Earth Day Tips to Reduce Your Waste 618

Climate change is a serious issue, and it will take a great deal of effort to reverse the course of our constantly-warming planet. We all leave a carbon footprint, and in this day and age it seems nearly impossible to avoid plastic and other excess waste. Making changes is possible (some would say its easy) and if we all make changes our efforts can help reduce the harmful effects we have on this planet.  Take initiative and be a part of the solution instead of adding to the problem.  In honor of Earth Day, we have put together a list of easy things you can start to do so you and your families can develop better habits and play your role in making our planet healthier.

Use Non-Plastic Reusable Water Bottles

If you are one of those people who uses a re-usable plastic water bottle- you have taken a small step. If you have one that you use, we are not going to encourage you to toss it. But if you are just choosing to start using a reusable water bottle, look for a container that is not plastic. There are plenty of options in glass or metal. Find something that’s not too big (or too small) and we recommend using something insulated to keep your drinks cold or hot.



Give Up the Straw

Under a new bill passed by Suffolk legislators earlier this month, straws and stirrers would need to be biodegradable and will be made available by-request-only in sit-down restaurants and self-service beverage stations. This ban will go into effect beginning on January 1, 2020.  Until then, or if you live outside of Suffolk- make sure when you order drinks at a restaurant you request no straw be included. If you simply need to use a straw purchase one of your own and bring it along.



Avoid Takeout Containers

A separate bill was also passed by Suffolk Legislators earlier this month that bans restaurants from using Styrofoam takeout containers and packaging.   A third bill will also ban the sale of single-use plastics at county parks and beaches, including plastic utensils, plates and cups.  If you are someone who can never finish their meal, bring your own containers for restaurant leftovers.  If your house has take out once a week or more, maybe try to find restaurants that pack up their food to go in eco-friendly containers.



Ditch the Plastic Bags

If you are like those of us who live in Suffolk County it is likely that you already carry reusable bags. If not, and you are still using plastic, this is an easy way to go a little greener. If you carry a purse, toss in a reusable bag that folds up easily. If you’re only getting a few things, carry out what you purchase in your hands and pockets. If your city/county doesn’t have a plastic bag ban, speak up and talk to your local representative to request they implement one.




Stop Using Paper Towels

Yes, they’re convenient. Yes, your family’s messy. But it’s easy to live without paper towels. Instead of these perforated one-use paper sheets, start using your dish towels (sure, even the nice ones) to wipe up messes. You can even use them to pat meat dry and clean mirrors and windows (just not at the same time). Toss them in the wash and reuse next week. You can even cut up old bath towels to use around the house.




Eliminate Food Waste

The production of food is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the U.S. This year try to shop smarter, offer and take smaller portions at meals, and find ways to incorporate leftovers into lunches or other meals. Shopping more often and organizing the refrigerator can also help you cut back on waste. You also can reduce the environmental damage of food waste by starting a compost. Composting is a great way to return food waste to the Earth rather than putting it in a landfill.



Buy Local Produce or Start a Garden

Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can start a garden on a windowsill, deck or sunny corner in the living room. Gardening reduces, one tomato at a time, the carbon emissions on your daily salads. While you’re waiting for your Earth Day garden to produce, you could also commit to shopping from local farmers, either at a farmer’s market or a grocery store that carries locally grown fruits and vegetables.



Pay Bills and Receive Ads online

Have junk mail? Most of us do. Take the time to reach out to solicitors and take steps to reduce the mail that shows up in your mailbox. Most times advertisers will have the same promotional information available to consumers via email so you should not miss the paper clutter. Even if you recycle all of your junk mail, not having it in the first place has a much better environmental impact.



Go Green when you Clean

Store bought cleaning products are typically made of toxic ingredients and often yield the same results as quick cleaners you could make yourself. There are so many natural cleaning agents that will leave your home clean and not add to toxins to the environment. For example baking soda, lemon and orange oils, and castille soaps are also good natural cleaning agents. Try swapping out your everyday cleaning products for home-made cleaners, use your own re-usable containers and also reduce your plastic use.



Just Refuse

This is a good general rule to follow. Think about how many things we are given in a day that we don’t even ask for. Straws with our drinks, napkins in a bag, packages surrounding food, condiment packets, tote bags, flyers, stickers, etc. We may not think about it or think it may be rude to refuse. But not taking something, no matter how small, is the first step in cutting down excess waste. Reusing and recycling are great and important actions to take to reduce carbon footprints, but refusing is a sure way to eliminate waste.

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Bellport High School Robotics Team Attends First LI TECH Challenge Qualifier 50

Bellport High School’s Bellport Clippers Team 12899 participated in the FIRST Long Island TECH Challenge qualifier, a robotics competition, held at William Floyd High School on Jan. 11. Under the direction of high school technology teacher Jaime Canjura and alumnus Brian Larkin, the 11-member robotics team competed against 21 Long Island teams from Suffolk and Nassau counties.

FIRST Tech Challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge each year. The team’s next competition will be held on Feb. 2 at the Long Island School for The Gifted in Huntington.

Since the 2018-19 school year, the team has doubled in size and hopes to continue growing due to the interest of incoming eighth grade students participating in the Bellport Middle School FIRST Lego League.

“The team’s philosophy is to inspire students to be and do their best,” Mr. Canjura explained. “We follow the concept of Gracious Professionalism, a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.”

