NEWS OF THE MONTH FROM THE TARRYTOWN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

MARCH 2022
WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
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This month we’re “talking trash”… and energy bills and great food! And, why not celebrate Earth Day all month? April’s weather is the best time of year to be outside and working the ground, so we’re in the planning phase of Earth Month in Tarrytown. Check out our line-up of environmental films, showing once a month at the Warner Library. Oh, and join our online meeting Thursday evening, March 3 at 7:00! Details are below.

LOVE YOUR VILLAGE
PARTICIPATING IN TEAC IS EASY… JUST COME TO A MEETING!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 next meeting will be held via Zoom, Thursday, March 3, at 7pm.If any of our committee topics interest you, or you just want to learn more about what we do, please feel free to join us!Zoom Link: Click Here!

TRASH VIGILANCE:
THE “NEW TRASH”
By Dean Gallea

On Presidents’ Day, I went to dump my food-scrap bin at Tarrytown’s drop-off near Losee Park, and decided to go for a sunset stroll along the Riverwalk there. I keep plastic bags and a collapsible “trash-picker” in my car, so I brought them along, knowing that stretch of Riverwalk has been prone to littering.

First, I was pleasantly surprised that our Village has placed pairs of trash and recycling bins at four locations along the path between Lots F and G, at either end of the Losee Park ballfield. They were well used, but not quite overflowing, which was good.

But the presence of the bins doesn’t guarantee everyone will use them. On my half-hour walk, I was able to gather three bags full of trash and recyclables, much of it plastic that probably would have blown into the River to eventually join the sea of harmful microplastics circulating around the globe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Atlantic_garbage_patch .

And all of it was within sight and a short walk to the Village bins. Some folks try to hide their “sins” by dropping their refuse over the fence that lines the Riverwalk, almost guaranteeing it will end up in the River, and making it hard for us to reach it.

The most interesting thing I noticed was the proliferation of what I call “the new trash”: the detritus of the pandemic, and of new habits: Masks, wipes, plastic gloves, cigar tubes, and empty vape pipes.

   

People may believe these are benign trash, but they are not: Masks contain layers of “nonwoven fabric”, which is made of fine plastic fibers, already microscopic in scale. Similarly, hand wipes are plastic-based, and many surgical gloves are as well (latex ones will biodegrade, but they are gross looking and may be contaminated.) Vape pipes contain a lithium-ion battery, which is environmentally toxic, and in fact, recyclable through our County Household Materials Recovery Facility (H-MRF) in Valhalla. You can bring all sorts of hazardous materials, electronic waste, and documents to shred to the H-MRF – just make an easy online appointment: https://environment.westchestergov.com/h-mrf-reservation .

TEAC encourages residents to take clean-up walks like this. It’s a feel-good activity, and is actually healthy for both yourself and our environment!

GET READY FOR…
EARTH DAY / EARTH MONTH 2022
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By Jenny O’Connor


Throughout the month of April, we’ll be working to spruce up our streets, swap clothing and housewares, plant trees/shrubs, get out in nature to explore and clean up, and so much more!

For our celebration to be a success, we need you or your organization to get involved! If you’d like to spearhead an event or participate in our planning activities, get in touch with us at info@tarrytownenvironmental.com or come to our next general TEAC meeting, this Thursday, March 3 at 7pm. (See Zoom login information above.)

