Poop on the Street

Dearest Poopers, Looking forward to seeing you at the Visitor's Center for tomorrow's panel conversation, "Digesting the Design Behind Newtown Creek."  It's good to bring things inside, but lately I've also been scooping the poop on the street. Check out what some of the $h*t my fellow New Yorkers say in our newest video!

And peaceful pooping, whatever you doo.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Digesting Design

Dearest Poopers, Our fundraising campaign is in full swing to bring Eat $h*t! How Our Waste Can Save the World to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. If you haven't yet, take a moment to check it out and help us reach an international audience with this critical message.

In other exciting news, we have been selected for the Eurohypo AG Engagement for the Community Award for excellence in engaging the community and exemplifying Eurohypo's Passion for Solutions. This award is presented to small non-profit organizations that have a large impact on their community. Eurohypo is pleased to award The POOP Project for their unique work in raising awareness of global sanitation. (And we're pleased to receive it!)

Lastly, please join The Puru this Tuesday, May 15 at 6:30pm for the first installment of the 2012 Spring Speaker Series at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek. We'll be "Digesting the Design Behind Newtown Creek" with the very experts who made it happen, acclaimed artist/architects Vito Acconci, Greg Clawson and George Trakas.

Until then, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Com-POO-sting

Dear Poopers, Thank you to all who made it out last week for our conversation on Technology for Green Communities. I hope you'll join us for the final event in the Fall Speaker Series this Tuesday, Nov. 1 all about COMPOST!

Join me for presentations and a panel discussion with special guests:

Daniel Tainow, all around green guru, "Compost Dan" is Education Director at the Lower East Side Ecology Center and a good friend of The POOP Project.

Jennifer Blackwell, a self-described composting fanatic, is also an objectively-described expert and manager of the The NYC Compost Project in partnership with the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

David Hurd is Director of the Office of Recycling Outreach & Education with GrowNYC, going block by block to help New Yorkers recycle more and use less.

Tuesday, November 1 6:30-8:30pm Visitor Center at Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Click here for directions.)

Looking forward to seeing you there, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn “The Puru” Shafner

Tuesday: Technology for Green Communities

Dearest Poopers, First off, thanks so much to all those who made it out to Dixon Place for the work-in-progress premiere of Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World. Ironically, I was quite artistically constipated in the weeks leading up to the premiere, and then filled page after page with text in the days just before the show. It was a little messy in the end, but what do you expect from crappy art? Looking forward to future revisions and a finished piece in the new year.

I also enjoyed my first radio interview this past Monday with Danny Valdes of Radio Provacateur. If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen in HERE.

It was fun to be the one answering questions, but now I'm looking forward to heading back into the moderator's chair this Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6:30-8:30 for the penultimate panel in the Fall Speaker Series with the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, "Technology for Green Communities."

Join me for presentations and a panel discussion with special guests:

Michael Heimbinder, creator of HabitatMap, an online mapping and social networking platform that connects citizens to their communities.

Shai Lauros, helping New York City's buildings go green with sustainable building methods and materials as Executive Director of GreenHomeNYC.

Gennaro Brooks-Church from Eco Brooklyn, a full service design and building firm creating Brownstones with zero waste, zero new materials, and zero energy to run.

Inger Staggs Yancey from Brooklyn Greenroof, using thirsty plants to and high-tech soil containers to transform city roofs into ecological mega-machines.

Tuesday, October 25 6:30-8:30pm Visitor Center at Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Click here for directions.)

Looking forward to seeing you there, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Green Your Home from the Bottom Up!

Dearest Poopers, Thanks so much to all those who made it out this past week for our POOP Project events; they're always poopy, but never crappy! We fed our metropolitan minds on the topic of urban farming last Tuesday with visionary ideas from Inger Staggs YanceyAnnie Novak, Dr. Dickson Despommier and surprise guest Alec Baxt in a panel conversation with the Visitor's Center at Newtown Creek. Then Saturday night we ranted, raved and exorcised the demons of shameful shitting at the VENT Performance Festival. And look! I even got my name printed on the wall like a fancy artist!! Mama would be so proud...if only it wasn't about poop.

But it is about poop. It always is.

