Events

Upcoming Meetings

The Brooklyn SWAB meets on the first Monday of the month to discuss solid waste and environmental issues. Meetings are open to the public and participation is encouraged. The meetings typically take place at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. However, since April 2020, all meetings take place via Zoom until further notice.

2022 Meetings:

  • January 10, 2022

  • February 7, 2022

  • March 7, 2022

  • April 4, 2022

  • May 2, 2022

  • June 6, 2022

  • July 11, 2022

  • No meeting in August

  • September 5, 2022

  • October 3, 2022

  • November 7, 2022

  • December 5, 2022

If you would like to be added to our email list to receive notifications of upcoming meetings and events, please email swab.brooklyn@gmail.com.

Calendar of Events

See below for the Brooklyn SWAB's monthly meeting, committee meetings, and other related waste-prevention events.

Want to submit an event to the BkSWAB calendar? Add the event to your own calendar and invite swab.brooklyn@gmail.com. Our Executive Committee will review and approve appropriate submissions.

Upcoming BkSWAB Events

Keep an eye out for upcoming events!

Recent BkSWAB Events

Plastic Packaging: Threats to Human Health - Teach-in with Jenny Davies, MD, MPH

Tuesday, July 26, 6:00-7:30 pm

Plastic is a significant component of our packaging waste stream. It is also the most harmful to the environment and to humans, and the least-recycled and least-recyclable.

The Brooklyn and Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Boards invite you to learn from Cafeteria Culture's public and environmental health advisor, Jenny Davies, MD, MPH, JD, as she explains the ways in which plastic interacts with our human biologic systems.

Then find out about the latest, urgently-needed, clear, and effective New York State legislation that you can help advocate for to confront the plastic pollution crisis by stopping it at the source.

Register via Eventbrite here.


Waste, Environment & Race: A Community Conversation - Part 2

Link to video on our YouTube Channel!

BkSWAB hosted Part 2 of its Waste, Environment & Race - A Community Conversation event series on March 16, 2022. This event addressed the intersection of food, health, and waste and its impact on vulnerable communities. A panel of community leaders and organizers, moderated by BkSWAB, spoke to their ongoing work to address racial, environmental and climate injustice.

Featured panelists:

Jesi Taylor Cruz, Discard Studies Researcher and Zero Waste Advisor

Justin Craig, Farm Coordinator - Red Hook Houses Farm, Red Hook Initiative

Steve Affat, Program Manager, Green City Force

Moderated by BkSWAB members Akhmose Ari-Hotep and Rhonda Keyser.

Curbside Composting is back! All you need to know

Tuesday, August 31, 6:00-7:30pm | Zoom and livestream (registration required - click here)

DSNY Curbside Composting Sign-up is open now and pick-up is returning starting this October and November. Find out more details on the program itself, how you can help spread the word, especially if you live in a multi unit building, and how to get involved at this free, public interactive information session, hosted by the Solid Waste Advisory Boards (SWABs) of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx in partnership with Big Reuse.

Featuring a presentation from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), this event will provide further information on the return of the Curbside Composting or "brown bin" program, and provide a forum for questions.

Agenda:

⦁ Allie Gumas, Outreach Coordinator, Organics Outreach (DSNY) will provide details on when, where and how the brown bins will be returning, and how to sign up and express interest;

⦁ Brooklyn SWAB will provide further information and tips on how to engage your neighbors, what to do if you are not the primary decision maker in your building, and how to compost in the interim

⦁ Q&A and open discussion

Facing the Plastic Pollution Crisis: A Talk with Judith Enck

Join the Brooklyn and Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Boards and the Bronx and Queens SWAB Organizing Committees (via Zoom) on Tuesday, January 19 from 6:30 until 7:30 pm for a talk with Judith Enck of Beyond Plastics to hear about how single-use plastic is harming our environment from production to disposal and what we can do about it. Moderated by Dior St. Hillaire from the Bronx SWAB Organizing Committee.

Link to video on our YouTube Channel!

Judith Enck has a long and distinguished career in government and in the non profit community on a range of environmental protection issues. She was appointed by President Obama to serve as Regional Administrator at the US Environmental Protection Agency and served as Deputy Secretary for the Environment in the New York Governor's Office. She is the founder and President of Beyond Plastics, a national project with the goal of eliminating plastic pollution everywhere. Enck is a regular panelist on the public affairs show, The Roundtable, on WAMC, a local NPR affiliate. She has been a visiting faculty member at Bennington College since Fall 2018 and became a senior fellow in the Center for the Advancement of Public Action in Spring 2019. Enck currently serves as President of Beyond Plastics.

This is a free event; if you would like to contribute to Beyond Plastics please visit their website.

Waste, Environment & Race: A Community Conversation – Part I

Watch BkSWAB's recording on our YouTube channel of our October 2020 event on the management of waste and its impact on vulnerable communities. A panel of community leaders and organizers, moderated by the BkSWAB, spoke to their ongoing work to address racial, environmental and climate injustice.

Meetings Minutes

Meeting Minutes are available to the public.

  • Coming soon!

Meeting Speakers

April 2021: Debby Lee Cohen, Director and Founder of Cafeteria Culture

Debby Lee Cohen, Executive Director and Founder of Cafeteria Culture, is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and Zero Waste activist. She is the co-Director and co-Producer of Microplastic Madness, Cafeteria Culture's feature documentary. She has designed scenery, puppets, and animation for theater, parades, film and television. In partnership with parents, students and NYC school food directors, she led the Styrofoam Out of Schools campaign, resulting in the elimination of half a billion plastic styrofoam trays per year from landfills, incinerators and students meals in NYC and now 14 other cities. Debby Lee received a Proclamation from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (2018) for her zero waste efforts and is a board member of Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board MSWAB and Plastic Free Waters Partnership NY/NJ as well as #breakfreefromplastic, a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution.


March 2021: Edward Grayson, DSNY Commissioner

Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Edward Grayson as the Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation on December 31, 2020.

Grayson, a twenty-one-year DSNY veteran, has served as Acting Commissioner since September. 2020. Prior to his appointment, Grayson most recently served as a four-star chief and Director of the Bureau of Cleaning and Collection in September of 2017. Commissioner Grayson has held a range of positions throughout the Department. He was Operations Chief overseeing snow removal during the 2016 Jonas Blizzard, the largest snowstorm in New York City history.

As Director of the Bureau of Cleaning and Collection, Grayson oversaw day-to-day operations, including the collection, recycling and disposal of more than 12,000 tons of waste per day and efforts to keep the city's communities healthy, safe and clean. He has implemented new technologies to improve snow removal and reform front-line operations, and he has been a leader in the Department's implementation of the City's aggressive zero-waste goals.

His father was a life-long Sanitation Worker and Supervisor and his mother was recycling outreach coordinator during the rollout of the City's groundbreaking citywide recycling program in the 1990s.

Commissioner Grayson was raised in Ridgewood, Queens.


February 2021: Anthony Buissereth, Executive Director, North Brooklyn Neighbors

Anthony Buissereth is veteran of New York City’s nonprofit sector with more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, program development, advocacy, and government and community relations.

Since 2018, Anthony has been the executive director of North Brooklyn Neighbors, an environmental and community planning organization based in Williamsburg. Founded in 1994, he is the organization’s first executive director. Prior to joining North Brooklyn Neighbors he worked at several other organizations including Youth Communication, Good Shepherd Services, and Cool Culture.

A native New Yorker, Anthony is currently serving a two-term term as first vice-chair Brooklyn’s Community Board 3, is an at-large member of the Brooklyn NAACP’s executive committee, and the board treasurer for MUSA – a nonprofit dedicated to deepening swim abilities in communities of color. Anthony holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a masters from Long Island University - Brooklyn.

Xander Shaw, Big Reuse partnered with Gowanus Canal Conservancy shared information about composting at the Salt Lot in Gowanus


January 2021: Domingo Morales, Founder, Compost Power

One third of NYC’s trash is organic — but too often this useful waste gets wasted. Domingo is working to solve this problem and grow plants for New York’s tomorrow. And after managing Red Hook Farms’s composting operation, he’s an expert in food chemistry, safe and healthy composting habits, and teaching others. Domingo is developing a ‘how to’ compost guide and working on a TV series called Compost Power to share expertise in support of composting processes around the city. Domingo is focused on making composting cool and accessible for everyone, especially public housing communities that otherwise might be left out. Domingo wants to make NYC the model of sustainability that all cities can follow. He is a graduate of the Green City Force program and a 2020 David Prize winner.


December 2020: John Johnson, Inner City Green Team

John Johnson is the co-founder of the Inner City Green Team (ICGT). A diehard environmentalist and social justice advocate, John came to this work as a recycling coordinator at GrowNYC, where he has been working for over 10 years to improve recycling rates in NYC. While at GrowNYC, he was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Bank of America and participated in its Neighborhood Builders Leadership Training Program. This highly competitive program is designed to recognize and reward nonprofit organizations and individuals who are achieving excellence in their community-building efforts. John’s passion and desire to protect the planet and some of its most vulnerable citizens has led him and his partner, Brigitte Vicenty, on this journey to create ICGT. In 2018, they launched their pilot project, having won the NYCx Co-Lab Challenge: Zero Waste in Shared Space. This was an international competition seeking solutions that would improve recycling in NYC public housing. John studied urban studies at Macalester College, and urban policy analysis and management at the New School for Social Research. John is a 2020 Echoing Green Fellow.


November 2020: Dr. Michelle Tokunbo 'Tok' Oluwaseyi Oyewole, Policy & Communications Organizer, NYC Environmental Justice Association (NYC-EJA)

Dr. Michelle Tokunbo 'Tok' Oluwaseyi Oyewole is NYC-EJA's Policy & Communications Organizer, serving as point person on solid waste equity campaigns, and coordinating social media and newsletter content. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Geography, by studying how school garden programs throughout Brooklyn, NY can be liberatory for young people of color, and by highlighting inequitable distributions of environmental and social burdens. Her Master's degree focused on how farmers' organic amendment (e.g. compost) management practices affect field-scale GHG emissions, and recommended improvements in carbon sequestration legislation. She has a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Minor in Geography/Environmental Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has also worked with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Community Conservation and Development Initiatives in Lagos, Nigeria; as a farmer and educator in Ecuador; and with the Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento, California. As a graduate student, she worked with the University of California Student Association (UCSA) as Graduate and Professional Student Chair and as a Legislative Director. She was an organizer within the 2010 campaign that successfully prevented the Koch brothers and oil industry from repealing California's Global Warming Solutions Act.

October 2020: Celeste McMickle, Director of Client Solutions for TRUE Zero Waste Certification, USGBC

TRUE Certification aims to support facilities and businesses in achieving their zero waste goals by providing a clear path to certification using a points-based rating system and educational tools such as the TRUE Advisor program.

Celeste McMickle is trained as an architect and has a background as a sustainability consultant, LEED Green rater and waste expert. She has previously worked with Steven Winter Associates, DSNY, and the New York City Compost Project. She is the vice-chair of the Brooklyn Solid Waste Advisory Board and is a certified Master Composter.

July 2020: Dr. Melissa Crum, founder of Mosaic Education Network, LLC

Bk SWAB is taking a critical look at its approach and how the organization can be more of an ally to communities of color, address bias and environmental racism, and attract more diverse representation. Professional diversity trainer, Dr. Melissa Crum, will help BkSWAB begin the discussion and provide some framework for common definitions and understanding in this process. By facing racial injustice head on, we can make more of an impact in the just recovery of NYC. The workshop offers definitions to complex concepts that are necessary for engaging in productive conversations and actions. These language tools allow for clearer communication. Words may include but are not limited to the following: microaggressions, race, anti-blackness, privilege, power, equity, equality, gender and intersectionality.

Dr. Melissa Crum is an artist, author, researcher, and founder of Mosaic Education Network, LLC. She leads a consulting company that infuses the arts, research, storytelling and critical thinking into professional development, community building and curriculum development. Dr. Crum works with her team of experts to act as engaging and collaborative resources to schools, nonprofits, museums and companies helping them gauge the collective impact of our conscious and unconscious biases to reach diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals.

She facilitates and encourages thought-provoking conversations addressing difficult topics on supporting, interacting, and partnering with diverse communities. She works hard to help you become informed of and feel secure about using everyday practical applications of DEI strategies to positively impact your work and learning environment. To make this happen she creates a "brave space" where you can ask the tough questions, admit faults and celebrate successes. Her national and international experiences have allowed her to help you make social change from your desk, to your living room and beyond.

June 2020: Dr. Lisa Skumatz, President of Skumatz Economic Research Associates, Inc. (SERA)

Dr. Lisa Skumatz is an economist/econometrician with SERA, a research and consulting firm, and has been in the solid waste management field for almost 40 years. Lisa and her staff have worked on the wide range of residential and commercial work in solid waste, including studies focused on: Pay-As-You-Throw, single hauler and other procurements, surveys, rates, comprehensive plans, recycling and organics program development, Triple Bottom Line, CBSM, and forecasting and metrics for cities, counties, states and other clients across North America and overseas. She maintains a database of more than 1,000 communities across the US, and uses the data to derive “real world” – not hypothetical – results for clients. She has developed scores of detailed models for scenario analysis, and focuses on evaluation geared towards informed tradeoffs and smarter decision-making.

Lisa is on the advisory board for SWANA, and has served on the National Recycling Coalition Board, State Recycling Boards and regional SWANA Boards for many years. Lisa has won four lifetime achievement awards for her work in solid waste – including from NRC, National SWANA, and the Colorado Association for Recycling.

April 2020: Ursula Kaczmarek, Open Trash Lab

Ursula Kaczmarek researches commercial waste in New York City as a member of Open Trash Lab. She recently earned a master's degree in urban informatics from NYU and began her career as a lawyer working on open data policy. When she's not digging through trash bags or designing databases, she's gardening on her patio in Clinton Hill.

March 2020: Mary Jo Burke, Manhattan SWAB

Mary Jo is an architect who is interested in waste reduction, sustainability and regenerative agriculture. She volunteered on the Manhattan SWAB foam ban task force and, during the group's research, they became aware of the dangers of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). She presented on PFAS to MSWAB in December 2019.

February 2020: Kara Napolitano, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Sims Municipal Recycling Facility

Kara Napolitano is the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Sims Municipal Recycling Facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the largest Materials Recovery Facility in the country. At Sims, Kara offers educational tours to student groups grades 2 - 12, along with college, adult, and corporate groups. Kara is a Licensed Master Social Worker and longtime educator. After working for 15 years as an educator and administrator in the arts, she is now thrilled to be developing the educational programming at Sims, sharing engaging tours with visitors of all ages that focus on NYC recycling and waste management.

January 2020: Kathleen Corradi, Zero Waste Manager at NYC Department of Education

Kathleen Corradi currently serves as NYC Department of Education’s Zero Waste Manager. In this role she leads the agency’s 1,300 facilities in planning and execution of the City’s Zero Waste goals and oversees the Sustainability Outreach Team. Kathy caught the solid waste bug at Eckerd College, where she directed the campus’ Recycling Program, expanding services to include organics collection at residential and food service facilities. Prior to her time at DOE’s Office of Sustainability, Kathy taught elementary school in Brooklyn and spent a year at Botanic Garden’s Discovery Garden developing environmental education programs. Kathy has a B.S. in Biology from Eckerd College and a M.S. in Urban Sustainability from The City College of New York.

November 2019: Julie Raskin, Executive Director, Foundation for New York's Strongest

Julie Raskin is the Executive Director of Foundation for New York’s Strongest. Julie joins DSNY from American Express where she focused on developing internal and external partnerships to drive customer engagement and growth. She previously worked at the NYC Parks Department, where she developed a sustainability plan for special events and led a public-private partnership to install free public Wi-Fi in parks citywide. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from the NYU Stern School of Business.

October 2019: Terrance Caviness, Education Program Coordinator, Freshkills Park

Terrance Caviness is the Education Program Coordinator at Freshkills Park, where over the last 2 ½ years he has led K-12 and higher education programs, creates STEAM based family programs, and conducts research. His educational background in Environmental Biology and communication.

September 2019: Clare Miflin, ThinkWoven, Center for Zero Waste Design

Clare Miflin is an architect and systems thinker with over 20 years of experience designing buildings to the highest environmental standards. While acknowledging the importance of rigorous metrics, she knows that inspiration, intuition and vision also have a vital role to play if humanity is to thrive.

Clare led the development of the AIANY Zero Waste Design Guidelines through a multidisciplinary collaborative process. The Guidelines serve as resource and inspiration for architects and developers to help cities reach their zero waste goals. Clare is setting up a Center for Zero Waste Design to disseminate and implement the Guidelines widely, and has founded a consultancy – ThinkWoven – to develop strategies to weave urban systems into ecosystems. Clare is currently co-chair of the AIANY’s Committee on the Environment.