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August 8, 2008

Metal Recycling on Long Island

Filed under: Sustainable Long Island by Bill @ 6:54 am

Ever see someone in an old pickup truck filled with junk picking through your trash? A few days ago that was me…

I’ve heard from more than one person about how they make money by cashing in scrap metal, especially aluminum, that they found in the trash. So, when I came upon what looked like a ton of the stuff, I couldn’t resist.

The metal was actually a swim deck from an old swimming pool. The pool had reached the end of it’s life and was discarded. The aluminum decking was in the trash waiting for the garbage men. luckily, I got there first. The 6′ x 8′ pieces were too heavy and too big for me to handle alone, so I had my son help me lift and tie them to the top of the truck.

At the recycling center there’s a giant scale that weighs your truck as you drive in and then again after you unload your scrap. The difference is the weight of your scrap. We had 180lbs of aluminum. The price that day was $0.64/lb, so we earned $115. Not bad for doing virtually nothing. Smaller amounts of metal can be carried in by hand and get weighed on a smaller scale.

Mountains of metal
Mountians of metal at Crestwood Metals will be melted down and turned into new products

So, if you have some old copper pipes, aluminum patio furniture, bike frames, whatever… why not haul it down to the nearest metal recycler and see what you get for it? You’ll put some change in your pocket and help keep stuff out of the landfills too.

Need help finding a place to bring your scrap? Try these for starters:

Gershow Recycling – Multiple Locations

Crestwood Metals – 1100 Lincoln Ave. Holbrook, NY / 631-567-2727

January 28, 2008

A Solar Home on Long Island

Filed under: Sustainable Long Island by Bill @ 6:03 am

solar home smallI received a letter Frank Mruk, the associate dean for the School of Architecture and Design at New York Institute of Technology, asking for help finding a permanent Long Island location for OPEN House, a solar/geothermal home built by his students at NYIT.

The home was constructed as their 2007 entry in the Department of Energy’s annual Solar Decathlon and took 12th place coming in ahead of MIT and Cornell.

Back in the late 70’s I remember gas lines and countless magazine articles about the rapid development of alternative energy sources, solar seeming the most promising. Yet here we are almost half a century later and nothing has changed. We’re still burning fossil fuels like mad. It’s like we’ve learned nothing from that horrible experience.

OPEN House, constructed by the students at NYIT
Deriving all of it’s energy needs from the sun, OPEN House is both efficient and beautiful

Coincidently, a 2 hour special about oil was broadcast on the History Channel last night. “Crude” featured several prominent oil geologists whose calculations show that oil production has peaked and will now begin a slow, but steady decline. This sounds like hype, but it isn’t. Barring any significant new discoveries we will see a steady decline in production and a corresponding increase in energy prices.

So it’s nice to see Long Islanders like Frank and his students developing alternative energy sources into something we can actually use. OPEN House, is not only fully energy independent, but also captures enough solar energy to power an electric car, and is both “attractive and affordable enough for mainstream America.”

Frank writes:

Currently the house is back in Old Westbury and looking for a long term home. The school has been considering many options including proposals from many towns and private individuals both on Long Island and across the country.

To the NYIT students, the competition had a very specific mission to support the advancement of alternative and renewable energy solutions, promote a green, clean and sustainable environment and to communicate the viability of solar technology to the public on Long Island and around the world.

The students believe the best way to achieve their mission is to use the house to fund the next iteration of the competition.

The next phase of the competition is currently scheduled for October 2009. The institute plans to make a decision on the final site for the home by February 2008.

He also notes that a good location for the home might be in one of Long Island’s vineyards–Perhaps a small plot sale/lease situation where both NYIT and the vineyard can use the home for events.

Any inquires can be directed to:
Frank Mruk AIA, RIBA
Associate Dean
New York Institute of Architecture
School of Architecture and Design
fmruk (at)

For more information about solar energy on Long Island see:

September 12, 2006

Sustaining the Good Life: A Symposium, Celebration, and Tour

Filed under: Sustainable Long Island by Bill @ 10:30 pm

Stony Brook University’s Center for Wine, Food, and Culture will host a weekend symposium, Sustaining The Good Life, on September 16 and 17 in Chancellor’s Hall at Stony Brook Southampton (formerly Southampton College).

Over 200 East End residents and weekend visitors are expected to attend the event, which will highlight the University’s planned curriculum focusing on sustainability: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The event runs from 10:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 and 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 17.

Long Island wine industry pioneer and Center Director Louisa Hargrave [author of The Vineyard] will preside over the two-day program.

Saturday morning will feature excursions aboard the University’s Marine Sciences Research Center’s vessels and hands-on discovery activities with Stony Brook marine scientists.

After a picnic lunch and welcome from Stony Brook President Shirley Strum Kenny, the legendary environmentalist and author Peter Matthiessen [author of Men’s Lives] will give a keynote address titled Greed and Heritage.

Following the keynote address, regional farmers, fishermen, chefs, designers, educators, and preservationists will address East End sustainability issues in a series of panel discussions:

What Have We Got To Lose? The Resources that Make Life Good

What Role Do Education, Politics, And Culture Play? Taking Care of the Next Generation

How Can We Plan For The Future? A Visionary Prescription.

The day concludes with a Harvest Reception, a walkabout tasting hosted by 16 leading East End wineries and restaurants and accompanied by music provided by a Stony Brook University String Ensemble.

On Sunday afternoon, selected artisanal producers, farms, and wineries on the North and South Forks will participate in an exclusive tour, with special tastings for symposium participants.

Admission is open to the general public.

Saturday: Entire Day’s Activities: $75 per person (includes Harvest Reception)
Harvest Reception Only:
$45 per person
East End Tour Only: $35 per person
Full Weekend Package includes both days at $100.00 per person.

Registration and payment are required for attendance.

Registered participants will be sent colored wristbands as proof of payment. Please register as early as possible, as space is limited, and note that the Center has a 48 hour pre-event cancellation policy.

Read more about Stony Brook University’s Center for Wine, Food, and Culture.

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