And it gives me great pleasure to know that this Saturday, Oct. 1 from 11am-5pm, I'll be helping people green their homes from their bottoms up! The POOP Project will be holding court at GreenHomeNYC's NEW New York Block Party, a revolutionary reinterpretation of the traditional street fair that will transform one city block into an urban classroom and bring practical, environmentally-friendly ideas straight to your doorstep. That is, if you happen to live on North 11th Street between Berry and Wythe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, because that's where the event is. Otherwise, I invite you to make that block your temporary doorstep for the day!.

But wait--there's more!

People often say to me: "Puru! I love you. You know so much about poop! Do you want to get married?" And I say, "No. Anyway, not to you." To which they say, "Ouch! Oh, wait. I'm over it! Still, oh great Puru, how can I put some of your wise environmental principles into practice with my very own potty?"

In answer to this query, it brings me even greater pleasure to know that this Saturday I'll be bringing you two--count them--1, 2 ways to put your money where my mouth is. The POOP Project has partnered with two companies that excite me so much I just might tinkle! Which is exactly what they'd want me to do.

So, what are these mystery organizations? It's a mystery!!! That will be revealed over the next few days.

Till then, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Fall Speaker Series Starts Tuesday

Dearest Poopers, Thank you to all those who came out to Club Make and Do's show this past Thursday. It was a smash! And I got a chance to show off my new hat.

But that's old news now. And I know you crave more. More!  MORE!!!

So get your calendars out, because here's what's coming up:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 20: panel conversation about urban farming at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek
  • Saturday, Sept. 24: performance lecture on the history if shit at the Vent Festival
  • Saturday, Oct. 1: tabling at the NEW New York D-I-Y Block Party
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4: The Clap is featured as part of Adult Education
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19: the premiere of Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World at Dixon Place
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25: panel conversation about technology for green communities at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1: panel conversation about composting at (you guessed it!) the Visitor Center

But it's a Saturday, so for now here's details on just the first two.

The POOP Project is proud to once again play moderator for a series of panel events at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, the city's largest wastewater treatment plant. Join us this Tuesday, September 20th from 6:30-8:30pm for presentations and conversations all about urban farming!

Featuring guest speakers:

Annie Novak, who feeds Greenpoint from the Eagle Street Rooftop Farms and teaches urbanites where their food comes from.

Dr. Dickson Despommier whose vision, The Vertical Farms, would enable cities to feed themselves from skyscrapers.

Inger Staggs Yancey from Brooklyn Greenroof, using thirsty plants to transform city roofs into ecological mega-machines.

For more information about and directions to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, CLICK HERE or on the poster above.

Now if you've got something to say (and who doesn't?), consider joining me next Saturday for the Vent Festival at Gowanus Studio Space!

The POOP Project is pleased to join the Vent Festival from 6-9pm to fume about The Agony and the Excrement, a humorous performance lecture about the history of sanitation and the social factors that lead to "shameful shitting." If you missed this lecture at Adult Education earlier this year, now's your chance! The line-up will also include Damali AbramsDanielle AbramsAisha Cousins, D'LuxeJason Gaspar and the Rant Van.

PLUS come early (from 3-6pm) to make your own cider with Atom Cianfarani, encounter Nurit Bar-Shai's growing organisms, witness Coral Short's 1000 Sighs and more!

THEN come back the next day for a 1pm performance workshop with veteran performance artist Rob Andrews and a 4pm artist's conversation  featuring Danielle Abrams, Rob Andrews, Coral Short, Aisha Cousins and D'Luxe. Moderated by Maya Suess, the beautiful, brainy and benevolent curator of the whole darned thing.

As a bonus, I'd like to leave you with a video from another project I'm involved in that generates applause for the public good. We call it The Clap because the joy's contagious. You can learn more on the Facebook page.

Wishing you a great weekend and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

 

Bob Performs in Public

Dearest Poopers, First off, a big thank you to everyone who turned out last night to make the final installment in DEP's Summer Speaker Series a great success. The diverse viewpoints of Andrew Faust, Kaled Alamarie and Dr. Paul Mankiewicz supplied fodder for an intense debate about how best to achieve "A Sustainable Future", one I wish we'd only had more time to pursue. Lastly, I want to honor Julia Perciasepe and Jessica Bergeron, my collaborators and consecutive Special Events Coordinators with the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek who made it all possible. Stay tuned for future collaborations...

And while we're waiting, make sure to check out BOB the Pavilion, the communal composting toilet currently on display at Columbia University. In fact, why not do it tonight AND catch a show? I'll be in attendance; hope to see you there!

