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New York City

Goodbye, Expanded Polystyrene Foam, We Will Not Miss You

plasticfoamThis is a picture of a piece of expanded polystyrene foam- the ubiquitous squishy plastic foam that takeout food containers, hot coffee cups, hospital and school meal trays and packing peanuts are all commonly made from- under an electron microscope. Plastic foam (often referred to by the brand name Styrofoam) is lightweight and well insulating; it’s also unrecyclable and pretty damn near indestructible when put into a landfill.

There’s been talk of a NYC ban on plastic foam products for years, and a ban was actually approved under Mayor Bloomberg in 2013, but the city decided to do a study to see whether there might be an effective and efficient way to recycle it. That study concluded that trying to recycle the foam wouldn’t be feasible, so now it’s out. 

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How Diverse Are NYC Cultural Institutions?

1900meltingpotNew York City has been reknowned as America’s melting pot long before it became the Big Apple. Today the city’s populatioin is so diverse that no one group dominates. But is leadership at the city’s cultural institutions keeping pace with these demographics?

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Remembering Mario Cuomo’s Environmental Achievements in NYS

mariocuomoSince former NYS Governor Mario Cuomo passed away on New Year’s Day at age 82, journalists across the state have been commenting on his legacy, including his leadership on education, AIDS, transportation safety and last but not least, the environment.

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What Park Are You? A Buzzfeed-Style Quiz from the NYC Parks Dept

centralpark_winterBecause quizzes that compare you and your life to classic movies/movie stars/literary characters/superheros/types of sandwiches or whatever are all the rage on the Internet, the Parks Department has created this immensely fun, short quiz to determine which city park you most closely resemble. While so far no one we know has gotten Stuyvesant Cove as their Park, see if you can spot the site of the Park before it was built in the pictures accompanying one of the questions (major hint: it’s in the third group from the top!).

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Forever Sandy: New Steps Toward a Full Recovery

aftersandyThough it’s been more than two years since Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast, destroying homes, businesses and infrastructure, many communities are still struggling to recover fully.

Part of the slow comeback has to with money, of course. Even though more than $6 billion in FEMA emergency funds have been paid in Sandy claims, lots of homeowners have had their claims denied. Now it seems that those claims may partly have been denied based on false insurance reports. Those reports have now been ordered to be made available to homeowners who are currently suing for compensation from insurers. You can read more about that story in the Asbury Park Press here.

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E-Waste Recycling Law Is Now in Effect; Here’s What You Need to Know

ewastelawHappy new year! We hope your holidays were filled with love, friendship, joy, delicious food and of course, new stuff. And if that new stuff is electronic and replaces some of your old stuff, you’ll need to be a little more careful about how you get rid of that old stuff.

As of New Year’s Day, 2015, it is illegal to leave old electronics out on the curb for regular garbage pickup. And that’s a really good thing, because computers, TVs and lots of other electronics have reusable components like rare earth, and recyclable materials such as rigid plastic, metal and glass.

There are several ways to get old electronics where they need to be to be in compliance with the new law:

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