ENERGY NOTE$
OUR CON EDISON BILLS
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By Dean GalleaEveryone is talking about their skyrocketing ConEd bills. They reflect the seasonal rise in rates, for both SUPPLY and DELIVERY. The supply cost is NOT controlled by ConEd, but by an Energy Service Company (ESCO), while the delivery cost is set by ConEd, under rules allowed by the NYS Public Service Commission. (Fact: 400,000 ConEd customers are more than 2 months behind on paying their bills. ConEd can spread payments out if you call them.)ELECTRICITY: The default ESCO for ConEd customers is called “ConEd Solutions.” But those who live in one of the Westchester Power CCA (Community Choice Aggregation) communities – including our local Rivertowns – should automatically be getting their supply from an ESCO called Constellation New Energy. They provide a low supply rate of 7.48 cents per kWh, for 100% non-carbon-fueled power. That might not be the case, though, if you opted for another ESCO at some point: Check your bill to see if you’re getting that rate, as in this example from my January bill:If you’re paying more and want to switch to the lower CCA rate, you can do so by going to https://sustainablewestchester.org/wp/energy-choices and requesting to opt-in. Power comes from renewable sources upstate at a fixed price, renegotiated every two years, which will happen in June this year. That won’t affect ConEd’s delivery rate, currently 13.94 cents/kWh, about double the supply rate.NATURAL GAS: On my January bill, the gas supply cost – from ConEd’s default supplier – was 66.25 cents per Therm (a unit of energy content, like kWh for electricity), while the delivery cost approached twice that, $1.09 per Therm, adding up to more than $1.75/Therm. As January’s bill dramatized, there is no CCA for natural gas. There are, however, other suppliers (called ESCOs) besides Con Ed that might offer a lower rate (after the heating season) that can be locked in for a year or more. Check https://documents.dps.ny.gov/PTC/home. One caution: Some ESCOs offer a low introductory rate but can be lax in informing customers when that period ends and a higher rate suddenly kicks in (which happened to me.)

Of course, all bets are off now for natural gas supply prices, at least for the near future, as sanctions resulting from the Russian incursion into Ukraine have caused petroleum prices to skyrocket. Though the U.S. and Canada have sufficient crude oil production for our domestic needs, we import and export oil products for refining, and thus are subject to the world fossil-fuel pricing. Some believe we are exporting too much of our petroleum, raising costs here as oil companies reap profits.

One way to get some isolation from petroleum prices is to electrify your heating, one of the goals of our EnergySmart Homes program. To find out more about this multi-Rivertowns effort to move homeowners towards efficient heat-pump heating and energy efficiency, visit https://sustainablewestchester.com/rivertowns .

WATCH AND TALK ABOUT IT:
TEAC’S FILM AND DISCUSSION SERIES
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Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council resumes its film series on Thursday, March 24, with a showing of “Kiss the Ground”, the story of regenerative agriculture to combat climate change.

The Warner Library is once again hosting the event on the third floor. Afterwards, join TEAC for a lively discussion about the film.

You can sign up on Eventbrite at https://www.tarrytownenvironmental.org, or just come to the library!

Other films in the series will be shown at the Warner Library monthly, into June. All film events run from 7-9pm.

VEGAN RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Lasagna Marinara With Spinach 
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By Cari Newton 

With Earth Day approaching next month, it is time to gear up to join the pursuit of making our Earth a cleaner, better place to live for all beings.

Though often overlooked, one small change you can make to make a huge impact is to eat less or no meat.

If you are new at it, participating in Meatless Mondays or eating a vegan diet on weekdays is a great way to start out. Every time we choose a plant-based meal, we are contributing to the efforts to conserve water, reduce pollution, protect oceans, end deforestation, and stop global warming.

If you are considering going vegan, find yourself an experienced vegan who is willing to be your “mentor” to help you figure it all out. Most vegan folks would be more than happy to be your guide! Their experience can provide great product, recipe, and restaurant recommendations.

This month’s vegan recipe, Lasagna Marinara with Spinach, comes from one of my favorite vegan cookbooks: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. 

Lasagna Marinara with Spinach
Photo Credit: John Muggenborg

Ingredients

Double Recipe Marinara Sauce
Double Recipe Cashew Ricotta
1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked
2 lbs spinach or a mix of other greens (chard, dandelion, etc)
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F. Have ready a 9×13 inch deep lasagna pan.  Also have ready the prepared Marinara Sauce and Cashew Ricotta.

