Suffolk’s New Styrofoam & Plastic Ban 295

This Tuesday, April 9th,  Suffolk County lawmakers passed three bills at the Suffolk County Legislature in Riverhead. These bills ban the use of single-use plastic straws, cups, containers, beverage stirrers and other plastic and Styrofoam items used by food service establishments.

Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) sponsored the bills, she chairs the legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee as well as its Single-Use Plastic Reduction Task Force. “This is sweeping legislation to begin weeding out single-use plastics,” said Hahn.

When proposing the bills Hahn cited data from the World Ocean Conservancy stating that eight (8) million metric tons of plastics enter the oceans every year which adds to the One hundred and fifty (150) million metric tons that already circulate through our oceans.  Hahn said the impacts have been “devastating to marine life and ocean ecosystems.” She continued to state that “Ingested plastic has been found in more than 60 percent of all seabirds and in 100 percent of sea turtles species. The impacts of plastic and, in particular, polystyrene are also a tangible threat to human health.”

Under the first bill, 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 bill makes accommodations for the disabled whose medical conditions make it necessary for them to use of plastic straws, for these individual’s plastic straws would be available on request.

A separate bill bans restaurants from using Styrofoam takeout containers and packaging “peanuts”. The polystyrene ban exempts items used to store uncooked eggs, raw meat, pork, fish, seafood and poultry.

The third bill will ban the sale of single-use plastics at county parks and beaches, including plastic utensils, plates and cups. prohibiting the county’s park and beach concessionaires from using single-use cups, plates, utensils or beverage straws made from non-biodegradable substances. These measures will  go into effect when current park vendor contracts are up and new contracts are negotiated.

The three bills passed the Legislature without an opposing vote.  The changes affecting food establishments and retailers will begin January 1, 2020 to allow businesses time to adjust ordering and use existing inventory.

 

 

 

 

 

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Coding and Makerspace at South Country School 76

Coding and Makerspace at the Verne W. Critz Library

 South Country Central School District libraries are no longer a place to just hear a story and select a book. The district’s librarians have been teaching crucial technology skills that will help prepare students for the 21st Century workplace. Verne W. Critz librarian Lynn Cullen explained that in addition to lessons in research, students are now learning basic coding skills and are inventing and creating in Makerspace labs.

At Verne W. Critz Elementary School, students are afforded the opportunity for hands-on activities that require critical thinking skills, problem-solving and collaborative team work. Ms. Cullen, along with the support of Principal Mandy Mazziotti, have furnished the library with engaging products such as PowerClix, Brix, K’nex, Keva, Squigz and IO blocks. The library will soon introduce modular robotics called Cubelets.

During a recent trip to the library, second grade students collaborated to design an incline plane with Keva wood planks, which allowed a ball to travel without falling off-course. Not only did the students use teamwork to design their course, they utilized science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics principles to acquire their results.

Verne W. Critz Elementary School students worked in the school library with Keva wood planks and used STEAM principles

 

Photo courtesy of the South Country Central School District

Town Receives Tree City Growth Award 46

Brookhaven Town Receives Tree City Growth Award from Arbor Day Foundation

Town has earned Tree City Designation for Four Consecutive Years

Farmingville, NY – Brookhaven Town has for the fourth consecutive year been designated a “Tree City USA” by the National Arbor Day Foundation, and in recognition of its ongoing successful tree programs, the Town has this year also earned the “Tree City Growth Award.” Brookhaven spends over $1.4 million per year on community forestry programs. Pictured left to right are New York State DEC Supervising Forester John D. Wernet; Councilman Kevin LaValle; Councilwoman Valerie M. Cartright; Councilwoman Jane Bonner; Supervisor Ed Romaine; Councilman Dan Panico; Councilman Neil Foley; Councilman Michael Loguercio; and Town Clerk Donna Lent.

Supervisor Romaine said, “I am proud to have the Town recognized as a Tree City USA. We have given away and planted thousands of trees and strictly controlled the clearing of trees across Brookhaven to help protect and preserve the environment. I thank the Arbor Day Foundation for honoring the Town and all the residents who have followed our lead to make Brookhaven a greener place to live.”

Superintendent of Highways Dan Losquadro said, “The preservation of healthy trees is a priority of the Brookhaven Highway Department. In instances when trees were planted too close to the Town Right-Of-Way (ROW) and roots were growing into the roadway, we remove the trees and replace them with street-friendly trees, planted the appropriate distance from the road.”

Tree City USA is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, benefits of a Tree City USA program include:

  • Reduce costs for energy, stormwater management, and erosion control
  • Cut energy consumption by up to 25%
  • Boost property values across your community
  • Build stronger ties to your neighborhood and community

Growth Award

The Tree City USA Growth Award is awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize higher levels of tree care by participating Tree City USA communities. The Growth Award highlights innovative programs and projects as well as increased commitment of resources for urban forestry. It also provides an opportunity to share new ideas and successes across the country. More information about the Arbor Day Foundation can be found at www.arborday.org.

Growth Awards are given to communities that have earned the Tree City designation for at least two consecutive years and:

  • Engage in education and public relations programs on the importance of planting trees in their community, and
  • Create partnerships with utilities, Green Industry Partners or other organizations
 Photo Courtesy of Town of Brookhaven

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