THE PLEDGE: As a first step to improving Westchester’s air quality I pledge to participate in backyard composting and/or the food scrap recycling program in my municipality to divert my food waste from our waste stream. I want to prevent their incineration at the aging Wheelabrator trash incinerator, the largest polluter in Westchester County, located in the Environmental Justice community of Peekskill, that is disproportionately impacted with high rates of significant health problems. I also pledge to intensify my efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle to minimize waste needlessly brought to this site for incineration. Together we can be the catalyst for systemic change!
Not sure if your municipality has a food scraps recycling program? A list of Westchester Municipalities participating in food scraps recycling can be found here: https://environment.westchestergov.com/food-waste/residential-food-scrap-transportation-and-disposal-program-rfstad
If your municipality is not yet making this service available to residents, contact them to ask them to participate!
Have questions/issues about starting or improving your backyard compost system: HastingsCompost@gmail.com
. Cornell Waste Management Institute backyard composting resources (http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/smallscale.htm
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
- The Wheelabrator releases millions of pounds of greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants each year, poisoning our air, contaminating our soil, polluting our waterways, damaging our health and contributing to our climate crisis.
- Peekskill is classified as an Environmental Justice community by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and is disproportionately impacted with high rates of asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease and other serious health problems.
- New York’s DEC has documented that the state’s trash incinerators are dirtier than coal power plants. (http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/Common/ViewDoc.aspx?DocRefId=%7BDEEA097E-A9A6-4E53-898C-0BC2F4C60CC4%7D
- Westchester is already classified as a non-attainment zone for air quality standards with high levels of ozone pollution and particulate matter.
- Westchester residents have borne the brunt of a growing number of days with hazardous high heat indexes and high levels of particulates and ground level ozone considered “UNHEALTHY” for everyone and especially dangerous for vulnerable populations including children, developing fetuses, seniors, individuals with lung and cardiovascular disease, low income communities and communities of color.
- Mounting and unprecedented extreme weather events including heat waves, poor air quality days, wildfires, droughts, flooding and the dire reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should serve as a loud wake up call to take immediate action.
LEARN MORE: Learn more about the food scrap recycling program and other zero waste solutions to protect our air, water, soil, climate and our health at Westchester Alliance for Sustainable Solutions: www.wasspeekskill.org
Learn more about ending trash incineration and bringing environmental justice to Westchester at Energy Justice Network: 215-436-9511 or firstname.lastname@example.org
and visit www.energyjustice.net/incineration