Peaceful Pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

PERFORMANCY FORUM XIV organized by PPL AT BOB THE PAVILION

Wednesday, July 13, 7-10:00 PM

TESS DWORMAN performing an intimate, solo dance piece

PAUL PINTO AND JEFFREY YOUNG (OF THINGNY) performing a mini opera tentatively entitled Jeffrey Young and Paul Pinto Run for Office with the Help of Paul Pinto as his Wingman.

ANYA LIFTIG * performance art * performance art *

BEN SPATZ/MAXIMILIAN BALDUZZI/URBAN RESEARCH THEATER 

MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH an excerpt from A Gathering of Very Articulate Individuals 

CHRISTY WALSH performing her I had a dream of an endless string of beautiful days in the desert, a dance/video work

and

PPL composer BRIAN MCCORKLE, performing an excerpt from the work-in-progress Institute_Institut concert-style with MEGAN COOPER, GREG LOEWER JR, DANIELLA FISCHETTI, AND MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH

Bob the Pavilion is a composting toilet and inflated platform for performance and more http://www.bobthepavilion.com/

Bob The Pavilion was supported by a grant from Columbia University School of the Arts (SOA) and Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning (GSAPP).

A Sustainable Future TONIGHT!

Dearest Poopers, I've just arrived back from exploring the deep, dark Northwoods of Wisconsin. While technically not a poop-themed trip, I did come across an fascinating artifact while sifting through a local thrift shop. I believe it is none other than Mary Poppins' plunger!

I hope that, in between your Merry Poopin', you'll have a chance to check out tonight's panel conversation, "A Sustainable Future: Green Innovations" hosted by the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek. I'm incredibly excited to pick the brilliant brains of permaculture expert Andrew Faust (Center for Bioregional Living), green designer Paul S. Mankiewicz, Ph.D. (The Gaia Institute) and ecologist Kaled Alamarie (Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, DEP--filling in for John McLaughlin). Seriously folks, this is top caliber talent. If you don't believe me, check out their bios following the poster below.

Looking forward to seeing you there, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Click the picture above to see the full flyer, or click HERE to get complete directions to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek.

Kaled Alamarie, graduated from Hunter College in 1997 a degree in Geology and a duel masters in both urban studies and Geology from Queens College. Kaled has been working for the NYCDEP for 11 years. During his tenure with the DEP he worked on the ecological restoration of Pennsylvania & Fountain Avenue landfill, Alley Creek wetland/upland restoration, Thrusby Basin Restoration, and most recently he is supervising the design and construction of the Jamaica Bay Watershed Green Infrastructure pilot studies.

Andrew Faust is one of the premier Permaculture teachers and designers in North America with nearly two decades of experience in the field. His passionate and visionary presentation and curriculum has been inspiring and motivating students since his days as an alternative school teacher at Upattinas in Glenmoore, PA. Andrew lived off the grid in West Virginia for 8 years where he designed and built a Permaculture inspired homestead including a 1600 sq ft strawbale house. He moved to Brooklyn in 2007 and has been applying his knowledge to the urban landscape culminating in a Permaculture Design Certification course many consider life changing. He is developing The Center for Bioregional Living in Ellenville, NY with his partner Adriana Magaña as a pilot campus for his students, clients and baby daughter Juniper.

Dr. Paul S. Mankiewicz, Executive Director of the Gaia Institute, received his Ph.D. from the City University of New York/New York Botanical Garden Joint Program in Plant Sciences. He holds patents on a modular, in-vessel composting system, an ultralightweight green roof plant growth medium, and a biogeochemical reactor to breakdown dioxins and PCBs. Past president of the Torrey Botanical Society & board member of the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District, he is also a past member of the Citywide Recyling Advisory Board and formerly chair of the Solid Waste Advisory Board of the Bronx. Dr. Mankiewicz has designed and built natural landscapes to provide ecosystems services including ecological filters to treat water, capture carbon, and lower energy costs in urban centers. A number of working models have been constructed, including the first green roof in the Bronx, the first industrial-scale stormwater treatment meadow and green wall on a six acre truck-to-barge material handling site at SIMS recycling facility on the Bronx River, and the first process water/greywater treatment green roof on the Linda Tool Corporation in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the first ten of the Mayors PlaNYC 2030 enhanced tree pits for street-side storm water capture.

