Category Archives: Green NaBors

Our electronics and textiles recycling efforts are a success!

Dear NaBors,

The city and non-profit organization that sponsor our electronics and textiles recycling bins have shared our 2015 statistics with us.


e-cycleNYC banner

We recycled 290 lbs of electronic waste in 2015, keeping toxins out of landfills and our co-op in compliance with the city’s rule against including electronics in regular trash—at no cost to us.

Thank you for placing electronics waste in the e-cycleNYC bin by the elevator in the basement of 37 Nagle, instead of into regular trash!

Please note that only e-waste (telecommunication and computer equipment) should be placed in the e-cycleNYC bin. Please do not deposit household appliances, media or other non-accepted items into the bin. Thanks for your help with this!


re-fashioNYC banner

We recycled 3,465 lbs of textiles and clothing accessories in 2015, keeping more than 2½ tons of material out of landfills and supporting the work of the respected and effective Housing Works, a non-profit organization that provides housing and support services for New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS—at no cost to us, complete with donation receipts for charitable (up to $250) tax write-off purposes.

Thank you for placing clean all-fabric items (in any condition of wear) and usable clothing accessories into the re-fashioNYC bin in the laundry room of 37 Nagle, instead of into regular trash!

Please note that only clean textiles (clothing, household linens, rags) and clothing accessories (belts, footwear, bags) should be placed in the re-fashioNYC bin, and that items should ideally be bagged. Please do not deposit non-fabric items other than clothing accessories into the bin. Thanks for your help with this!

Yay, us! Let’s keep on keeping our e-waste and textiles out of landfills and contributing to the health and wellbeing of our city.

Green Committee

Drawings/schematics for the NaBors Roof Project

Dear NaBors,

As you know, the roof over the garage has been essentially inaccessible since it was repaired. We have been waiting for construction on the garage to finish (it’s done) before completing the space.

We hired landscape architects, Christian Duvernois Landscape (, to transform this space. Thanks to all of you who attended meetings (especially the Green Committee) and helped us with the design. View the plans for our wonderful new space!

An added bonus of selecting this company is that there is the potential in the future for a grant to renovate the lower area; we’ll keep you posted on this.

Christian Duvernois will start construction mid–late April, with a planned completion date prior to Memorial Day weekend. We hope to have a nice party to inaugurate it.

–Board of Directors

Click on the image to open the full design PDF:
NaBors roof garden design

NaBors joins re-fashioNYC program


Hello, NaBors!

You’ve probably noticed the donation bin in the laundry room of 37 Nagle (or the flyers about it) by now. Maybe you’ve wondered:

What is re-fashioNYC?

It’s a partnership between the City of New York and Housing Works to improve New Yorkers’ lives, lessen the City’s environmental impact, and save taxpayer money.

Why did we join re-fashioNYC?

Three reasons:

  1. To keep valuable materials from going to landfills: Every year NYC residents throw out approximately 200,000 tons (nearly the weight of 900 Statues of Liberty!) of clothing, shoes, bags, belts and other textiles and apparel. Not only is this wasteful, it is costly. Sending material to landfills is among the City’s highest refuse disposal costs.
  2. To help our fellow New Yorkers: In contrast to for-profit used clothing companies that supply similar collection bins, re-fashioNYC is 100% nonprofit. All proceeds from donations support the charitable mission of Housing Works to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS.
  3. For the convenience of our NaBors: We wanted to make clothing donation as easy as possible, through a convenient in-building service.

Can I get a tax deduction for the items I donate?

Yes! Self-service tax receipts for donations up to $250 in value are available directly on the bin. Please take only one per donation deposit. Fill out the form and keep it for your tax records. (Tax receipts for donations of higher values must be obtained in-person from Housing Works.)

What happens to donations?

Items donated through re-fashioNYC are sorted at the Housing Works warehouse in Queens. Some donations are sold in Housing Works thrift shops throughout NYC, including the Buy-the-Bag store in Brooklyn. Some leftover items are shipped to Haiti, or sent to other nonprofit thrift shops. The rest are sold to a textile merchant for recycling or exported to overseas markets. No donated material is sent to landfills!

What items are accepted?

  • Clothing of any kind, in any condition of wear
  • Footwear (shoes, boots, sandals, slippers)
  • Clothing accessories (purses, gloves, scarves, hats, belts)
  • Household textiles (towels, curtains, bedding, linens, rags)

Please deposit only CLEAN textiles (laundered/cleanly stored). Please bag your donations before depositing them.

NaBors is now enrolled in e-cycleNYC!


To make electronics recycling convenient and environmentally sustainable, New York City launched e-cycleNYC in partnership with Electronic Recyclers International, an industry leader in responsible electronics recycling.

