ongoing: Functioning cell phones and chargers can be donated to the Office of Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell, 245 West 104th Street. Info: (212) 866-3970

Free Textile Recycling Events
(See also our Hard-to-Recycle List)

Wearable Collections will pick up from your building (for more details see our Hard-to-Recycle List).

Accepted by Wearable Collections: Clean textiles, including clothing and shoes, handbags, blankets, sheets, curtains, towels, etc.
Not Accepted: Scraps, pillows, comforters, luggage or carpeting.

Collection of textiles at some greenmarket sites as been temporarily suspended. Check the Grow NYC website for current status.
Currently open:
  • 77th/79th Street Greenmarket [79th & Columbus Avenue], 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Sundays
  • Columbia University Greenmarket [Broadway between 115th-116th Streets], 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Thursdays and Sundays

Check the Grow NYC website for an up-to-date list of locations and hours for locations to recycle textiles. For information: Grow NYC(212) 788-7964. Events occur as scheduled, rain or shine.

The Morningside Park Down-to-Earth Farmers Market (110th & Manhattan Avenue) accepts textiles from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Saturdays. InfoDown to Earth.
Also, United War Veterans CouncilSalvation Army, and Goodwill will pick up from residential buildings. So will re-fashion NYC (new enrollments are on hold, but you may now submit an application)See the Textiles Section of our Hard-to-Recycle List for more specific information.
Other Recycling/Solid Waste 
(See also our Hard-to-Recycle List)

  • Sunday, May 21, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Free West Side Shred Day, paper shredding in front of Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal's office, 230 West 72nd Street (between Broadway and West End Avenue); there is a limit of three boxes of documents. Info: (212) 873-6368; [email protected]
  • June 2023 (date & location to be determined). Paper Shredding Event. For updated information contact Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell, West 104th Street, (212) 866-3970, [email protected]
  • Second Wednesday of each month (except July & August), 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., (location varies), Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board Meeting (Online now). Info: Manhattan SWAB

Year-round Greenmarkets and scrap drop-off locations in Upper Manhattan that accept food waste include locations at: Tucker Square Greenmarket [66th Street and Columbus Avenue]; 79th Street Greenmarket [77th Street betw. Columbus Avenue and Central Park West]; 97th Street Greenmarket [West 97th & Amsterdam Avenue]; Columbia University Greenmarket [West 116th Street and Broadway]; St. Mary's Harlem Food Scrap Drop-off, 521 West 126th Street; 181st Street and Fort Washington Avenue; Inwood Greenmarket, Isham Street and Seaman Avenue (north corner). (See Grow NYC for status and hours or our Hard-to-Recycle List for more information and other locations).
Climate Change & Energy

  • Wednesdays, May 10 & June 14, 2023, 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., Climate LIVE K12: Natural Ideas for Unnatural Problems (online). InfoColumbia Climate School (332) 330-1855, [email protected]
  • Thursdays, May 18; June 15; July 20, August 17; September 21, 2023, 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Monthly overview of IRI's Global Seasonal Climate Forecasts and ENSO Status and Forecast (Online). Info: Columbia Climate School, (212) 854-3830 
  • Tuesday, June 6, 2023, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Clinical Climate Change 2023: Clinical Care for Workers in the Climate Crisis, (online and in-person), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 1425 Madison Avenue. Info: Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine
  • Friday, June 9, 2023, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Resilience and Resolve: A Climate Justice Training for New York Faith Communities (All day - Registration required; register here) Union Theological Seminary, 3041 Broadway. Info: Center for Earth Ethics, (212) 280-1425
  • First Wednesday of each month, 7:00 p.m., 350 NYC Local Solutions Group (via Zoom). Info350 NYCregister here.
  • Second Wednesday of each month, 7:00 p.m., 350 NYC Transportation Group (via Zoom). Info350 NYCregister here.
  • Third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 p.m., 350 NYC Media Task Force (via Zoom). Info350 NYCregister here.
  • Fourth Wednesday of each month, 7:00 p.m., 350 NYC General Meeting (via Zoom). Info350 NYCregister here.
  • Fourth Sunday of each month, 1:30 p.m., Climate Change Circles, The Ethical Culture Society, 2 West 64th Street, Room 514. Info: The Ethical Culture Society; (212) 874-5210
Urban Greening

