Sustainable Blog

Enter the #IValueFood Earth Day Instagram Contest!

Win a CompoKeeper Kitchen Compost Bin!

I Value Food Earth Day Instagram Contest

To celebrate Earth Day 2015, Sustainable America’s I Value Food campaign and CompoKeeper are teaming up to host an Instagram photo contest. We want to see all of the creative ways our food-waste savvy followers are reinvigorating those once-forgotten leftovers, repurposing dinner scraps and keeping food out of the landfill.

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Food Waste Tips from Real People

Our staff shares their favorite ways to reduce food waste

food_waste_real_people

Our staff thinks a lot about food waste at work, whether we’re researching data for the I Value Food campaign, helping events go zero waste or composting our coffee grounds in the break room. But even though we’re well versed on strategies to reduce food waste, we all still have to work hard each day to waste as little food as possible in our own lives. In order to find out what practices really work, we asked our staff to share the tips that have made the biggest difference in their own kitchens. Here’s what they said…

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New Ways to Reduce Idling in Your Community

We’ve heard you. You’ve taken our pledge to stop vehicle idling, and you want to do more. Now you can.

Idling reduction campaign materials

Are you ready to take action against vehicle idling? Whether you want to educate drivers in your neighborhood or launch your own idling reduction campaign, we just launched a range of resources and toolkits anyone can download and order on demand. It’s your turn to turn it off and pass it on.

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How to Compost at Work

A starter guide to reducing food waste in the workplace

Sustainable America's office compost bin

Although the concept of a lunch hour has changed in recent decades, millions of Americans still eat in the workplace nearly every day. That means that millions of sandwich crusts, banana peels and coffee grounds (lots of coffee grounds) get tossed out in the office garbage. Although many employers and corporate office buildings in America have implemented successful workplace recycling programs, few can say the same about composting programs. Here’s a look at how we started an office composting system, and you can too!

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Can You Host a Dinner Made From Salvaged Food?

Salvage Supperclubs, food waste pop-ups, and how to throw a party with food destined for the trash

Salvage Supperclub diners dine in a dumpster

From dinners held in dumpsters to a high-end pop-up restaurants, food waste is being elevated to haute cuisine as a way to spread awareness about the issue. Learn more about the trend, and how to host your own wasted food dinner party.

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New York City May Enlist Citizens to Help Enforce Idling Laws

Citizens could submit video and share the fines collected

I Turn It Off Bumper Sticker

Laws against idling vehicles are on the books across the country, but in many places, including New York City, they aren’t heavily enforced. Two New York City Council members are hoping to change that by introducing a bill on Wednesday that will reward citizens for reporting idling violators. If adopted, citizens could upload videos of idling vehicles to a city website and receive a payment if fines are collected.

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A Milestone for Zero-Waste Events

We’re ready to help your event go zero-waste

Volunteers from Sacred Heart University helped patrons at Chilifest sort their food waste.

On Superbowl Sunday, we partnered with a local culinary competition event to help them compost their food waste. We just learned that the event diverted more than four times as much waste to compost than last year’s event — that’s 2,840 pounds of food scraps and compostable items that are being recycled into a nutrient-rich soil supplement instead of being incinerated!

The numbers are one thing to celebrate, but Chilifest has also helped us reach an important milestone as an organization. We’re now equipped with the tools and expertise to help even more events around the country compost their food waste.

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New Dietary Guidelines: Cut Back on Meat to Help the Environment

The nation's dietary advisors connect healthy food choices to food security for the first time

Beef for sale at meat counter

Last week brought big food news affecting everything on our dining room table, from eggs and coffee at breakfast to steaks at dinner. It came in the form of the latest recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for amounts of various foods that Americans should eat. Read Executive Director Jeremy Kranowitz’s reaction to the news.

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A New Fix for the Nitrogen Problem

New technology helps farmers grow more with less impact on the environment

Cornfield

Even though farmers don’t blindly follow outmoded aphorisms of the trade, like measuring corn “knee-high by the Fourth of July”, many do still abide by old habits. Some apply manure annually in November regardless of weather or land conditions. Many do their best to adapt to the season’s rainfall, yet treat all their farmland the same way, regardless of how that land varies across acreage. And that hurts their bottom lines—and the environment. A new technology, however, has the potential to push farming forward by helping farmers grow more with less impact on the environment.

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Student Group Takes Action on Idling

A clogged intersection turned these Vermont high schoolers into anti-idling activists

Students on the Bright Lights: Go Green campaign

Students often seek us out for information about sustainability issues, and helping these young activists is one of the most satisfying things about our work. A recent example is Jack Carnahan, a senior from Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vermont, who contacted us asking for help on an issue that we care deeply about: vehicle idling.

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2014 in Review: A Message From Our Executive Director

Learn about how Sustainable America impacted food and fuel issues in 2014

2014_Year-End_Review

The problem is clear: Two of the top three expenses for most Americans are food and fuel, even despite today’s lower gas prices. Our current food and fuel systems are tightly interconnected and unsustainable. Sustainable America’s mission is to tackle these issues by helping to reduce America’s oil consumption by 50 percent and increase food availability by 50 percent over the next two decades. Here are a few highlights of our organization’s accomplishments and milestones that made a difference in 2014.

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How the Fridge of the Future Will Fight Food Waste

Your refrigerator called; it's out of milk

ChillHub and MilkyWay

Are you ready for a smarter refrigerator? Many of the kitchen appliance ideas we saw coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month focused on convenience and novelty, but several stand-out projects promise to help your fridge help you do what it’s intended to do: keep food from spoiling until you eat it.

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Creative Ways to Use Leftovers

Secrets to savoring food the second time around

Making pasta sauce with leftover vegetables

For all kinds of reasons — environmental, social and financial — it makes sense for us to get smarter about fully using the food that we purchase. And that means getting smarter about leftovers. Here are five tips for using those extras from I Value Food, Sustainable America’s new campaign to help end food waste.

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How We Got an EV Charger at Work (and You Can, Too)

Workplace charging is trending. Will your employer be next?

Sustainable America's EV charger at the office

I drive a plug-in electric hybrid to work, and often mine isn’t the only PEV in the lot. With all this electric vehicle traffic, we realized it was high time to install an EV charger at our headquarters. We are not the only tenants in our building, and we wanted everyone to be able to fill up their batteries at work. Here’s how we went about it, plus some tips for those of you who want to lobby your employer to install a charger at your workplace.

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Chicago Brewery Says “Cheers” to Reducing Food Waste

Goose Island brews “Zero Percent” beer to support food waste startup

Goose Island and Zero Percent team

Can beer help end food waste? Two Chicago-area businesses think so. Starting January 15, Goose Island Brew Pub will be pouring a batch of “Zero Percent,” a tribute beer named for technology startup Zero Percent, a company that helps businesses donate food that would otherwise be thrown away to nonprofits.

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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.