Welcome Back!


It might be cold and snowy (albeit less snow than expected), but the weather can’t stop the Green Team!  We are looking forward to keeping the green momentum going this semester with our annual Green Up Day, Recycle Mania, and our continuing efforts toward a zero-waste campus.  We are kicking off this Spring 2015 semester with our first meeting on Friday, February 13th at 1:30pm.  We’ll be the cool kids in G-10.

Stay tuned for more information in the coming months!  Enjoy the rest of winter!

Image Courtesy of R. Broch

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Service Learning Club’s Neighborhood Revitalization

Please join the BCC Service Learning Club this Saturday for a neighborhood revitalization day with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity.  The two-part project will include landscaping and building a wheelchair ramp.  Please email bmorrison@berkshirecc.edu for details and to sign up. 

What: Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization Day

When: Saturday, 11/8/14 from 8am to 2pm

Where: 35 New Hampshire Ave, Pittsfield

Wear (see what I did there?): Closed-toe shoes or boots, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, dress for the weather

Perks: FREE LUNCH, community spirit, joy, happiness

Please click here for additional information. 


Community Shredding Event, THIS Saturday, 11/1 from 9am-12pm

If you have boxes or drawers full of old paperwork and are looking for a place to dispose of them properly, come on down to BCC this Saturday from 9am to 12pm for a FREE community shredding event with Valley Green Shredding.  Drive up to the visitor’s lot on the BCC campus and your documents will be safely and confidentially shredded.  There’s even a screen to watch your stuff go through the shredder!  Very exciting stuff!  Tell your friends!

If you are cleaning out your BCC office and would like your stuff to be shredded, please email Charlie Kaminski.  There will be Green Team volunteers collecting boxes from the academic buildings on Saturday.  Please have your materials ready to go by Friday afternoon.

Please remove any 3-ring binders and batteries from your items to be shredded.  Spiral-bound notebooks, file folders, paperclips, and staples are okay.

While the event is free and open to the public, we are asking for a voluntary donation of a non-perishable food item to benefit the Berkshire Dream Center.

For all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans out there, you’re welcome.


Save the Date! Community Shredding Event, 11/1

Please join BCC Green Team for a Community Shredding event on Saturday, November 1st.  Held on the BCC campus from 9am to 12pm, we are offering free shredding to the Berkshire County community.  This event is an excellent opportunity to clear out your old private documents.  The shredding is free, but we are asking for non-perishable food donations in lieu of money.   Please bring your documents ready to shred.  More details to follow.

Today is National Coffee Day!

indexYou may be asking yourself, why is NATIONAL COFFEE DAY a Green Team post?  Here’s why: coffee production has a huge impact on the environment.  The four biggest areas of environmental concern are biodiversity and conservation of forest ecosystems, agricultural chemical use, water pollution from processing, and soil quality.  Traditionally, coffee is grown in the shade of a forest canopy where it provides shelter for wildlife, prevents erosion, and does not require chemical fertilizers.  Sadly, most of the coffee produced and consumed today is grown on plantations in the full sun where they require the addition of chemical fertilizers.  In order to create these monoculture plantations, millions of acres of forest have to be cleared away.  For more detailed information, please see articles posted at the end of this post.

cup_of_coffee_from_above_188319The simplest action you can take to green your coffee is to choose green coffee!  Although coffee beans are actually green prior to roasting, here we are referring to sustainably- and ethically-grown coffee.  Next time you are grocery shopping, take a minute to read the labels and ask questions.  If you are more of a coffee shop consumer, ask if they have (or have considered purchasing) alternatives to commercially-grown coffee.  There are many brands available that are shade-grown, organic, and fair trade certified.  These coffees do tend to be a little more expensive than your standard cup o’ joe, but looking at the big picture, it’s definitely worth it.  By choosing sustainable coffee over commercial coffee, you are sending a powerful message as a consumer.  And don’t forget to use your reusable mug!

Helpful Articles:

Coffee, Conservation, and Commerce in the Western Hemisphere, Natural Resources Defense Council.

