Get Your GreenBack Tompkins is a community-based campaign to inspire all 42,000 households and every business in Tompkins County
to take at least one
step to save energy and money in the areas of
and Heating and Lighting
"In our small backyard garden and our plots at Dryden Community Garden my household of 5 grows a lot of our food! While we grow all sorts of veggies what really saves us money is tomatoes, sweet corn ... and squash. Here is a pic of just one squash haul!" more
Kerra Quinn - August 30, 2012
"Over 1000 people braved the cold, clouds and drizzles in Ithaca's Southside to participate in the third edition of Streets Alive! The new route brought new faces, who enjoyed the walking, biking, drum... ming, and freedom of streets that were car-free (for a few hours)." more
Streets Alive! - September 23, 2013
""The Cornell Energy Corps' renovations in Mann Library continue with more energy efficient lights in the elevators. Project Manager Ashley Kossakowski completed the replacement of 21 count 45W incande... scent, 6 count 50W incandescent bulbs, and 29 30W halogen bulbs with 7.5W LED light bulbs. There are a total of three elevators, each with 14 light bulbs. Changing all 56 light bulbs cost $839.44 but will save $1,039.38 annually!"" more
Cornell Energy Corps - April 4, 2013
"I canned our harvest this year with delicious holiday presents in mind....tomato marmalade, peach preserves, hot and mild salsa, pickled beets and escabeche (among other goodies!). Since I'm on a tigh... t budget, this is a thoughtful and loving gift that captures the local flavors grown & canned here in Tompkins County. And, if I want some locally made maple syrup to top off the present (which my whole family loves) - I can get it at Brookton's Market or Greenstar. Go local!" more
Samantha Smith - December 2, 2012
"The Lost Sock Tribe breathes new life into old, mismatched socks, turning them into cute puppets and dolls."
The Lost Sock Tribe Chief - November 28, 2012
"In August, hundreds of people lined up to shop Cornell's annual Dump & Run sale. The sale is a great example of shopping second hand.The 2013 spring collection netted about 30 tons of reusable items. ... Instead of throwing away no longer needed items students donate things such as clothing, office supplies, furniture, and electronics. Everything is then sold at a fantastic deal. Additionally, this year $60,500 was donated from the sale to six local charitable organizations." more
Cornell Dump & Run Sale - December 18, 2013
April Step of the Month: LOVE YOUR COMPOST!
Nearly 60% of Tompkins County residents report composting food scraps at home. Do you?
Good for your pocketbook: saves $ on trash tags or disposal fees
Good for your garden: compost makes great soil for growing flowers and plants
Good for the planet: Food scraps make up 30% of our waste. Composting keeps this from being trucked to a landfill far away
Try Compost! From apartment to acres, learn how to compost where you live.
42,000 Step Zumba Celebration!
Register your step to reach our 42,000 goal, and celebrate our collective victory with a zumba dance led by master teacher Cynthia Henderson.
Sunday, May 4th
Place: Boynton Middle School
on the Solar Stage.
The celebration will be part of Earth Day activities and will be on the Streets Alive!
route. Come dance, and then enjoy the streets closed to traffic and open to people!
"I graduated from CCETC’s 10-week Master Composter program in May 2011, just a few months before GREEN$BACK was launched. The skills I’ve learned are not difficult to apply and quite rewarding to ... implement. I now turn “yard waste” into premier topsoil for our garden and houseplants, saving more than $100 per year in the bargain.
I’ll break down that figure later, once I’ve described my learning journey and the basics of home composting.
First, an admission: My wife Iris did all the composting in our household for the first thirty-two years of our togetherness. Five years ago, seeking to finally help in the garden, I volunteered to “handle the compost.”
We already had a black plastic “Darth Vader” compost bin and a wood-pallet leaf-bin, constructed by Iris in the last century. I filled these bins rather haphazardly with leaves and all manner of food scraps, yielding minimal results. The compost piles didn’t much reduce, and I soon ran out of space in the bins.
