Sustainable Blog

7 Ways to Take Action on Idling

Reduce your idling impact and inspire others to do the same

Anti-idling bumper sticker

Most people don’t realize how much gas they’re wasting by idling their cars. But once they learn the facts about idling, they’re usually more than willing to change their behavior. With that in mind, we’ve put together seven steps you can take to raise awareness about this important issue. Helps us make turning off your engine rather than idling as commonplace as wearing your seatbelt!

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Fair Food Fund: Closing the Farm-to-Table Gap

A new local food financing fund seeks to support the "middleman"

farmer harvesting sweet potatoes

A new crop of businesses is developing that utilizes the food local farms produce, whether they are processing it for resale or using it as ingredients to produce new products. The Fair Food Fund, a new program from Fair Food Network, is hoping to help these businesses thrive by providing financing and business support for this often overlooked sector of the burgeoning local food system. We talked to its program director, Alex Linkow, to learn more about how the Fair Food Fund works and why it’s important to support the “middleman.”

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The Compostable Cup Conundrum

Cups made from corn are a great idea, right? Yes and no...

Compostable PLA cups made from corn

In theory, compostable cups made from corn seem like a great idea, but in practice they’re not aways the environmental boon we’d like them to be. Find out why in the latest blog post from Executive Director Jeremy Kranowitz.

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10 Ways to Use Extra Garden Vegetables

Got a bumper crop of veggies on your hands? Here's how to make sure none of it goes to waste.

Big tomato garden harvest

If your garden did well this year, there’s only so much tomato sauce you can make and so many zucchini breads you can freeze before you realize there’s just no way you’re going to be able to eat your garden’s bounty by yourself. Thankfully, there are many of ways to make good use of the surplus. After all, the average American wastes over 20 pounds of food each month – don’t let your overflowing garden add even more to this number!

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Meet the Man Who’s Asked Thousands of New Yorkers to Stop Idling

George Pakenham's vigilante approach to environmental justice

George Pakenham, producer of Idle Threat: Man on Emission

“Excuse me for bothering you… but are you aware that it’s against the law to idle your car engine in NYC for more than 3 minutes?”

Those are the words George Pakenham, a New Yorker who works in finance, has used to start thousands of discussions though car windows on the streets of Manhattan. What started as an impulsive act on his Upper East Side block in 2005 evolved into a full-blown citizen activism campaign that went all the way to City Hall and is still going strong. We caught up with George to find out more about his vigilante approach to environmental justice and “Idle Threat: Man on Emission,” the award-winning documentary he made about it.

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This Weekend: Visit Us at Boston GreenFest!

Free film screenings, entertainment, hands-on learning and more

Boston Greenfest 2014

If you’re in the Boston area this weekend and you’re interested in the environment, then you won’t want to miss Boston GreenFest 2014. This free, three-day festival, which brings together greater Boston’s green community to share ideas and learn about how to build a healthy and sustainable future, is happening Aug. 15-17 at Boston City Hall Plaza. Sustainable America will be there hosting screenings of “Idle Threat: Man on Emission,” educating about clean transportation and zero-waste events, and showing off innovative alt-fuel vehicles. Here’s where you’ll find us:

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How Much Can You Save with an Electric Vehicle?

New tool lets you compare real costs based on your car and commute

Charging an electric vehicle

If you know anything about electric vehicles, you probably know that they cost less to operate than gasoline-fueled cars. But the savings get harder to discern when you’re trying to figure out which car to buy. Will a used plug-in electric hybrid get better mileage than a new fuel-efficient gas-powered car? How do the electricity rates in your area affect the costs? A new tool called EV Explorer can answer those questions.

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Good Growth: Farmers Markets Still on the Rise

The U.S. continues to add farmers markets, but can the growth continue?

National Farmers Market Week

If it seems like farmers markets have sprouted from every vacant parking lot in the last few years, you’re not imagining things. According to the latest data from the USDA, the number of farmers markets in the United States has grown by 76 percent since 2008. In honor of National Farmers Market Week, here’s a look at the future of farmers markets.

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Alt Fuels: One More Reason to Love Our National Parks

From propane-powered shuttles to public EV chargers, our nation's parks are committing to clean transportation

Glacier National Park has offered biodiesel shuttles since 2007

The naturalist John Muir once wrote, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” That may explain why more than 270 million visitors flocked to U.S. National Parks in 2013. All those people mean plenty of cars, though, so the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program is working to protect our parks from pollution by finding ways to support and promote clean and alternative fuel usage within their boundaries.

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Rising Stars: High Schoolers Win National Contest on Sustainability

Students spread environmental message through award-winning video

Will Hart and Shikha Jaaswal

A few months ago, a couple of local high school students came to us for help with a project. They were looking for information about sustainability and green practices for a video they were producing. We were happy to help, but little did we know how far that video would take them.

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Hungry in Stamford? New CSA Available at Our Office

Sustainable America partners with Chubby Bunny Farm to distribute local produce in the Stamford area

A typical weekly box of vegetables from the Chubby Bunny Farm CSA

We’re happy to announce that our Stamford office is the newest CSA distribution point for Chubby Bunny Farm, a small family farm in Litchfield County, Conn., committed to sustainable farming practices. Members get a box of farm-fresh produce every Tuesday afternoon. Learn more about the CSA and find out how to sign up…

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Renewable Natural Gas: Clean, Green Energy

Let’s put our waste to work!

How Waste Can Be Used to Make Renewable Natural Gas

Think natural gas only comes from reserves of ancient fossils trapped deep underground? Think again. We’re actually sitting on a much-overlooked but plentiful source of natural gas here in America — and we don’t have to drill into the ground to get it. Check out our infographic to learn more.

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Support Sustainable America Through AmazonSmile

You shop, Amazon gives to Sustainable America

Amazon Smiles Sustainable America

Through its new AmazonSmile program, Amazon will donate .05% of eligible purchases to a charity of your choice, including Sustainable America, every time you shop. We’re inviting all our supporters to participate!

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4 New Restaurants Rethink Food Waste

Eating out without the waste

takeout containers for restaurant leftovers

Restaurants are a significant source of food waste, but we found four innovative eateries are proving that they can work without waste. Plus, find out how you can minimize food waste every time you dine out.

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10 Things to Do With Banana Peels

Think a banana peel is only good for the trash? Guess again.

10 Things to Do with Banana Peels

Perfect sliced on a bowl of cereal, blended in a smoothie, or just enjoyed by itself as an afternoon snack, the banana is the most popular fruit in the United States. The fruit even comes with its own convenient packaging, a peel that doubles as a mess-free way to hold it. And when you’re done, you just discard the peel like any old wrapper. But should you? Check out our infographic to find out.

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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.