The Green Guide 2007

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You may want to call in sick on Friday to attend the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment’s third annual Green Brooklyn expo, a day-long event meant to encourage New Yorkers to make their lives a little more eco. The non-profit, known mostly for its tours through industrial zones like Newtown Creek, has added more hands-on presentations this year at Brooklyn Borough Hall, and invited 17 exhibitors to set up shop on the Plaza, like Brooklyn GreenBridge, who’ll be leading a worm composting demo from 2:45-3:30 (The first 20 attendees get a free bin and bag of worms!) The details are here: greenbrooklyn.org, along with the exhibitor list, which inspired us to compile a few green resources of our own. Hit reply if you have any other green tips — we’ll add them online.

Best place to refuel your biodiesel car: Fleet Alley behind Rice in Dumbo (81 Washington St. btwn York and Front, 718-222-9880). Owner David Selig retrofitted the local chain’s delivery van to run on Rice’s used vegetable oil, and as a community service allows others to fill up for free. Just call ahead to reserve your time at the pump.

glasses1.jpgBest place to recycle your CD jewel cases, batteries, cell phones and ink cartridges: 3R Living (276L Fifth Ave. btwn Garfield and First, Park Slope, 718-832-0951, 3rliving.com), where you can also pick up cool home goods like these glasses, made from beer bottles.

Two local harvest celebrations to mark on your calendar: Added Value’s 3rd Annual Red Hook Harvest Festival, 9am–5pm on the Red Hook Community Farm, Saturday, Oct. 20th, a family affair with food, music, pumpkin carving, and hands-on demos (590 Columbia St. at Beard St., added-value.org). And The Yard’s first Gowanus Harvest Festival, 3-9pm on Oct. 14th, which is upping the ante with pony rides, canal rides, local beer tasting… and a bonfire! Featuring organic food by Kelly Geary of Sweet Deliverance. (The Yard, 400 Carroll St. btwn Bond & Nevins, theyard.ws, tix $5)

The city’s eco-happy hour: GreenDrinks, a monthly social mixer for people working in environmental fields or simply interested in sustainability. The Brooklyn chapter — which is more low-key and grassroots than Manhattan’s — is holding their next session tomorrow from 7-9pm at Habana Outpost (greendrinks.org).

hab.jpgSeriously green cafes (that we know of): Vox Pop in Ditmas Park, who used IceStone for their countertops, reclaimed wood from Astoria’s Build It Green on their bar, and sells fair trade coffee (1022 Cortelyou at Stratford, voxpopnet.net); Urban Spring (DeKalb Ave., urbanspring.net) in Fort Greene, which designed its interior using materials from Peace Church in the West Village and sells all its to-go items in biodegradable packaging (ditto Farm on Adderley); and of course Habana Outpost, the city’s only solar-powered eatery (757 Fulton St. at So. Portland, ecoeatery.com).

Coolest Green Org you probably haven’t heard of: The Gowanus Oyster Garden Stewards. They’re not eating them–they’re restoring them to the canal so that they can work their natural filtration magic (50 gallons of water a day!) and clean up the waterway. Their next monitoring session is Sept. 29 — all ages welcome. Visit the site for info: gowanusoysters.com.

Recent locavore reads: Adam Gopnik’s New Yorker piece about eating in the five boros and NY Mag’s story about that crazy Brooklyn farmer, who lives in Ditmas Park.

adsm.jpgBest place to get low- or no-VOC paint: Bettancourt Building Supplies (70 N. 6th St., Williamsburg, 718-218-6737, bettencourtwood.com), who sometimes holds classes on skills like grout work (sign up for their newsletter to stay abreast), and Green Depot (1 Ivyhill Rd. at the end of Rewe St., Greenpoint, 718-782-2991, greendepot.com), where you’ll be guaranteed to get your eco-paint mixed the same day. They’re also the ones who sold Adrian Grenier his blue jean insulation for his (yet to be inhabited) Clinton Hill home. Call both first–they don’t keep 24/7 Home Depot hours.

Best green cleaning supply store: GoGreen (485 Atlantic btwn 3rd and Nevins, 718-625-0260, gogreeninc.com). They’ll clean your home too — but if you just buy all the products (like Meyer‘s) and have your cleaning service use them, you’ll save $. Target also has a big selection of Method products.

Where to get those “browns” to add to your compost bin: Pick up the spent grain at Kelso Brewery (529 Waverly Ave. btwn Fulton and Atlantic, Clinton Hill) Sun., Tues., and Thurs. nights after 6pm. By 5am, a truck picks up the remainder and delivers it to a company that turns it into feed for cows and pigs.

Brooklyn Brewery uses the same company–but couldn’t be reached in time to determine if they allow people to take their old hops, too. (We’ll update this list once they get back to us.) Meantime, BB reader and Gridskipper blogger Alicia Kachmar alerted us to the fact that the brewery uses wind power for all its electricity.� In her round up Going Green in NYC, she also details the Spa & Wellness Center in Bay Ridge, the city’s only luxe spa with a green footprint.

For all your other composting needs: buy worms at the LES Ecology Center (esecologycenter.org), get bins, read up on composting and attend workshops at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (bbg.org) or bring your food scraps and take home a bag of compost at the locations listed here: brooklynlocal.info.

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