One year ago, Hudson River Park kicked off Park Over Plastic, our initiative to eliminate single-use plastics and further Park sustainability goals. With the support of Park staff, tenants, students and our community, Park Over Plastic has a lot to celebrate so far. Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, HRPK is committed to reducing single use plastics, in support of NYC’s zero waste goals. We’re excited to celebrate this anniversary by reflecting on some of our major accomplishments from the past year!
- 14 Green Partners have chosen to support us in our strides by choosing to reduce their own reliance on single-use plastic. Green Partners are local businesses within Hudson River Park that have embraced the Park Over Plastic mission. When we work together, we can achieve more — thank you, Green Partners!
- 10,000 students and Park visitors learned about the impacts of plastic in our environment during field trips and public programs. Every year, teachers, summer camp coordinators and members of our community look to Hudson River Park for hands-on STEM programs to enhance their learning. Since launching Park Over Plastic, HRPK has used this platform to educate our community about plastic pollution and what we can do to address the issue.
- 50+ indoor and outdoor water fountains have been installed throughout Hudson River Park to help you hydrate sustainably.
- 25 additional recycling bins are now available throughout the Park. When it comes to plastic waste, we’re making an effort to make it as convenient as possible to do the right thing. These new recycling bins are located near normal trash bins, and we’ve created a guide to help inform what goes where.
- We conducted an HRPK Waste Audit. The Park began its first waste audit with partner Knology in summer 2019 to study the impact of Park Over Plastic. Knology surveyed Park staff, tenants and visitors to learn their views and behaviors connected to plastic. The audit also included a study of waste bins throughout Hudson River Park to measure misplaced waste, such as how much landfill waste is placed in recycling bins and how much recyclable waste is placed in landfill bins. This will help us understand how the Park can encourage proper waste disposal and evaluate the effectiveness of Park Over Plastic in the future. Initial findings from this two year study reveal a conscientious and supportive community that is ready to embrace Park Over Plastic.
- We published HRPK’s Green Resource Guide. This publicly-accessible resource guide supports Park tenants and visitors by providing suggestions for plastic alternatives. It lays out suitable green alternatives to help Park staff easily identify plastic alternatives and where to look for them. It also provides an overview of the impacts of plastic in our environment, what Hudson River Park is doing about it and how you can help.
- Our scientists researched microplastics. HRPK’s staff scientists research the concentration of microplastics, plastic fragments smaller than 5mm, in Hudson River Park’s waters. This annual study has been conducted in partnership with Brooklyn College since 2016. By collecting and analyzing microplastics, HRPK is contributing to regional efforts to understand this emerging threat.
- We expanded the Park’s Marine Debris Survey. Every year, volunteers help the Park conduct this study by counting, categorizing and removing plastic debris from our shoreline. Previously, this study focused on the shoreline at Gansevoort Peninsula, and in 2019 we expanded this study to Pier 76. This second location will broaden our understanding of plastics in HRPK and their impact. In 2019, volunteers helped remove over 550 pounds of marine debris from HRPK’s shorelines!
- Sustainability Partners have teamed up with Hudson River Park to support the education, research and events that we’re able to provide to our community. This partnership is defined by our mutual support; the Park offers partners a chance to get involved in volunteer projects and events while they promote their own brand and sustainability initiatives with our network. If your organization is interested in becoming a Sustainability Partner, please reach out to Tom Lindon, VP of Marketing and Events at email@example.com to learn more.
- We developed a new Plastic Reduction Curriculum to be shared during field trips and public programs, as well as online for at-home learning. Hudson River Park’s team of environmental educators wrote new lessons to dive deeper into the effects of plastic on the estuarine ecosystem in Pollution Solutions II, share the Park’s research with the public in Open Field Lab and empower students to continue learning about sustainability from home in our STEM Activities of the Week: Plastic Rapid Survey and Plastics & the Food Web.
Hudson River Park is grateful to everyone who has helped us make this first year of Park Over Plastic so successful. In the years to come, we’re excited to continue growing our network of support as we work to improve the health of our Park and waterways. As leaders in sustainability in NYC, we will continue to push this initiative forward and amplify awareness to help our communities change their behaviors for a better environment for us all.