  • Saturday, May 6, 2023 (and Monday, May 8, if needed), Block Flower Planting, West 69th Street. To volunteer and Info: West 69th Street Block Association, [email protected]
  • Saturday, May 6, 2023 (rain date, May 7), Shift 1: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. / Shift 2: 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., West 79th Street Block Association’s Annual Planting of Flowers & Tree Care. Meet in front of 146 West 79th Street. Tools, gloves, flowers, soil, and refreshments will be provided. Info: West 79th Street Block Association
  • Saturdays, May 6, June 3, July 15, August 12, September 23 & October 7, 2023, 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Volunteer: Sherman Creek Stewards, 3703 10th Avenue. Info: New York Restoration Project
  • Sunday, May 11, 2023, 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Measuring Soil Health, 102nd Street Field House. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy
  • Sunday, May 14, 2023, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., Mother’s Day Flower ID Walk, Heather Garden’s Margaret Corbin Circle entrance to Fort Tryon Park. Info: Urban Park Rangers , (212) 304-2277
  • Saturday, May 20, 2023, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., Tree Giveaway: New York State of Mind, 431 East 114th Street, registration required. Info: New York Restoration Project, (212) 333-2552 
  • Sundays, May 21, June 11, July 23, August 6, September 10 & October 15, 2023, 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Volunteer: Highbridge Forest Park, Park entrance at 190th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Info: New York Restoration Project
  • Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Love Your Street Tree Day, 593 Columbus Avenue at 88th Street (in front of Goddard Riverside). Info: [email protected]
  • Saturday, June 3, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Hot Box Composting, 102nd Street Field House. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy
  • Thursday, June 22, 2023, 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Soil Contamination and Remediation, 102nd Street Field House. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy
  • Saturday, September 30, 2023, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Composting Tour, 96th Street Tennis Courts, Hudson River Greenway. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy
  • First Wednesday of each month, 6:30 p.m., CB9 Landmarks Preservation & Parks Committee Meeting [via Zoom]. InfoCB9, (212) 864-6200
  • Third Thursday of each month, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., New York City Community Garden Coalition Monthly Meeting, Neighborhood Preservation Center, 232 East 11th Street. InfoNYC Community Garden Coalition, (212) 228-2781
  • 2nd & 4th Saturday of each month from March through November, 10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m., Broadway Beautification - Fort Tryon Park, Arden Street/Broadway entrance. Info: Fort Tryon Park Trust, (212) 795-1388
  • 3rd Sunday of each month from March through November, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Fort Tryon Park Sunday Stewardship, Heather Garden’s Margaret Corbin Circle entrance. Info: Fort Tryon Park Trust, (212) 795-1388
Environmental - Miscellaneous

  • CVS and Duane Reade Pharmacies: Safe disposal of unused medications; drop your unwanted, unused or expired medications in their medication disposal kiosk.
  • Thursday, May 4, 2023, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m., NIEHS P30 Center Seminar (Environmental Justice), Allan Rosenfield Building, 722 West 168th Street, Hess Commons, 10th Floor. Info:  Columbia Climate School 
  • Thursday, May 4, 2023, 12:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Sustainable Development Capstone Briefings, Low Library, 535 West 116th Street, Faculty Room. Info: Columbia Climate School
  • Thursday, May 4, 2023, 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Moonlight Nature Walks, Margaret Corbin Circle entrance to Fort Tryon Park. Info: Fort Tryon Park Trust 
  • Saturday, May 6, 2023, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., Birding: Spring Migration, 100th Street and Central Park West, in Central Park. Info: Urban Park Rangers, 212- 360-1444
  • Fridays, May 12, July 14 & September 8, 2023, 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., Birding Walks, 120th Street and Riverside Drive. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy
  • Saturday, May 13, 2023, 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Urban Wildlife Appreciation Festival, West 172nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Highbridge Park. Info: Fort Tryon Park Trust 
  • Saturdays, May 13, June 10, July 8 & 22, August 26, September 9 & 23, 2023, 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., Billion Oyster Project Presentation, West 125 Street Pier. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy[email protected], (212) 870-3089
  • Saturdays, May 13 & 27, June 10 & 24, July 8 & 22, August 12 & 26, September 9 & 23, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Broadway Beautification Days, Broadway Greeting Garden at the Arden Street/Broadway entrance. Info: Fort Tryon Park Trust 
  • Sunday, May 14, 2023, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., Nature Exploration: Reptiles and Amphibians, Seaman Avenue and Isham Street in Inwood Park. Info: Urban Park Rangers, (212) 304-2277
  • Friday, May 19, 2023, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Key Environmental Issues in U.S. EPA Region 2, Columbia Law School, 435 West 116th Street, Jerome Greene Hall, Room 106. Info: Columbia Climate School, [email protected], (212) 854-8213
  • Sunday, May 21, 2023, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Birding: Spring Migration, Seaman Avenue and Isham Street in Inwood Park. Info: Urban Park Rangers, (212) 360-1444
  • Saturday, May 27, 2023, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., Mushroom ID Hike, Seaman Avenue and Isham Street in Inwood Park. Info: Urban Park Rangers, (212) 304-2277 
  • Saturdays, May 27, June 24, July 29, August 26, September 30, October 28 & November 25, 2023, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Riverside Park Birding Club, 108th Street & Riverside Drive. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy, [email protected], (212) 870-3089
  • Saturday, June 10, 2023, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.., World Fish Migration Day, 172nd Street Beach. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy[email protected], (212) 870-3089
  • Sunday, June 11, 2023, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., DSNY SAFE Disposal Event, West 120th Street between Broadway & Amsterdam Avenue. Info: DSNY 
  • Saturday, June 24, 2023, 10:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Hudson River Fishing Clinic, West Harlem Pier Park at 125 Street. Info: Riverside Park Conservancy[email protected], (212) 870-3089
  • Third Monday of each month, 7:00 p.m., CB 7 Parks & Environment Committee Meeting, 250 West 87th Street, 2nd floor. Info: (212) 362-4008; [email protected]
  • Second Wednesday of each monthCB9 Health & Environment Committee Meeting, 16-18 Old Broadway. Info: (212) 864-6200; [email protected]
  • Third Thursday of each month, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m., Food and Water Watch Meeting (via Zoom). InfoFood and Water Watch, (347) 778-2743; Ethical Cultural Society, (212) 874-5210
  • Fourth Sunday of each month, 1:15 p.m., Environmental Stewardship Committee (via Zoom). InfoEthical Cultural Society, (212) 874-5210
If this free Eco Letter was forwarded to you and you'd like to be included in our mailing list, click here.
The UWSR Eco Letter is made possible by generous funding from
City Council Members Gale Brewer and Helen Rosenthal, and
NYS Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell.
Jeff Twine & Scottie Twine, Editors
Contact: [email protected]    Web site:  www.uwsr.org
Upper West Side Recycling Center, Inc.