Discover A Sustainable Future, July 12!

Dearest Poopers, Please forgive my delay in updating the site of late. I've been deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin traveling, camping, and pooping in holes. Meanwhile, there's so much excitement happening back in New York, with two POOP events coming up next week, and one special event I know you'll enjoy.

The POOPs!

1. Tues, 7/12, 6:30pm, "A Sustainable Future: Green Innovations." A panel conversation with Andrew Faust (Center for Bioregional Living), Paul S. Mankiewicz, Ph.D. (The Gaia Institute) and John McLaughlin (Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, DEP). Hosted by the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, and moderated by The Puru.

2. Sat, 7/16, 10am-4pm, City of Water Day Festival. Stop by the POOP table during this FREE day of entertainment, education & adventure on Governor's Island celebrating the potential of our NYC/NJ waterfront!

The Special Event!

3. Wed, 7/13, 7-10pm, Panoply Performancy Forum XIV at BOB the Pavilion.  Featuring theatre, music and dance at a composting toilet and inflated platform on the Columbia University campus.

DETAILS!!

1.

Click the picture above to see the full flyer, or click HERE to get complete directions to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek.

2.

July 16: City of Water Day Festival in NY & NJ From the upper Hudson to Raritan Bay, we are a City of Water. Spread the word and come to the waterfront on July 16, City of Water Day! On this day, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance gathers many partners to showcase the potential of the New York/New Jersey Harbor. Come, enjoy, and help us revitalize the waterfront with this annual, one-of-a-kind festival for the entire family!

This year, festivities will take place at Governors Island and Liberty State Park. Free ferries will get you to Governors Island from Manhattan and Brooklyn (click here for the schedules) and to Liberty State Park. (Click here for the schedule of free transportation between Governors Island and Liberty State Park, and here for information about other ways to get to Liberty State Park.)

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • FREE boat tours for thousands on historic and educational vessels. Click here for more information
  • FREE kayaking, rowing and fishing opportunities
  • Dozens of FREE arts, crafts, games and activities for kids
  • FREE ferries between Governors Island & Liberty State Park
  • An amazing range of demonstrations, hands-on projects, free merchandise and water-related literature at the Waterfront Activity Fair--INCLUDING THE POOP PROJECT TABLE!
  • Car-free waterfront bicycling
  • Delicious food from award-winning vendors
  • Live music, and much more!!!

If you can't make it to Liberty State Park or Governors Island on July 16, enjoy City of Water Day festivities at other waterfronts around the metropolitan region, including Harlem River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Staten Island, Bronx River Park, Battery Park City and Hudson River Park. Click here for information about City of Water Day in Your Neighborhood.

3.

PERFORMANCY FORUM XIV organized by PPL AT BOB THE PAVILION

Wednesday, July 13, 7-10:00 PM

TESS DWORMAN performing an intimate, solo dance piece

PAUL PINTO AND JEFFREY YOUNG (OF THINGNY) performing a mini opera tentatively entitled Jeffrey Young and Paul Pinto Run for Office with the Help of Paul Pinto as his Wingman.

ANYA LIFTIG * performance art * performance art *

BEN SPATZ/MAXIMILIAN BALDUZZI/URBAN RESEARCH THEATER 

MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH an excerpt from A Gathering of Very Articulate Individuals 

CHRISTY WALSH performing her I had a dream of an endless string of beautiful days in the desert, a dance/video work

and

PPL composer BRIAN MCCORKLE, performing an excerpt from the work-in-progress Institute_Institut concert-style with MEGAN COOPER, GREG LOEWER JR, DANIELLA FISCHETTI, AND MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH

Bob the Pavilion is a composting toilet and inflated platform for performance and more http://www.bobthepavilion.com/

Bob The Pavilion was supported by a grant from Columbia University School of the Arts (SOA) and Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning (GSAPP).

--

Very much looking forward to seeing everyone there and wishing you, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Newtown Creek: Past, Present and Future

Dearest Poopers, The next panel conversation is almost upon us!  In fact, it's TODAY at 6:30pm!

 

 

A century ago, Newtown Creek had more cargo careening down the banks of Greenpoint and Long Island City than did the Mississippi. Now her docks are used to park cars, and her bottom--soiled by a century's worth of industrial pollution and oil spillage--has earned this toxic creek federal Superfund status. Learn more about the rehabilitation process now under way, and the economic/environmental advantages of once again utilizing our waterways instead of our highways.