How Green Is Your Coffee, The Guardian.

Taste Test: Green Beans, Sierra Club.

Environmental Impact of Agriculture, Human Geography: People and  the Environment


Household Hazardous Waste Collection for Pittsfield Residents — THIS SATURDAY

Many thanks to the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) for organizing this important hazardous waste collection!

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal for Pittsfield Residents Only!

Sat, September 13, 2014
9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Pittsfield Highway Facility
232 Housatonic St – Pittsfield

Examples of acceptable materials:

From The Yard/Garden:

  • Pesticides, Fungicides
  • Herbicides
  • Insect Sprays
  • Rodent Killers
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Flea Powder
  • No-Pest Strips
  • Chemical Fertilizers
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Moth Balls

From The Workbench:

  • Rust Proofers
  • Wood Preservatives
  • Wood Strippers & Stains
  • Paint Thinners
  • Lead & Oil-Based Paint
  • Varnish
  • Full Aerosol Cans
  • Sealants
  • Adhesives
  • Solvents
  • Spray Paint

From The House:

  • Drain Cleaners
  • Oven Cleaners
  • Floor Cleaners
  • Metal Polish
  • Arts & Crafts Supplies
  • Photo Chemicals
  • Chemistry Kits
  • Rechargeable Batteries

From The Garage:

  • Fuels/Gasoline/Kerosene
  • Brake & Transmission Fluids
  • Car Wax, Polish
  • Engine Degreaser
  • Swimming Pool Chemicals
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Antifreeze
  • Car-Lead Acid Batteries

Mercury Products:

  • Thermometers
  • Thermostats
  • Other mercury
  • Button Batteries


Latex Paint, Medical Wastes, Asbestos, Fireworks & Explosives, Ammunition, Construction Debris, Gas or Propane Cylinders, Smoke Detectors, Radioactive Material, Fire Extinguishers, PCB’s, Medications, motor oil

Fluorescent Lamps-Can be brought to Covanta on Hubbard ave. and the first 4, 4 foot lamps are free and it is $2 per lamp after that. Latex paint will not be accepted. Usable paint can be given away through freecycle.org or some non-profits. Empty or dried-up cans of latex can be recycled with scrap metal. Or empty latex/oil-based paints/stains can be disposed with the regular trash.

Contact Jamie at 445-4556, ext. 14 or for more information.

Welcome Back!

Greetings and salutations!  The Green Team is back and excited to get this semester started!  Interested in joining our team?  We coordinate efforts at the college to reduce the college’s carbon footprint, maintain sustainable practices, seek funding to carry out initiatives, and coordinate the college’s efforts with other colleges and institutions.  Our first meeting is Friday, September 5th at 1:30 in G10.   Come on down!  We’ve had a busy year and have much more planned in the months to come!

The BCC Green Team loves lots of things.  Here are some highlights:

  • BCC LOVES COMPOST!  Kevin Kennedy and his amazing cafeteria crew have been at the forefront of the campus’ Zero Waste initiative by implementing a composting program!  Click here for more information!
  • BCC LOVES SHREDDING (and not just on guitars, although that’s fun, too!)  Keep an eye out for a Fall shredding event!  With Hawthorne and Melville renovations just around the corner, now is a perfect time to start cleaning out those files and offices!
  • BCC LOVES ITS BLOG!  Sign up for campus updates, tips & tools on reducing your environmental impact, events in the area, volunteer opportunities, celebration of environmental holidays like Earth Day and World Water Day, and other delightful mishigas.
  • BCC LOVES ITS PEOPLE!  We are an awesome group of friendly, funny, intelligent, and resourceful faculty, staff, administration, community partners, and student representatives.  We just might be the best people ever.

If you have any questions or ideas and would like to get involved, please contact our team chair, Charlie Kaminski at ckaminsk@berkshirecc.edu.

Greening Your Dorm/Apartment

Whether you are a BCC student that has moved into your own place or you are a parent about to send off your teen to college, these 12 tips from TreeHugger can help you make environmentally-friendly choices.  This list is aimed at students, but offers great advice to anyone moving into new digs.