Why recycle electronics

Electronics often contain lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials that can leech into the environment if not properly discarded. Responsibly recycling electronics keeps these hazardous materials out of the waste stream.

As of January 2015, it is illegal for New Yorkers to discard electronics in the trash. Participating in e-cycleNYC enables our building to comply with this law by providing a convenient way for our residents to discard their electronics.

How to participate

Please deposit accepted items (described below) in the e-cycleNYC receptacle, located by the elevator in the basement of 37 Nagle Avenue.

What is accepted


What is NOT accepted


Appliances: If predominantly metal or rigid plastic, recycle these with other metal and plastic recyclables, otherwise discard as trash.

Batteries: Bring rechargeable batteries to any store that sells them, such as a pharmacy, office supply, or hardware store. Rechargeable batteries may contain mercury, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals which can be dangerous if not disposed of properly. Alkaline batteries can be discarded in the trash. Standard alkaline batteries are not considered hazardous waste, since they no longer contain mercury.

Fluorescent Bulbs: Compact fluorescent bulbs can be dropped off for free recycling at any Home Depot, IKEA, Lowes, or other participating retailers. CFLs and other fluorescents can be brought to any of NYC Department of Sanitation’s Household Special Waste Drop-Off Sites or upcoming SAFE disposal events.

What happens to stored data

You can remove data from the electronics prior to discarding. Any remaining data will be fully erased as part of the recycling process.

What happens to the electronics collected

All electronics are recycled domestically using the strictest environmental standards available.

e-cycleNYC receptacle in the basement of 37 Nagle Avenue

e-cycleNYC receptacle in the basement of 37 Nagle Avenue


Unplug Your Cell Phone Charger to Save Energy

By Kristin Withak

You may think keeping chargers for things like cell phones, iPods, hand-held devices, laptops and the like waste such a tiny amount of electricity that it’s not worth remembering to unplug them. Or, maybe you didn’t even know that when you unplug your cell phone (etc.) from its charger, the charger is still drawing power. It’s true! Only 5 percent of the power drawn by a cell phone charger is used to charge the phone. The other 95 percent is wasted when it is left plugged into the wall.

You may be thinking your single charger uses such a small amount of energy, but with the US having an estimated 190 million devices with rechargeable batteries, combined stand-by usage of all those cell phone chargers, each drawing a measly watt, could add up to 190 megawatts per day. That’s enough to power approximately 100,000 homes.

Keeping chargers for items that require their battery to be recharged plugged in when not attached to the item (or even after it has fully charged the battery) consumes about 6 percent of the nation’s electric bill. This is a bad habit that can slowly add up to a lot of wasted energy, and yet can be so easy to break the habit by just remembering to unplug your devices and plugs once the battery is fully charged. Spread the word! Think about how much energy can be saved if everyone did just this one little thing.

In the same vein (and this may be shocking), unused appliances plugged into the electrical outlet continue to draw electricity while the products are turned off, and in the average home nearly 75 percent of all electricity used to power electronics is consumed by products that are switched off. VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances all use energy while not in use. The best way to help cut costs and electric use is to get a power cord that can be switched off when appliances are not in use. You’ll save the energy equivalent of a 100-watt light bulb that is always on.

Rough equivalent: 100W light bulb @ 8,760 hrs/year
Electricity: $.10/kWh
Total energy cost: $87.60
Cost of power strip: $4.00
Total energy savings: $83.60
Total CO2 savings: 1,217 lbs

Start Small and Think Long-Term: Saving Energy

The following is an excerpt of an article in The New York Times by Elizabeth A. Harris that talks about NaBors Apartments’ efforts to become more environmentally responsible.

Stephen Vernon is the president of a 112-unit co-op in Inwood called Nagle Apartments that has tried hard to become more environmentally responsible. The residents of the three-building complex started simply about five years ago by upgrading the lighting with motion sensors and more efficient bulbs. Then they moved on to larger projects.

“Our goal,” Mr. Vernon said, “was to do green projects that made fiscal sense.”

Almost all of the windows were replaced and new radiator valves were installed, at a cost of about $860,000. To cover the costs of these and other upgrades, the building took out a two-part loan and the development authority brought down the interest, leaving the residents with an average rate of 4.31 percent.

Through a combination of selling apartments that the co-op owned, interest on investments (it owns some Treasury bonds), and energy savings, the improvements were made without an assessment or maintenance increase.

These days, the building’s boiler spends a great deal of time resting comfortably on the lowest setting, and gas consumption has decreased by around 40 percent.

Now, the building is looking into putting in a green roof — layers of plantings and soil.