Featuring Mitch Waxman (Newtown Pentacle) and Kate Zidar (SWIM Coalition, Newtown Creek Alliance).

NOTE: Due to the birth of a wee miracle, Mike Heimbinder (HabitatMap) will not be able to join us.  Alas, nor and Paul Parkhill (Place in History). I know, I know...excuses!

Looking forward to seeing you there and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

A Day for Pee-On-Earth

Dearest Poopers, While we normally extol the virtues of that brown stuff from behind, today we're turning around to wish you a very happy Pee-On-Earth Day!

But, please, hold it for just one more minute, and mark your calendars for Newtown Creek: Past, Present, and Future, a panel conversation happening this Thursday, June 23, from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, and moderated by The Puru.  Join experts Michael Heimbinder (HabitatMap), Kate Zidar (SWIM Coalition, Newtown Creek Alliance) and Paul Parkhill (Place in History) for an enlightening and engaging conversation about one of New York's most polluted water bodies--and what we can do about it.

And now...

It's always been good to be Number 1, but did you know that the yellow stuff flowing out of your urethra is actually liquid GOLD?  That's right!  Your very own urine is brimming with the nitrogen and phosphorous that plants crave to make them green and healthy. And today is the day to start spreading the love. (Unless you started last year like The Puru...)

Carol Steinfeld, wastewater expert and founder of the holiday, tells you how to do it:

PEECYCLE either directly or by depositing your contribution in a container you take outside and apply to: - Soil, wood chips or the forest floor (not pavement) - Your composter or compost pile (makes brown leaves and woodchips compost faster)

Or dilute it with 9 parts water to 1 part urine, and pour around plants! (Dilute or distribute widely: Lots of urine deposited in one spot on your lawn can result in nitrogen burn!)

She's even created this delightful decal to help you remember:

Now go out there and spread the love!!

Wishing you purposeful peeing and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling Rules in NYC

Dear Poopers, Thank you to all who came out yesterday to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek for the panel on Art and Sustainability. Through the natural, meditative works of George Trakas to Mary Mattingly's futuristic, floating Waterpod, I hope we scratched the surface of how art can promote sustainability in personal, communal and planetary planes. Stay tuned for the next panel, "Newtown Creek: Past, Present and Future" coming up June 23 (more info here).

At that very same Visitor's Center this past Thurs, May 19, I was found sifting through the garbage with a bunch of my Brooklyn neighbors. No, we weren't dumpster diving again (excuse me, "urban foraging"), but taking part in a recycling workshop run by David Hurd and Jae Watkins from the NYC Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (OROE).

The OROE is one arm of GrowNYC, which is not exactly a government program, but a non-profit which, in their words, "improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations." After a little context from the quick Mr. Hurd (in regards to both wit and pace--just try to keep up with his jam-packed 5 minute intro to the economics of recycling in NYC), we were treated to a showing of the Emmy-winning NYC TV production The Green Apple: Recycling (click the title to watch). Our group scored highly in the "Choose Which Bin" game Ms. Watkins facilitated afterward, and we challenged Mr. Hurd's encyclopedic knowledge with a barrage of questions. And then we ate snacks.

Here are some of the highlights of what I learned, followed by a few tips on how to be a stellar NYC recycler.

  • From 1947 to 2001, solid waste from all five boroughs was shipped to Fresh Kills on Staten Island, at one time the world's largest landfill. Since Fresh Kills is now getting made over into a sprawling park (with a composting toilet!), the 25,000 tons of trash that New Yorkers and their businesses create each day is trucked away at a total cost of around $300,000,000 each year. Generally speaking, Manhattan's waste is incinerated in New Jersey at a Waste to Energy facility (WTE), while most trash from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx will wind up in nearly full or at-capacity landfills in Pennsylvania, Ohio or Virginia. (For a complete breakdown, download this Concerned Citizens report. Also check out this great NYC recycling overview from Baruch college.) Paper recycling, on the other hand, happens at Pratt Industries paper mill on Staten Island and makes the city a profit of around $35,000,000/year. In similar economic terms, the cost of carting metal, glass and plastic to a landfill is over $100/ton, while transporting the same ton to a recycling facility costs only $58.