Wash the spinach well, drain, and place in a steamer basket in a large pot. Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and a deep green. Uncover, remove from heat, allow spinach to cool. Squeeze handfuls of the spinach to remove the excess water and chop coarsely. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle about ½ cup of sauce into the bottom of the lasagna pan and layer with 5-6 noodles. Add about half of the tofu ricotta, a layer of spinach, and 1/3 of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta, the remainder of the spinach, and another third of the sauce. Top with another layer of noodles and top with the remaining sauce.

Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes, then remove cover and bake for another 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing. Best served with additional marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp Salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn.  Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and raise the heat a bit to bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cashew Ricotta

Ingredients

½ cup raw cashew pieces (approx. 4 oz)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
1 pound firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1-1/2 tsp dried basil
1-1/2 tsp salt

In a food processor, blend together the cashews, olive oil, and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms, add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in 2 or more batches, if necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt.

**Notes:
I usually make 4 or 5 times the Marinara sauce instead of double. We like to have a lot extra to ladle more sauce on top when serving the lasagna.

For the Cashew Ricotta, if you sub roasted salted cashews for raw, you may need to adjust and add less salt.

This recipe also calls for a double layer of aluminum foil to place over the lasagna for the first round of covered baking. In place of the foil, I either place a baking sheet over top of the lasagna or put a generous amount of sauce so the top noodles won’t get dry.

I recently used Swiss chard in place of spinach, and it was amazing! (Wash, dry, and cut leaves from stems. Chop stems and add to a heated sauté pan with a little olive oil on medium heat. Cook stems for 2-3 minutes while chopping the remainder of the chard leaves. Add leaves once the stems soften and cook till wilted. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and add in place of the spinach.)

I sometimes crumble and brown up a brick of vegan Beyond Beef to add in a layer of the lasagna. (one layer of Beyond and one layer of spinach) Sauteed mushrooms, Gardein crumbles, Boca Crumbles, seasoned lentils, are other good additions here.

I enjoy a little sprinkle of vegan parm cheese on top when serving. Violife, Forager, Follow Your Heart, & Whole Foods 365 Brand are all good options.  A sprinkling of fresh parsley or basil is a nice garnish as well.

Biggest tip: I put the cashew ricotta in a big pastry bag with a big flat 2” wide pastry tip. Makes assembling the lasagna a BREEZE!

This recipe freezes well, so I usually make 2 batches and freeze one lasagna after assembly, but before baking for an easy dinner later.

SAVE the DATES!!
Clothing and Housewares SWAP
______________________Give and Take! Bring your clean, good-condition, quality items to swap for something new!

Sunday, April 10, 2022 10am-4pm
Located outdoors at the Hastings Flea!
Metro North Commuter Lot, 131 Southside Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
AND
Sunday, April 24, 2022 10am-4pm
Located outdoors at Tarrytown’s Patriots Park

Please be sure that your swap items are in good shape! We are looking for CLEAN items in good condition. Only bring items that someone else would really love! For SWAP Clothing, nothing too faded, no rips, tears, holes, or stains. No underwear or lingerie please. We are doing a textile recycling collection so feel free to bring those “unswappable” clothing, shoes, and linen items in a SEPARATE bag for quick sorting at the event. For housewares, bring only working items in good condition. Nothing in need of repair please. Look out for a local repair café for those items!

See our FAQ below, visit fromthefuturevintage.com for more information, & feel free to email any additional questions to ftfvintage@hotmail.com

REBATES AND INCENTIVES:
ENERGYSMART HOMES RIVERTOWNS
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The Villages of Irvington, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, alongside the Irvington Green Policy Task Force, Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council and Sleepy Hollow Environmental Advisory Committee have partnered with Sustainable Westchester to bring EnergySmart Homes Rivertowns to our community.

With rebates and incentives available from NYSERDA and your utility, you have the opportunity to significantly reduce your home energy consumption, lower your energy bills, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and increase the year-round comfort and value of your home. Learn More HERE

Did you know: Switching from plastic bags to reusable bags is only 1 percent as effective as giving up meat for one year. (source: Journal of Environmental Resource Letters)

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.

– Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvy Firestone, 1931

Copyright © 2022 Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council, All rights reserved.

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