New Sustainable You: Zero Waste in the February Freeze

The New Sustainable You is a ZOOM program hosted by the Yonkers Public Library and presented by Crestwood Library staff member Jackie Leone. In 2022, the program will continue to explore sustainable habits for a healthier and environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Below are tips and recipes that Jackie shared during the last program, “Zero Waste in the February Freeze.”

How to “Read” Your ConEd Bill

ConEd charges customers what they pay for gas and electricity. Here are some definitions to help you interpret your bill.

Supply charges

Supply is the function of purchasing your electricity to cover the amount of electricity you used between meter reads. The cost also covers transporting that electricity to the grid.

Energy Supply

This is a charge for the exact amount of electricity that you used during the meter read. The amount of electricity is then multiplied by a rate, usually in cents, to calculate your total energy supply charge. The rate here is actually a prediction of Con Edison’s cost, not the current price of the commodity. So the rate may change drastically on a month to month basis due to the changes on the spot and day ahead electricity markets.

Demand Supply

This is the charge for the demand, the highest amount of electricity you used during any one given point in a meter read. This charge is for the space that is reserved to you on the grid. 

Merchant Function Charge

The merchant function charge is a charge associated with procuring electricity, credit, and collection related activities and uncollectable accounts. This covers the daily costs of the team tasked with purchasing electricity and the call center employees who answer your call. This item may also be eliminated if you choose to work with an energy service company (Esco).


DIY Cleaners, Soaps, and Lotions

Hand Lotion Bar Recipe


1 Part Coconut oil

1 Part Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter

1 Part Beeswax

1 teaspoon of an essential oil(optional)

  1. Heat Coconut oil, Shea butter/ Cocoa Butter, and 1 part Beeswax until they melt.
  2. Start with the cocoa butter first then add the softer oils.
  3. Add essential oil then pour into molds.

Wood Butter 

Ingredients and Materials

2 Tablespoons beeswax

6 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil

Wooden popsicle stick (or spoon)


Pour 2 inches of water into the bottom of a double boiler and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Combine the beeswax and coconut oil in the top of the double boiler and heat until they melt. Stir with a popsicle stick or spoon, then pour the mixture into a glass jar. Let the mixture set at room temperature, then cap the jar with an airtight lid and store the wood butter in a cool, dark place.

To Use: To condition wooden utensils and cutting boards, make sure they are clean and dry, then apply a thin layer of wood butter to the surface, buff with a clean, soft cloth, and allow to soak up the oils overnight.

Citrus Cleaner 


3 cups of white vinegar

2 cups of citrus peels (orange, lemon, lime or a combination)


Steep citrus peels in the vinegar for 2 weeks. Strain and compost the peels. 

To use: combine 1 part of the citrus vinegar to 1 part water

Do not use on varnished wood or are natural stone tiles.

Yonkers Public Library staff member Jackie Leone has resided in Crestwood since 1987. She advocates for the environment through the library program The New Sustainable You. Her goal is for the library to become a center for eco-conscious learning and environmental education.