Sustainable America Blog

Now Showing: ‘Wasted! The Story of Food Waste’

A still from Wasted: The Story of Food Waste

Today is opening day for Wasted! The Story of Food Waste. The new documentary, executive produced by Anthony Bourdain, aims to expose new audiences to the global problem of food waste and, ultimately, change our relationship to food. Learn how you can see it and who Bourdain hopes to reach.

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Cross-Country Race Proves Trucks Can ‘Run on Less’

Truck drivers who participated in Run on Less

Get the results of Run on Less, a cross-country race that showed how the trucking industry could save 9.7 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year.

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Eating Out Without Wasting Food

As kids, we were taught to clean our plates, but at today’s restaurants, that can be a monumental task. Big portions mean we end up eating more, but a hidden consequence is that we waste more, too. Our new infographic explores surprising facts behind restaurant food waste and easy tips for dining out without wasting food.

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Papaya Waste: The Fuel of Hawaii’s Future?

Rows of papaya fruit

Similar to fruit crops on the mainland, a sizable portion of the fruit grown in Hawaii never gets to the supermarket. A staggering 35% of the state’s multi-million-pound papaya harvest is culled from packinghouses due to reasons like disease and pest pressure or post-harvest damage. A researcher sees potential to produce biofuels from all that wasted papaya pulp.

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Why and How to Shop by Bike

fresh produce and eggs

Today, we bring you a guest post by Anne Marie Bonneau, otherwise known as The Zero-Waste Chef. Anne Marie blogs about living a zero-waste life, and she’s got some great tips. Here, she writes about shopping for food by bike.

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The Back-to-School Rule Every Parent Needs to Know

Idling cars near school playground

As kids head back to school around the country, here’s one school rule every parent need to follow: turn off your car when you’re waiting near a school. Use our new infographic to challenge your school community to take the pledge to stop idling.

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Find What’s Fresh with the Seasonal Food Guide App

Fresh peaches in a farmers market basket

There are few things better than eating a peach at peak ripeness while it’s still warm from sitting on a farmers market table. But where I live, the local peach season is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short — and I often miss it. With a new app and website from GRACE Communications Foundation, I’ll never miss another peach season.

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Car Sharing Beyond Uber and Lyft

People standing beside their Maven car share

A variety of app-driven companies are working to use technology to meet our personal transportation needs making it possible for more and more people to go car-free. Here’s a look at the options, including a few you might not have heard of yet.

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How to Reduce Food Waste Like a Chef

Learn proven ways to waste less food and save money

Are you ready to tackle food waste in your kitchen? Now, you can do it the way professional chefs do it with the “I Value Food: Too Good to Waste” Challenge.

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“Safe” Air Isn’t Safe Enough

Cars and trucks at a near standstill on a 9-land highway.

A new study released this week shows that levels of air pollution that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deems safe may not be safe enough. The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that long-term exposure to airborne fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and ozone — even below current standards established by established by the EPA — increases the risk of premature death.

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Are You Watching ‘Scraps’?

SCRAPS TV Show

Cooking with food waste has officially tipped the trendy scales. The concept now has its own TV series, called Scraps, which launched in late May on the FYI network. Sponsored by Sur La Table, the half-hour show features the cookware retailer’s chef Joel Gamoran and other chefs who create menus made with often-tossed items, like herb stems, broccoli stalks and chickpea water.

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What to Do with Lonely Leftovers

hand holding a tiny carrot between thumb and pointer finger

One of the biggest challenges of dealing with leftovers is figuring out what to do with small bits food. It seems like a waste to throw away a quarter cup of carrots or to toss that one piece of bread, but you can’t actually serve them as is. Author Brette Sember’s has tips for rescuing even the smallest bits of food, plus a recipe for incorporating leftovers into a completely new meal.

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Video: How Idling at School Affects Kids’ Health

cars idling exhaust fumes while kids play on playground

There’s an invisible threat to children’s health happening at U.S. schools every day. Air monitoring typically finds elevated levels of toxins during school pick-up times as parents idle their cars waiting for their kids. We’ve created this short video to help spread the message and help more schools go idle-free. Please watch, take the pledge to stop idling, and share the #iturnitoff movement in your school community.

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Why (and How!) Your School Should Do a Student Food Waste Audit

School lunch staff and students enjoy the new school lunch menu

Food waste happens at all points in our food system, and school cafeterias are no exception. With 31 million school lunches being served every day, there’s a tremendous untapped opportunity to prevent student food waste and teach kids about food conservation at the same time.

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A Smart Solution for Truck Idling

Trucks at night at a truckstop

Like most good innovations, Idle Smart’s automated idling management solution for trucks began with someone thinking, there’s got to be a better way. In this case, that person was a truck mechanic in Kansas, who realized a lot of the problems he was fixing were caused by the amount of idling trucks were doing while on the job. Functions like keeping cabin temperatures comfortable for drivers overnight or engines from freezing in cold weather are necessary to keeping trucks on the road, but idling engines cause wear and tear — and costs money in fuel and maintenance. Learn more about this smart solutions to truck riding…

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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