ECO-BULLETIN Vol 14, No 3 – March 2, 2020


The ‘Bag Ban’ Is Here!

Effective March 1, most stores are no longer be able to provide single use plastic bags at the checkout counter. This law was enacted to help reduce waste and pollution associated with plastic bags. There are a lot of questions people have about this law, and it’s too complicated to be easily summarized here. Visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at for full information.

While paper bags are allowed and will be offered at many stores, note that paper bags pose their own problems. The manufacturing of paper bags requires a lot of water, energy, and polluting chemicals. Since they are heavier and take up more space than plastic bags, paper bags also cost more in terms of fuel and carbon emissions to ship to stores. The best bet? Pack your bags! Bring your own bags with you to the store. Any store! Otsego County Solid Waste Department currently has a limited supply of reusable cloth bags available, free of charge. Contact Recycling Coordinator Shane Digan at (607) 547-4225 for information on how to get one. OCCA will also have a limited supply of sturdy, attractive tote bags made from used pet food bags at Earth Festival in April, if you can wait a little longer, and most retailers have reusable bags available for low cost.

Finally, stores that were required to collect plastic bags and film plastic before the ban are still required to do so! Visit and search by ZIP code to find a drop off location near you!

Earth Festival—Call for Exhibitors/Vendors and Sponsorships

What do food co-ops, beeswax food wax makers, and solar energy companies have in common? They’ll all be exhibiting at Earth Festival! Planning is underway for the 15th annual event, a fun, family-friendly gathering of environmentally-oriented organizations, individuals and business. If you would like to showcase your products, services or information at this year’s Earth Festival, visit for more information or click the button below to apply. Earth Festival will be held on Saturday, April 18 from 11am to 3pm at Milford Central School, and will include favorite activities such as the pre-event bird walk, free paper shredding and recycling of other items; the EcoArt contest; and the clothing swap. Table space is limited, don’t delay!

Solar Energy Workshop

March 7, 8:30am-3pm, Herkimer College

Solar Energy and the Future of Farming in the Mohawk Valley brings together experienced renewable energy professionals in the fields of energy economics, land use planning, leasing law and dual use agricultural practices to give area residents the tools to make informed choices about solar energy development in their communities. This workshop will help farmers, land owners and municipal officials plan for the development of large (2-5MW) and utility scale solar installations in the Mohawk Valley. Attendees will learn about the best practices in working with solar developers, how farmers are creating new opportunities through hosting solar installations on their land, and will have the opportunity to ask questions about land leasing terms and conditions, alternative strategies and municipal impacts. Workshop is free and open to the public by prior registration. To register, please call (315) 866-7920 or visit . For more information, contact Garet D. Livermore at the above number, or by email: Workshop is sponsored by OCCA, Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, Herkimer College and Cornell Cooperative Extension—Herkimer County.


April 18: Earth Festival, 11am-3pm, Milford Central School, Milford
April 21: The Hidden Tower walk, 10am-noon, Clark Tower Property, Beaver Meadow Rd, Cooperstown
May 9: Early Morning Birds, 7am-9am, Mohican Farm, Springfield

How You Can Help Protect Our Local Environment

Donations provide the foundation for our work throughout Otsego County. By becoming a supporter of OCCA, you become a part of a unique countywide environmental organization whose mission is to protect local natural resources for the benefit of all. 


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