  • In 2004-05, NYC conducted a thorough study of the waste found in both residential and street bins. They learned that 35% of the waste NYC residents produce can be recycled at the curb as pictured on the above pie chart. Of that 35% potentially-recyclable material, only half of it actually makes it to an appropriate bin, leading to a 17% "capture rate." In other words, New York City creates a resource from 17% of its waste.
  • 13% of NYC waste is composed of "other plastics," some of which are indeed recyclable but not collected by the city. (It is possible that the range of plastics NYC can recycle will increase in Fall 20012, when a "materials recovery facility" in south Brooklyn is expected to be completed.) Another 28% is organic matter that could be composted. As it is, all that rotting fruit makes landfills feel gassy, releasing harmful methane and CO2 into the atmosphere if not captured.

So what can we do, humble and concerned citizens, to see that more of our trash doesn't just go to waste?

  1. REDUCE! Let's face it. Much of the stuff we buy is, well, just stuff. The best way to prevent our lives from becoming cluttered is not to accumulate stuff in the first place. Consider also how you might reduce your intake of materials; you could buy a fruit with its own packaging (like an orange or banana) instead of something in plastic, carry a reusable coffee mug or water bottle and, for goodness sake, bring your own bag.
  2. REUSE! The city has a number of programs to help businesses and individuals pass on materials--from furniture to fabric--that they no longer need, preventing landfill waste, raw material manufacturing, and reducing cost. For small-scale, interpersonal trading, consider holding a swap meet or posting on Craigslist or Freecycle. Get creative! Here are 6 ways to reuse that plastic bottle, from crafty coin purses to designer lamps!
  3. RECYCLE! Let's face it: one only needs so many plastic bottle lamps. So the rest go in the recycling bin. But which bin? Inside a bag, too? And should that bag be blue or clear? You already know that recycling rules, now let's learn some regulations (see a complete list from the city here).
  • The machines at the recycling facility can automatically screen out items that are not recyclable, but it takes time and energy. By carefully sorting at home, you make the whole process more efficient and ensure that resources are spent on recycling, not clearing out the waste traps.
  • If you have clearly labeled bins, you don't need the bags! Trash goes in the trash bin, papers in the green-labeled bin, and metal/glass/plastic in the blue-labeled bin. (Call 311 to order your own decals, or click here.) If you must bag, don't be fooled by those blue "recycling bags" in the store--NYC mandates recycling goes in clear bags.
  • Paper means basically what you think it does: magazines, mail, newspaper, cereal boxes, etc. Corrugated cardboard needs to be cut in to small pieces or else flattened and bundled with twine. You don't have to remove every staple or all the plastic windows from your envelopes, but don't recycle anything with lots of tape or glue on it. Paper stained with food (i.e. napkins, paper plates) are also not recyclable.
  • Metals/glass/plastic is a bit more complicated. All household metals are acceptable, and all glass jars or bottles (no mirrors, light bulbs, dishes, etc.), but the plastics are a bit trickier. While most plastic nowadays is recyclable, NYC only recycles numbers 1 and 2, and then only when the neck is smaller than the base as with bottles and jugs. That means all those take-out trays, Starbucks cups, plastic bags and yogurt containers should go in the trash even if they are labeled with a 1 or 2 (something about the melting temperature...). The plastic cap is also not recyclable, so throw that away before recycling the bottle (metal beer caps are ok). Additionally, used cartons and Tetra Paks (from milk, juice, soup, etc.) also go in the blue bin. THUS, you might think of the blue as your "Metal/glass/bottle/jug/carton" bin. Now isn't that easy to remember?
  • When thinking about which bin to use, consider the item holistically. If 51% or more of the product is a recyclable material, then it's recyclable. That Pringles can, for example, has both paper and metal. You could separate the bottom from the cardboard tube and recycle each separately, or just recycle in the green bin since more than 51% of the can is paper.
  • NYC is working on expanding the range of what's recyclable at the curb. In the meantime, any store larger than 10,000 sq/ft or a chain with 5+ stores is legally required to offer plastic bag recycling. CFL lights are recyclable at places like Home Depot and Ikea, while batteries, cell phones and other electronic waste can be taken to your local electronics store (more details here). Or check out this reader-recommended exchange program from Verizon that turns your electronic recyclables into gift cards.

