Bethlehem Work on Waste (BWOW) was begun in the spring of 1989 by Betsy Lyons, Betty Albright, and other residents from the town of Bethlehem, New York. It began in opposition to American Ref-fuel/BFI's (Brown Ferris Industries and Air Products and Chemical Inc.) proposal to build an incinerator on Cabbage Island (now Beacon Island) in Bethlehem. After defeating the proposed American Ref-fuel/BFI incinerator the group organized with environmentalists from the town of Coeymans against a proposed ANSWERS (Albany New York Solid Waste Energy Recovering System) landfill. In 1992 the EAC (Energy Answers Corporation) proposed building a waste management facility that included an incinerator on Green Island, located in Albany near Troy, or Cabbage Island, the same site that BWOW fought to protect against American Ref-Fuel/BFI's proposal. On June 18, 1992 a referendum vote was held in Bethlehem and rejected EAC's proposal and prohibited the building of incinerators in the town. BWOW advocated the 3 R's: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The group wrote editorials, spoke at public meetings, held public forums, gave talks at schools and for community groups, and organized recycling days for the community. They were the first in the community to organize days for recycling of certain materials such as books, shoes, and latex paints. They mentored the student group Students Reduce Our Trash who put together a lesson plan for the Bethlehem Central School District incorporating the 3 R's. They also formulated a Solid Waste Disposal System for the town of Bethlehem. The group put out extensive information not only about themselves but also about the dangers of incineration. In 1991 the group incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Money came from member donations and fundraising events. The group ended its efforts in the mid 1990s. The last newsletter was issued in 1995
This collection documents the work of Bethlehem Work on Waste (BWOW) from its inception in 1989 and its first opposition of the American Ref-Fuel/BFI incinerator through 1995. The materials in the collection include correspondence between BWOW and members of town and state government as well as other environmentally concerned groups and individuals. There are also numerous news clippings related to the waste management facility proposals BWOW opposed, as well as articles about the group's activities within the town such as recycling days. BWOW also spoke and wrote about the dangers of incineration and promoted waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. There are notes from BWOW meetings and notes from speaking engagements. There are materials related to the three waste management facility proposals BWOW opposed. The files include relevant correspondence, news articles, reports and materials from the companies proposing the waste management facilities. There is also material related to the June 18, 1992 election in Bethlehem in which the EAC proposal was defeated and the town voted to ban incinerators. The collection also includes videos. Some of the videos are home recordings of news programs about the incinerator proposals. Greenpeace produced one of the videos about the dangers of incinerators and community protest against them. The collection is weak in the day-to-day operations of the group. There is little financial information. Files are arranged alphabetically within each series. Materials within the files are arranged chronologically, items without dates come first in the folders.
The collection is organized into the following series:
Files are arranged alphabetically within each series. Materials within the files are arranged chronologically, items without dates come first in the folders.
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Elizabeth Lyons in November 2002.
Processed by: Michelle M. Powers
Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on
Published: 2017-04-14 10:40:07 -0400
Encoded in EAD by Lisa Christopher, 2013
Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.
We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Bethlehem Work On Waste Records, 1989-1996. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
|1||13||Speaking Engagements, undated||Undated|
09a525acf17b970ab874de3c1f8837c92: Waste Management Facility Proposals, 1989-1995
BWOW was involved with three major opposition campaigns to waste management facilities. Each one is arranged as a sub-series. Sub-series one is American Ref-Fuel/BFI's proposal in 1989 to build an incinerator on Cabbage Island in Bethlehem. Sub-series two is the proposal by Albany New York Solid Waste Energy Recovering System (ANSWERS) in 1991 to create a landfill in the town of Bethlehem or Coeymans. BWOW worked with environmental organizations in the town of Coeymans to prevent its development in either area. Sub-series three is the Energy Answers Corporation (EAC) proposed building of a waste management facility that included an incinerator on Cabbage Island or Green Island. On June 18, 1992 a referendum vote was held in Bethlehem and rejected EAC's proposal and banned the building of incinerators in Bethlehem.
Files include proposals from the waste management companies, news clippings, legal papers related to the building of the facilities, correspondence from BWOW and other environmental advocacy organizations to government offices or the media, fliers for public forums, and items related to the scoping process. The "scoping process" is the process by which the public is given an opportunity to comment on the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS).
|1||1||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Proposal, undated||Undated|
|1||2||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator||1989|
|1||3||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator||1990|
|1||4||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, June-October 1990||1990|
|1||5||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator||1990|
|1||6||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator||1991|
|1||7||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator||1989|
|1||8||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator||1990-1991|
|1||9||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Scoping Process||1992|
|1||10||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Scoping Process||1992|
|1||11||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, New Releases from BWOW||1989-1990|
|1||12||American Ref-Fuel/BFI Incinerator, Flyers, undated||Undated|
|2||2||ANSWERS Landfill, 1992-1994||1992-1994|
|2||3||ANSWERS Landfill, 1994-1995||1994-1995|
|2||4||ANSWERS Landfill, Scoping Process||1995|
|2||5||ANSWERS Landfill, Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement||1990|
|2||6||ANSWERS Landfill, News Releases from BWOW||1991|
|2||7||ANSWERS Landfill, Flyers, undated||Undated|
|2||8||Energy Answers Corporation, undated, 1990||Undated|
|2||9||Energy Answers Corporation||1992-1994|
|2||10||Energy Answers Corporation, News Releases from BWOW||1991|
|2||11||Energy Answers Corporation, Flyers, undated||Undated|
|1||1||Bethlehem, Solid Waste Management Codes and Laws, undated||1989-1996, Undated|
|1||2||BWOW Solid Waste Plan||1993|
|1||3||Composting, undated||1989-1996, Undated|
|1||4||Flyers, undated||1989-1996, Undated|
|1||5||Household Hazards. A Guide to Detoxifying Your Home||1988|
|1||6||Illegal Dumping in New York State||1991|
|1||7||Incineration, 1988||1988, Undated|
|1||9||Lesson Plans||1989-1996, Undated|
|1||11||Lesson Plans, Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycle: A Solid Waste Program for the Bethlehem Central School District||1991|
|1||12||Lesson Plans, Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycle: A Solid Waste Program for the Bethlehem Central School District||1991|
|1||13||Lesson Plans, Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycle: A Solid Waste Program for the Bethlehem Central School District||1991|
|2||4||News Releases from BWOW||Undated|
|2||9||Recycling and Composting||1990|
|2||10||Recycling and Composting Programs, Volume 1||1992|
|2||11||Recycling and Composting Programs, Volume 2||1992|
|2||12||Recycling and Composting Programs, Volume 3||1992|
|3||1||Superfund Monitoring Program||1987|
|3||3||Town Board Meetings||1992|
|1||1||Solid Waste Town Meeting, #1||1989, 1989-1996|
|1||2||A WMHT Town Meeting #2. Questions, Concerns, Misconceptions: Integrated Waste Management in the Capital Region||1990|
|1||3||North St. Dump||1992|
|1||4||The Rush to Burn||Undated|
|1||5||WOW No.3 Saugus, Massachusetts Incinerator||Undated|