I purchased a welded wire cylinder bin during January 2007, when I first met Adam Michaelides, CCETC’s Program Manager of Compost Education. Adam advised me to “lasagna layer” our “browns” (dry leaves) and “greens” (food scraps) in layers throughout the compost pile. He also wanted my excess leaves (!) for distribution to other composters in Tompkins County, placing a value on the “waste” I packed into about 35 large plastic bags each autumn for curbside pick up by the City of Ithaca.
Thus I started lasagna layering, but did nothing else. The layering – dry leaves on top – yielded more topsoil than I was getting before. My lack of composting knowledge, however, prevented me from harvesting the bounty of “black gold” that one could expect from such large piles. Black gold is the coveted harvest of homegrown topsoil, transformed from stuff otherwise destined for the landfill.
It took nearly four years to fill the wire-mesh bin. I was jolted then with the pressing need to do something educational to deal with our bulging compost piles. I applied and was accepted for CCETC’s 10-week Master Composter (MC) program starting in February 2011.
MC training teaches basic and advanced composting methods, “the facts
of life in the compost pile.” I learned how to feed and nurture the “compost cosmos,” a term I coined for the functioning universe of microbial creatures like bacteria and protozoa, and seeable fungi, mites, millipedes, centipedes, sow bugs, earthworms, ground beetles and countless other species that perform the decomposing “work.”
The most effective composting is WONC, shorthand for Water, Oxygen, Nitrogen (food scraps) and Carbon (dry leaves) in the compost pile. The balanced combination of these elements, when tested by hand, should feel damp, like a freshly wrung out sponge.
I enjoy watering and managing our reduced compost piles. I feel a sense of purpose in carefully layering the crinkly dry leaves over food scraps, providing the multitudinous universe of compost critters with oxygen for faster decomposition. Last September, I harvested more than a dozen bushels of black gold for our garden and houseplants.
We reap the nutritional benefits of this organic topsoil every day at the dinner table. The houseplants, likewise, respond with quickened growth, renewed color and (sometimes) flowering after they are each fed a handful or two of our precious soil.
I no longer place any leaves at curbside. They are too valuable for wasting. The City now prohibits non-biodegradable plastic bags for yard waste pickup, and it’s also no longer free. Leaves must be placed in large, durable paper bags. The required yard waste tags cost $1.50 each. Bags are sold in bundles of five for $1.87 (plus tax) at Lowe’s; however, each bag only holds about three-quarters of the leaves that can be stuffed into a large plastic leaf bag.
Dollar wise, the 53 paper bags I’d need for curbside pickup today costs $21.41 (plus gas). The tags alone would run $79.50. That’s $100.91 in GREEN$BACK annual cash savings, at minimum. The total value of home composting runs much higher. That’s my “step” for GYGB. What’s yours?" more
John Milich - October 10, 2012
"We started composting about a year ago just to help reduce our garbage bill. It has become so much more that that. Our kids are very conscious of it and get confused when we go to someone's house wh... o does NOT compost. We have certainly saved money doing this!" more
Renee - March 15, 2013
Master Composters are a group of volunteers trained to educate the public about, and instill enthusiasm for, composting. Volunteers achieve these goals in a number of ways. They conduct workshops at Demonstration Sites throughout the county. Through exhibits and demonstrations, they provide information at community events held during the year at various locations. Volunteers also offer troubleshooting and technical assistance to composters in the community.
Cayuga Compost is proud to provide a food waste collection and composting service to local businesses to divert their food scraps from the waste stream and turn it into high quality compost. With 10 years of commercial composting experience, we guarantee prompt professional service. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your solid waste disposal challenges. With shrinking landfill space and an increasing concern about the environment, we are taking organic materials and creating high quality compost products.
3225 Agard Rd. Trumansburg NY 14886 Phone: 607-387-6826 Fax: 607-387-7179
2. Save Money & Energy
Supporting the communities of Ithaca, Lansing, Dryden, Freeville, Groton, Trumansburg, Cayuga Heights, Caroline, Danby, Newfield, Enfield and Ulysses in taking energy-saving steps.