Sustainable America Blog

Will Self-Driving Cars Reduce Emissions?

Audi Alco Concept car

Despite recent fatal accidents, there is little question that self-driving cars are here to stay. What is not yet clear is whether driverless cars represent an environmental boon or an unforeseen emissions nightmare. The answer is up to us.

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5 Ways to Green Your School

I’m a junior at New Canaan High School, and I am grateful for the ways my schools have worked environmental lessons into my education. When environmental consciousness starts young, students can form green habits that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. While tight budgets may make it a challenge for schools to make big changes, here are some inexpensive ways to get started greening your school.

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The Way Cheap Food Feeds Big Hunger and Inequality

Grocery store aisle

Is the growing trend of using food waste as a hunger solution ignoring the more complicated questions of why we produce and waste so much food in the first place? Andy Fisher, author of Big Hunger, argues yes.

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Seed Sharing in the Age of Climate Change

Woman saving seeds at a community seed swap

Sharing seeds is the age-old practice of saving seeds from your own plants and sharing them with others. At first glance, it can seem like a quaint hobby, but seed saving and sharing can actually be an act of building resilience.

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Police to Motorists: Stop Idling Your Cars

Key in a car ignition

Letting your car idle unattended is not only bad for the environment and air quality, it could end up costing more—a fine or even your car itself.

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6 Ways to Green Your Super Bowl

Super Bowl Party Foods

Wondering what you can do to make this your greenest Super Bowl party ever? These tips will help you score an eco-win on game day.

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Super Bowl LII Aims to Score Zero for Waste

US Bank Stadium is where 2018 Super Bowl will be played

No matter who wins the Feb. 4 matchup between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis, this year’s Super Bowl LII will be a victory for the green sports movement. If all goes according to plan, it will be a “zero-waste” Super Bowl. Here’s how they’re doing it.

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6 Ways to Shop Smart and Waste Less

We think of food waste as something that happens at home. But really, it starts with what we put in our grocery carts. With supermarkets designed to tempt us in every aisle, it’s easy to end up overbuying. Here are some tips to help you buy just what you need.

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What’s the Greenest Way to Ship Packages?

Online vs. Traditional Shopping

If you’ve found yourself buying more of your holiday gifts online every year, you’re not alone. Most Americans, 79 percent, shop online, and the volume of online holiday shopping increases every year. With so much free two-day shipping available, who can blame us? But does it make you wonder what effect all those doorstep deliveries are having on the environment?

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10 Ways to Use Citrus Peels

Illustrations of citrus fruit

Citrus is one of the few fruits that comes in its own natural package. But did you know those peels can be more than just colorful wrappers? We asked Anne-Marie Bonneau, who blogs at The Zero Waste Chef, how she uses citrus peels — she had so many great ideas that we put them together in an infographic.

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New Study Measures the ‘Foodprint’ of Food Waste

The Footprint of Food Waste

As you scrape food into the trash, do you ever stop to think about all the resources you’re throwing away along with it? The land it was grown on, the water and fertilizer that helped it grow, the energy used to harvest, store and deliver it?

A new study, by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Sustainable America, considered these questions by analyzing the resource use associated with our diet, including the portion that gets wasted. Our infographic breaks down the results.

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Building a Better Coffee Cup

The TrioCup coffee cup with no plastic lid

The founders of TrioCup are on a mission to design a better cup of coffee—literally. What started as a project for a student competition is may be in a coffee shop near you soon.

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What to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy

Parent or not, Halloween candy is inescapable this time of year. Between your kids’ haul, the leftovers from what you give out to trick or treaters and the snack bowl at work, most of us are facing more candy than we can or should eat.

To deal with this candy deluge, many people let their kids eat it for a week then simply throw away the rest when the novelty wears off. We get it—we shouldn’t sacrifice our health for the sake of reducing food waste. But before you send that sack full of sugary treats to the landfill, consider these ideas.

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8 Reasons to Turn Off an Idling Car

8 Reasons to Turn Off an Idling Car

It happens, we know. You’re picking up a friend, waiting for a food order, or just trying to warm up your car on cold morning — and you leave it running for a little while. It’s easy to let those minutes tick by, but getting into the habit of turning your car off when you’ll be idle for more than 10 seconds can make a big difference for your pocketbook and the planet.

We put together this infographic to illustrate the many benefits of turning off your car. Be part of the solution by taking our pledge to Turn It Off when you’ll be idle for more than 10 seconds.

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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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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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