The South Country Central School District extends team members Joseph Balsamo (lead software engineer and programmer), Jake D’Esposito (programmer and IT), Robert Gronenthal (secretary and robot chassis designer), Isaiah James (team president and lead designer), Chris Lannon, Thomas Miller (treasurer), Ainesis Reid (media, marketing and programming), Soteria Reid (media and marketing specialist), Antonio Suarez (mechanical hardware technician and designer trainee), Jack Stark (mechanical hardware technician and designer trainee) and Michael Vengroski (team captain and lead designer) best wishes for success.

Photo caption: Members of Bellport High School’s Bellport Clippers Team 12899 held their robot designed for the FIRST robotics competitions.

Photo courtesy of the South Country Central School District


Raise Your Bar Serving These New Year’s Eve Cocktails 578

Blood Orange Gin Punch Recipe

Get the party started with this simple cocktail, this modern take on a classic screwdriver is an easy-drinking crowd-pleaser. To keep the party moving, put it in a punch bowl and let your guests serve themselves.

Recipe Serves 10

Shopping List
⅓ cup cane sugar
5 sprigs organic fresh rosemary
11 or 12 organic blood oranges
1¾ cups gin
1¼ cups prosecco
5 cups ice

Peeler, punch bowl, small sauce pot

1. Make the simple syrup
In a small sauce pot, combine 1½ cups water and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 3 rosemary sprigs and bring to a boil (set aside the remaining 2 sprigs for serving). Remove from the heat and let steep until cool, about 30 minutes.

Discard the rosemary. Measure ½ cup simple syrup; save any remaining simple syrup for another use.

2. Prep the orange wheels and twists; mix the cocktail

  • Cut 1 blood orange in half, then cut one half crosswise into thin slices. Do not remove the peel; discard any seeds. Reserve the other orange half for juicing.
  • Using a peeler, remove the zest in 2-inch-long strips from the blood oranges, being careful to remove only the outermost orange layer and leave behind the bitter white pith. You’ll want 1 strip per serving, or 8 to 10 total.
  • Juice enough oranges to measure 3¾ cups.
  • Cut the remaining rosemary sprigs into 1-inch pieces and set aside for garnish.
  • In a punch bowl, combine the orange juice, gin, prosecco, simple syrup, and 1 cup ice. Stir until well incorporated, then add blood orange rounds.

Set out rocks glasses and the remaining ice and invite everyone to make their own cocktail, garnishing with an orange twist and a rosemary sprig.

Tip: To save time, make the simple syrup the night before; let cool and refrigerate in an airtight glass jar. If you prefer a nonalcoholic cocktail, skip the gin and prosecco, increase the amount of orange juice, and add a splash of soda water or iced tea just before serving.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of SunBasket


Giggle Juice

Giggle Juice is delicious combination of moscato, lemonade, and vodka that is sure have all your family and friends laughing.

Recipe Serves 8

Shopping List

1 (750-ml) bottle moscato
3 c. pink lemonade
1 can lemon-lime soda
1 c. vodka
2 c. sliced strawberries

Pitcher, stirrer, glasses, knife, plate for sugar
1. Rim glasses with lemon wedge and dip in sugar.
2. In a large pitcher, stir together moscato, pink lemonade, soda, vodka, and fruit. Add ice and stir to combine.
3. Divide among glasses and serve
Recipe & Photo courtesy of Delish


Kombucha-Campari Spritz 

The fermented tea everyone’s drinking has recently made its debut as a cocktail mixer. When you think about, that makes a lot of sense. Kombucha is tart, fizzy, and a little bit funky, just the thing to mix with your favorite spirits. Here pair ginger kombucha with Campari for a low-alcohol drink you can sip all night.

Recipe Serves 2


Shopping List
1 organic lemon
2 ounces Campari
2 cups ice
4 ounces ginger kombucha

Cocktail shaker, medium frying pan

1. Char the lemon garnish
Cut the lemon in half crosswise, then cut half into thin rounds; save the remaining half for another use. In a dry medium frying pan over medium-high heat, add the lemon rounds and cook, turning once, until fragrant and lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Make the Campari spritz 
In a cocktail shaker, add the Campari and half the ice. Shake well, about 30 seconds.

Fill two rocks glasses with the remaining ice. Strain the Campari into the glass and top off with as much kombucha as you like. Garnish each glass with a charred lemon slice and serve.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of SunBasket


Moscow Mule Recipe

A Moscow mule is actually very easy to make. It only has three ingredients: vodka, ginger beer, and lime. We like to garnish it with mint, but it’s not necessary.

Recipe Serves 2


Shopping List

2 oz. vodka
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. (12-oz.) can ginger beer
Lime wedges, for garnish
Mint (optional for additional garnish)


Cooper mugs, Stirrers, knife

1.Fill two copper mugs with ice. Pour 1 ounce vodka and 1/2 ounce lime juice over ice in each mug. Pour ginger beer into each cup until mostly full. Stir.
2. Garnish with mint and lime wedge to serve.

Throwing a Party and don’t want to play bartender all night?  Serve this Moscow Mule punch- which is basically one giant Moscow mule.

Shopping List
4 c. ice
4 c. ginger beer
3 c. vodka
1 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 c. mint leaves, plus more for garnish
limes, sliced, plus more for garnish
Punch bowl, Ladle, Cooper mugs, Stirrers, knife

1. In a large punch bowl, combine ice, ginger beer, vodka, lime juice, lime slices, and mint
2. Ladle punch into glasses or copper mugs and garnish with more mint.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of Delish

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