Some great ideas to remember:

  • Look for used furniture/accessories instead of buying new.  Many thrift shops and consignment stores offer great deals on used household items.  Also, don’t forget tag sales!  Bring some cash and have fun perusing the goods!
  • Hoping to score some free stuff?  Check out Freecycle and Craigslist.  Remember, personal safety is more important than free stuff, so use your brain and discretion when using these sites.
  • Personalize your new finds!  Painting, refinishing, and changing out the hardware is a great way to create unique pieces for your new living space.  This list from Buzzfeed has some great and quirky ideas!
  • Try to buy eco-friendly goods when possible.  There are plenty of green options for school supplies, cleaning products, and even toilet paper.  Take a few minutes to read those labels in the store!

Have fun!  Be green!

Volunteer Opportunity: Housatonic River Cleanup, 6/28


Help Clean Up the Housatonic River THIS WEEKEND

 Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) are organizing another river cleanup!

  • Where: Fred Garner Park (off Pomeroy Avenue in Pittsfield, MA)
  • When: Saturday, June 28, from 9 am to 1pm
  • What: Cleaning in the river and along the banks of the west branch of the Housatonic River
  • Bring:  Old clothes, rubber boots/waders/old sneakers (no sandals or open-toed shoes, please!), water, hat, sunscreen, bug spray
  • Trash bags and gloves will be provided

Lunch will be provided for all volunteers at the end of the cleanup! 

Please let BEAT or HVA know if you can join us (but come anyway, even if you decide at the last minute!) Contact Jane jane@thebeatnews.org or 413-230-7321 – or Alison adixon@hvatoday.org or 413-394-9796.




June 8th Is World Oceans Day: Together We Can Protect Our Oceans

ocean day

Sunday marks the 21st annual World Oceans Day — a very special day that honors, celebrates, and works to protect the world’s oceans.  What does the ocean mean to you?  Many of us have fond memories of summer vacations sprawled out on golden beaches with sparkling water lapping at the shore or sailing across the open water with the sea breeze blowing through your hair and the sun shining on your face.  Others have not-so-fond memories of stepping on horseshoe crabs or getting caught in an undertow, not to mention that oh-so-uncomfortable feeling of sand…everywhere!  Regardless of our memories (fond or otherwise), we cannot exist without our oceans.

Why are oceans so important?  In addition to providing endless hours of fun in the sun, our oceans are multitasking powerhouses!  They generate the oxygen we need to breathe, provide food, regulate the climate, and clean the water we drink, among other things.  The oceans are also home to countless species, many of which are still unknown to us.

To honor and protect our oceans, here are some ideas for conservation and celebration:

  • If you have the time and access, plan a trip to the nearest ocean and take a walk along the shores.  According to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols in his book, “Blue Planet,” humans share a special and deep emotional connection with the sea.  Just remember to respect the beaches by following all rules (especially about not walking on dunes and through protected habitats, please!)
  • Reduce your plastic consumption!  Did you know that most of the world’s garbage does not go into landfills but rather into the ocean?  Yes, that’s what trash barges do.  Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex?  As cool as a vortex sounds, it’s basically a gigantic swirling mess of sludge, debris, and (can you guess?) PLASTIC.  For more information on this horrifying flotilla of trash, click here.   Choose reusable and plastic-free options whenever possible!
  • Choose your seafood wisely!  Please click here for an easy-to-print pocket guide of safe and ethically harvested seafood in the Northeast.
  • Climate change impacts everything, especially our oceans.  Try out one of these footprint calculators and see what you can do.
  • Join a cleanup near you!  While Berkshire County might be a little far from the ocean, remember that all water ends up in the ocean eventually.  Join up with one of BEAT‘s cleanups this summer or pick up trash at your favorite picnic spot.  The more trash we can keep out of our waterways, the healthier our rivers and oceans will be.

Happy World Oceans Day!


Mother Nature Network, World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day Organization

Center for Biological Diversity Oceans Program