Green roofs keep the top of a building cool and provide a layer of insulation. They also retain rainwater, which can help keep the city’s sewer system from being overwhelmed in a heavy rain. But some consultants say that you’ll get more bang for your buck keeping the roof cool with white or silver paint and that a building will be better insulated with traditional materials like fiberglass. Green roofs are, however, much nicer to look at — and hang out on — than the alternative.

Another initiative that the co-op is undertaking is environmentally friendly renovations. As rental apartments become vacant, the co-op makes them over for sale. It uses recycled materials where possible, installs energy-efficient appliances and decorates with low- or nontoxic paints and finishes. One of these apartments, a 900-square-foot two-bedroom, is on the market for $359,000.

The sales agent, Matthew Bizzarro of Stein-Perry Real Estate, who also lives in the building, says that he has priced it a bit higher than comparable apartments in the area. Traffic has been good, he says, and has included people who say the green factor appealed to them.

Read the whole article in The New York Times.

An Apartment Gets a Green Makeover

By Corinne Ramey. Article reprinted from The Manhattan Times.

Kermit the Frog famously proclaimed that it wasn’t easy being green, but interior designer Marvin Jay Brooks disagrees.

“It’s been so easy to renovate from a green perspective,” said Brooks.

The interior designer is currently working on an environmentally-friendly renovation of an apartment on Bogardus Place in Inwood. The renovation is spearheaded by one of a growing number of green committees or groups on co-op boards that are dedicated to making their buildings more environmentally friendly. Throughout the renovation of the two-bedroom apartment, Brooks and his team have not only used green components, like paint and tiling, but made sure that all the current materials are disposed of or recycled in an environmentally-friendly way.

“We’re trying to be as eco-friendly as possible,” said Kristin Tsafos, co-head of the co-op’s green committee. The building, which was built in the ‘50s, became a co-op in the ‘80s, she said. Today, the co-op, which is composed of three different buildings, is trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible, using everything from energy-efficient windows to compact fluorescent light bulbs. “I just recently moved in November, and one of the things that drew me to the co-op was they that they had a newly formed green committee,” said Tsafos, who also works at Scholastic.

From floor to ceiling, Brooks and his team are using the greenest materials that fit within their price range. These include low-VOC, or volatile organic compound, water-based paint, which gives off less chemicals or pollutants than conventional paint. The joint compound that goes on the walls was produced in New York City — so no carbon footprint from driving it across the country — and the paint and joint compound were purchased at Green Depot, a store on the Lower East Side.

The apartment also has ecoTech brand tiles, energy efficient lighting and windows and energy-saving fixtures. In the bathroom, they have installed a low-flow toilet and showerhead.

The biggest challenge is realizing that being environmentally friendly doesn’t end with paint and flooring, Brooks said. “We’re not only using green products, but working in a green fashion,” said Brooks. “You can’t just throw everything in a black bag.” For example, a scrap metal collector in the Bronx picked up the stove, and the carpet will be taken to a recycling center in New Jersey. He said the least green part of the renovation was probably the linoleum floor, which they hadn’t found a way to recycle and was too water-damaged to use again.

Although Brooks has been working as an interior designer for five years, this was his first renovation so focused on environmental impact. He said much of his environmental education came from Green Depot, which provided literature on recommended products.

The renovation is more expensive than a conventional one, said Tsafos. Brooks estimated the total cost would be between $20,000 and $30,000. “On a regular renovation, I highly doubt an owner would spend $35 to $50 for a gallon of paint,” he said. Normal, low-end paint costs between $12 and $15 a gallon. However, on some components the co-op was limited by price. “Not everything is available in a price range we could afford,” said Tsafos. “For the cabinets, we ended up going with IKEA.”

Although the apartment doesn’t yet have a buyer, the co-op hopes to put it on the market in August. Tsafos estimated the approximately 975-square-foot apartment would sell in the mid-$300,000 range. “This will be one of the first green renovations in the neighborhood,” said Matthew Bizzarro, a real estate agent for Stein-Perry Real Estate who will be selling the apartment. Bizzarro said that clients would likely be willing to pay slightly more for the green renovation. “I’m finding the trend is that more clients are looking to be more environmentally and socially responsible,” he said. “I think the demand is high, but there aren’t a lot of options that allow a customer to make a decision.”

Brooks, who lives in Washington Heights, said that although one green apartment won’t have a huge environmental impact, the project demonstrates that others can do similar renovations at affordable prices. “I think it’s a step in the right direction of how to get people on board,” he said. And so far, working on the green renovation has been rewarding. “I can change people’s lives just by changing their surroundings,” he said.

The Manhattan Times is the bilingual newspaper of Washington Heights and Inwood.