Lastly, remember that 28% organic, gassy waste decomposing in the landfills? Give those veggie scraps, old flower arrangements and grass clippings a rebirth instead of a burial, and compost them into new soil! You can compost at home in a pre-made backyard bin or one you build with friends, an apartment-sized worm bin, or keep your scraps in the freezer (to prevent smell) and drop them off at an actively composting community garden or local collection. (GrowNYC lists a number of drop-off sites in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn--some of which are only offered through June 25 as a pilot program, and I'm sure could use your support.) NYC will even take your fall leaves and Christmas trees to nourish plants throughout the city. For more information or to become a trained compost captain, check out the Lower East Side Ecology Center or the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

While we are not responsible for all of New York City's waste, we can take responsibility for our own. So spread the word!  Recycling rules.

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Cruising At the Creek

Dearest Poopers, While we're waiting for Bob's ship to come in, can I interest you in doing something forbidden this weekend? Something casual and exciting? Maybe with someone you've never met before?

Well, dear friend, you've got to go cruising down Newtown Creek.

***Newtown Creek Cruise***

When: Saturday, May 21st, Departs 10:00am sharp, Returns 1:00pm Where: Pier 17 South Street Seaport  [directions] Price: $60, to purchase tickets visit the Working Harbor Committee website.

Join us for a special water tour of Newtown Creek with expert narration from historical and environmental guest speakers. There are limited tickets available on the MV American Princess for a very rare tour of Newtown Creek. Guest narrators will cover points of industrial and historical interest as well as environmental and conservation issues during your three-hour exploration. New York’s forgotten history will be revealed - as well as bright plans for the Creek's future.  MV American Princess is a large comfortable vessel with indoor and outdoor seating. Complimentary soft drinks and a tour brochure are included.  Cruise runs rain or shine.  Queries? Contact Tour Chairman Mitch Waxman: waxmanstudio@gmail.com

Hosted by Hidden Harbor Tours ® in association with the Newtown Creek Alliance.

 

But there's MORE!

The POOP Project is proud to announce the second in DEP's Summer Speaker Series on June 1, 2011: Art and Sustainability.  With presenting artists George Trakas and Mary Mattingly, and a panel discussion moderated by yours truly.

SWEET BUDDHA!  There's still more!!

New York City enjoys public curbside programs that sweep our bottles, cans and cardboards swiftly away to be recycled. But due to lack of access to recycling facilities, not every piece of plastic or paper is actually recyclable in NYC, and a host of other cities. Google your municipality or call the local environmental department to learn more, and if you're in New York, check out this event tomorrow night (recycling information also at the NYCWasteLess website).

 

Well, I'm exhausted.  How about you?

Looking forward to seeing you cruising 'round Newtown Creek sometime soon. Just be careful who you wink at and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

 

Poop all over the place

The People's Own Organic Power Project is more than pleased to announce no less than three--that's right THREE!--opportunities to see The Puru in action the first week in May. SUMMARY:

1. Tues, May 3, 8pm, Adult Education presents: "Social Anxiety" at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  I'll be presenting on "The Agony and the Excrement."

2. Wed, May 4, 6:30pm, "Water for Cities: The Urban Challenge." The first in a summer series of environmental panels with the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, and moderated by yours poo-ly.

3. Sun, May 8, 7pm, "Mother May I?" An evening of performances at The Delancey honoring mothers everywhere, and benefiting SIX SEEDS: The Persephone Project, a theater piece by warner|shaw opening in June at The Tank.

FULL DETAILS:

1.

ADULT EDUCATION PRESENTS: "SOCIAL ANXIETY" Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 8 pm (doors at 7:30) Union Hall in Park Slope 702 Union St. @ 5th Ave $5 cover (buy tickets online here)

BEN DOLNICK: "First Base and Beyond" Dolnick will teach you how to have a girlfriend in middle school and how to write about it when you grow up.

CAISSIE ST.ONGE: "This is Your Parents on Drugs" St.Onge discusses survival tactics for the moment you're old enough to realize that dad's not going out for milk.

SHAWN SHAFNER: "The Agony and the Excrement" In the 1500s, someone actually had to write a book on manners including instructions not to, "foul the staircases, corridors, or closets with urine or other filth." Shafner will explain what happened to the good old days, and how the potty has trained us.

JILL STODDARD: "The Body: Tales of a Traitor" No matter how hard we try to make our bodies into ornaments of how sophisticated and cultured we are, they still will confound us with their own rogue agenda. Stoddard discusses the lengths we go to hide our body's expressions, and the ways we still fail at it.

