Saturday, May 31, 2008

The (Re)Cycle of Life

Saturday morning at Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket — sauntering couples just out of bed, hipsters dressed as if they just got out of bed, multi-culty families and baby carriage traffic. As I meandered towards DiPaolo Turkey my eyes spied a peculiar sign: a textile recycling event. I followed the trail of signs that lead away from the main market area and saw a family with a handcart full of stuff. Second booth from the last, next to the mushroom sellers tent, right across from the chicken petting exhibit:

Bring your unwanted textile materials
to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

every Saturday, from 8:00 am to 4:00pm

Goodwill, Council on the Environment of NYC, Office of Recycling Outreach & Education, and Greenmarket have banded together to solve Brooklyn's closet space crisis. I recently gave a bunch of shirts away because I couldn't get the top button to meet its mate. Technically I could, but the neck fat rolling over the collar wasn't very attractive. Thread barren jeans, neglegé-thin t-shirts, and single socks, shoes & gloves will have a new (albeit, compromised) life.

I ran into friend and artist Ella Yang. Ella paints Brooklyn's urban landscapes and scenic country vistas. I especially love her paintings of the Gowanus Canal and the many drawbridges that divide Boerum Hill from Carroll Gardens. She's recently moved her studio to one of the numbered streets in South Slope, but still she returns with her easel and paints.

Ella unlaoded her bag of old wearables, and she also got a receiptable write-off. I asked the woman at the table what else do they accept, but first I took a short recycling quiz. Who knew — yogurt containers are NOT recyclable and that milk cartons go out with the plastic. The man from Goodwill said that they take overcoats, cloth painting tarps, leather and plastic footwear, hats, towels, old bed sheets, and curtains. Goodwill goes through the clothes and shoes first, then the remainder is sorted to be stripped into rags and shredded into raw material.

I actually recycled all my old kaki's and jeans once — cutting them into strips and knitting them into a bathmat. Three weeks later, I concluded that I could've just gone down to the mall and bought one, but this was just after 911, so it wasn't like I was going anywhere in hurry. I was raised with a boney waste-not-want-not finger of shame pointing at me — by boney finger I mean my grandmother's. She would to bleach old rice sacks and cut them into rectangles. Then while watching "The Edge of Night" she'd make pillow cases, rosary bags, and hand towels from her recycled stash — some trimmed with delicate crochet borders. I remember this well because I sat on one of her #000 hooks, my uncle had to weedle it out form my behind while my grandmother held me down yelling "Aray! Don't ee-stuggle! You're making it wooorse! Dios me! Ai Tanga! " Out came the hook, and on went the mercurichrome. I had a bright mercurichrome-orange swollen ass for weeks.

I don't care much for the fillet crochet... anyhow, textile recycling goes on through December of 2008, they also take old sweaters and acylic yarn.

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