RENewsletter | May 5, 2013


The Free environmental newsletter from

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”


[04/28/2013 – 05/05/2013]


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Take Action



Opening Salvo:  “Zero Wasting events in Rochester, NY”


Rochester, NY has a lot of outdoor events, especially in the summer.  It’s one thing to make these events recycling events, where your guests feel good about their environmental footprint.  It’s a step beyond to make your event Zero Waste.  That means hundreds, maybe thousands, of folks come to your event and leave with little impact on our environment. Food, plates, silverware, packaging, wrappers, drinking cups, and all those tasty ingestibles and their accouterments we bring to bear on special occasions get sorted, recycled, or composted. 


Properly speaking, zero waste is where you design products so that the end-of-pipe diversion gets transformed; it is a system designed with environmental health in mind from the very start-- "cradle to cradle."  But until we reach that sustainable Holy Grail, we can design our consumption-intensive events as environmentally friendly as possible.  


It takes a little more planning than the business-as-usual way of creating events, where you call up all sorts of vendors who bring stuff to your event and then hire a single trash hauler to take it away to who-knows-where.  A Zero Waste event requires that you get everyone, especially the event planners and coordinators, on board with thinking environmentally. Without this vision thing, it won’t work.  If the key players come to the table kicking and screaming about all the extra trouble this will make, it’ll be a dud.  (In the future, if we’re lucky enough to have one after a couple of centuries of seriously trashing and warming* our planet, environmentally friendly events will be the norm.)


First off, to even approach zero waste, you’ll need to start planning early.  You’ll need a recycling company, a waste company, a composing company, vendors with recyclable containers, lots of bins, lots of signs (to direct and educate the public), and lots of volunteers to help instruct your guests where to place waste properly.  It sounds a bit much, but check out this guide from the great state of Connecticut: “An inside guide to event recycling.” Each region will be different depending on how dedicated businesses, government, and the public are to maintaining a healthy environment--and what the recycling market is like.  


Some events in our Rochester region that have gone nearly Zero Waste are the annual Greentopia and Ganondagan Festivals.  There are probably more.  Presently, our Rochester Sierra Club’s Zero Waste Committee and a local enterprise dedicated to sustainability called Epiphergy are helping to make the Rochester Tour De Cure event on June 2nd a zero waste event.  Zero Waste always looks good on your event.


I’m not going to rhapsodize much on the value of making your event as environmentally friendly as possible—except to say that much of our trash is toxic to our children, and improperly dealing with trash will make adapting and mitigating Climate Change more problematic.  Not to mention, landfills are really, really bad for our environment:


“Landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions in the U.S., and the impact of landfill emissions in the short term is grossly underestimated — methane is 72 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time frame.” (Page 7, Stop Trashing the Climate)


Key to a healthy climate of zero waste events is a political and business environment that has the incentive and desire to help make our region’s events trash free.  Without easy access to recycling services (i.e., hauling and sorting), it will be more difficult to orchestrate all the elements needed to make our events zero waste. 


It’s also crucial that the local media keep a keen eye on how recycling is actually being accomplished.  For example, The Investigative Post in the Buffalo region holds its leaders and institutions accountable for increasing the recycling rate: Housing authority ignores recycling mandate.


It’s easy at this point in time, where environmental concerns are thought to be external to our existence, to create events that throw all trash into a single stream and create the illusion that everything is being taken care of properly.  More difficult is steering this great wasteful system of ours towards a more sustainable path, where environmental knowledge rules over political, business, and social convenience.


* As of this writing, the Carbon Dioxide on our atmosphere is passing 400 parts per million. “The speed at which Earth’s atmosphere has reached that density of carbon dioxide, a known greenhouse gas, has scientists alarmed.”(Earth's greenhouse gas levels approach 400-ppm milestone    (May 1, 2013) LA Times)  (Click on my email for feedback)




* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook:  and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment,


I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens.  If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up.  We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news. This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.


The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to safe ourselves?


Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan


My companion book to written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on and Kindle We Don't Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books



NewsLinks Environmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]




Updates Daily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





Events Rochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.


May 2013



June 2013



September 2013





Action Take Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date.