With YOUR host, Charles Star

2.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection presents the first event in our Summer Speaker Series:

Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge (The United Nations World Water Day Theme)

Wednesday, May 4th 2011 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Visitor Center at Newtown Creek 329 Greenpoint Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11222

Talks followed by a panel discussion moderated by Shawn Shafner of The People’s Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org)

Featuring:

Frederik Pischke Interagency Water Advisor UN-Water

Vyjayanthi Rao Assistant Professor of Anthropology New School for Social Research, New York

Jennifer Farmwald Project Manager Water Supply Infrastructure & Watershed Assessment NYC Environmental Protection

Directions to the Newtown Creek Visitors Center: Subway: G train to Greenpoint Avenue Station (Walk east on Greenpoint Avenue, cross McGuinnes Boulevard and Provost Street. Walk to traffic light. Entrance will be on left.) Bus: B24 Car: • Take the Long Island Exp. I-495 W toward MIDTOWN TUNNEL (RT-25 W) • Take exit #15/VAN DAM ST onto QUEENS MIDTOWN EXPY • Continue straight on BORDEN AVE • Make a U-Turn at 31ST PL onto BORDEN AVE • Turn Right on VAN DAM ST • Bear Right on GREENPOINT AVE • Go over JJ Byrne Memorial Bridge and continue on GREENPOINT AVENUE • Entrance is on the right on GREENPOINT AVE & HUMBOLDT ST. Parking is not available on site.

3.

MOTHER MAY I The Delancey, downstairs 168 Delancey St (btw Clinton and Attorney) Sunday, May 8th | 6pm doors, 7pm show Monologues, Music, and 2 for 1 Drinks! CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Forget brunch this Mother’s Day. Take your mama, your baby mama or just your totally grown up, independent self to celebrate (or commiserate) with stories, songs and two for one drinks at The Delancey on Sunday, May 8. Whether your mother was a goddess of love and support or a smothering bitch, your inner child will laugh, cry and try not to poop y...our pants at MOTHER, MAY I?, a night of performances by writers, actors and singers in honor of mothers. There’s a woman somewhere who you owe your life to, and we want to thank her. Join us for stories, lullabies and comedy. We won’t judge your outfit or your date.

Hosted by warner | shaw co-founders Franny Silverman and Annie Levy.

Featuring:

Glenn Marla (reigning Mr. Coney Island and Miss LES 2006, glennmarla.com) | Sarah Graalman (Mama Rice N’ Friends, mammaandfriends.com) | Shelly Oria (McSweeney’s, 2008 Indiana Review Fiction Prize) | Lisa Lewis (1000 nights at The Creek, lisalewiswriting.com) | Tara Hyman (Mama Rice N’ Friends, tarahyman.com) | David Wolkin (Inner Monologues, Speakeasy Stories, wolkin.com) | Christine Siracusa (Brave New World Rep) | Galeet Dardashti (Six Points Fellow ’07-’09, Le Poisson Rouge, galeetdardashti.com) | Shawn Shafner (Joe’s Pub, POOP Project, thepoopproject.org) | Naomi Less (Jewish Chicks Rock, naomiless.com) | Anni Bruno | Mara Leventhal | Brian Gelfand and other special guests.

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Looking forward to seeing you there!  And peaceful Spring pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

 

Can't get enough of that time capsule!

While the time capsule was getting all the attention (you can read more about her in the preceding posts or in the Greenpoint Gazette), I snuck off with some of the real stars. That's right.  Below, you can catch the exclusive interview that The Puru managed to snag with the 5th graders from Ms. (Julie) Feinberg's class at PS 31, who contributed a book about sewage to the capsule and may be the only people alive to see it in 50 years. What will Newtown Creek look like then?  What does a digester egg do?  And why is "feces" the preferred term for that stuff that comes out of our bottoms?

5th graders aren't afraid to tell it like it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmVNh3K7R-w

A most productive President's Day to you, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

a journey through time and a wastewater treatment plant

Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 was a day that will be celebrated by civilizations far into the future.  I expect that President Malia Obama herself will lift a glass on Feb. 11, 2061, when she unveils the time capsule installed 50 years before at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Mark your calendars now; it's gonna be a hot ticket! For legitimate, journalistic coverage of the event, look to the Newtown Pentacle.  Otherwise, watch this video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXUPeu7JoJ4

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner