Green Up

By Ana Zaldarriaga On Thursday, April 18, 2013 no Comments · In school, Professional
ECO keyboard, Green recycling concept-1

With Earth Day on Monday, I wanted to share some Earth inspired musings. In my last entry VHS (Very Historical Stuff), I wrote about my seasonal motivation to clean. Well, I'm still cleaning. On a recent Spring weekend, I asked my husband to take a walk with me to the Farmer's Market at Grand Army Plaza. Nearby residents look forward to the fresh and local produce, meats and baked goods at this weekly outdoor event. Yet as tantalizingly delicious as that all seems, I get more excited about the recycling drop-off kiosks.

I am a self-taught and still-learning novice environmentalist who is a mix of spunk and spirit influenced by the NYC renegade task force of the Guardian Angels, the Green Guerrillas and Tinkerbell. I find extreme joy and satisfaction in teaching the 3 Environmental R's, reduce, reuse and recycle, and hope with all hopes that one day everyone will feel the same. I feel like a hero every time I can rescue an object from its demise in the pit of a landfill and believe that everything can be reborn with purpose at least once. As noble as that might sound, it usually means I am sifting through garbage at the office, offering unsolicited advice and keeping almost everything that comes my way until I can reuse or recycle it. I suffer from an acute case of green guilt, but tell people it’s green pride, you know like the Irish, but I’m Filipino.

Before I even went on the walk with my husband, I had already been to the Fort Greene Farmers Market with my daughter and dog. On our early morning walk, I brought my lost single socks back to life, along with irreparably holey sweaters, at the Farmer Market's Grow NYCs Textile Recycling area which has recycled over 2 million pounds of textiles since 2007. I also snuck out of the house 2 large bags of food scraps to be composted, hoping my husband hadn't noticed the decaying pile of matter in our refrigerator drawer. I just couldn't help myself when i discovered that 17% of our waste stream is food that could be composted, and that my trash could indeed be treasure for our green leafy friends.

On this particular Saturday, there was the annual SAFE recycling event (SolventsAutomotiveFlammablesElectronics) which included flourescent bulbs and everyday household items such as nail polish. He came along my weekly environmental pilgrimage, but i got the locations confused and we ended up on an 8-mile walk from Fort Greene to Windsor Terrace. We arrived at the event exhausted and confused. My husband said to the volunteers who were accepting drop-offs, "My wife walked all this way to recycle one light bulb and old nail polish." I thought they were going to say I was crazy, but instead they cheered with enthusiasm, encouragement and thanks. As I walked away, I heard the next person behind me in line dump a small bag full of nail polish into the recycling bin. I smiled knowing that it all makes a difference.

If you love our world, please see how you can make Earth Day every day through the following:
nyc wasteless recycling

For a special Leadership Program Earth Day event in partnership with Urban Greenwalk from 4/20/13 to 4/26/13, go to


Ana Zaldarriaga

About Ana Zaldarriaga

Ana Zaldarriaga Pronouns: she/her/hers Sr. Dir. of Employee Development The Leadership Program 535 8th Avenue, Floor 16 New York City, NY 10018 Phone: 212.625.8001 Fax: 212.625.8020 “…building strong leaders in classrooms and communities."