Sustainable America Blog

Sustainable America Joins 1% for the Planet

One Percent for the Planet logo

Sustainable America is thrilled to join the growing network of businesses and nonprofit partners aligning through the 1% for the Planet movement to protect and improve our world. Just like the team at 1%, we passionately believe in the power of connections and the strength of a bond between businesses and mission-driven organizations.

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Accelerating to a Fuel-Efficient Future

BMW Concept X5 eDrive

There have been two competing car narratives happening recently. A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported on how improvements in overall fuel economy have stalled, not surprisingly since the price of gasoline has dropped to $2 per gallon. But the options for drivers who want to buy electric vehicles are better than ever.

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Food Rescue: Now There’s a Map for That

Food Rescue Locator, a directory of food rescue organizations

To help simplify and strengthen the food donation process, we have just launched the Food Rescue Locator in collaboration with our partners at EndFoodWaste.org and the Food Rescue Alliance. This free online tool allows anyone with excess food (individuals, offices, events, restaurants, you name it!) to find a nearby food rescue group they can donate to.

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Stony Creek Colors: A Seed-to-Jeans Story

Stony Creek Colors makes indigo dye for denim in the USA by sourcing natural indigo from farmers in the South

If something can be said to be more American than apple pie, it’s probably blue jeans. Unfortunately, the trademark denim blue color has become dependent upon toxic chemical processes. Natural indigo, the original plant source of that famous blue jean color, has been almost entirely forgotten in the textile supply chain. Stony Creek Colors, our latest investment, is working to bring back natural, American-made indigo dyes and give farmers needed opportunities to grow new, sustainable crops.

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Logan High School Clean Air Poster Contest

Logan High School 2015 Clean Air Poster Contest winner

Utah is experiencing some of its worst measures of air quality in years due in large part to vehicle idling. In order to reach new drivers with the anti-idling message and get them involved in creating change, Utah State University professors started a popular poster contest program that is educating teens, spreading awareness and teaching real-world marketing skills in the process.

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7 Exciting Findings from ReFED’s Food Waste Report

One solution to food waste is developing the market for imperfect produce

A group of the country’s foremost experts and business leaders concerned with food waste convened in Stanford, Calif., on March 9 for the release of a report that could be a turning point in the movement to reduce food waste in the United States. The first of its kind, the report looks at the problem of food waste through an economic lens. It analyzes the costs and benefits of various solutions to the problem and offers up strategies for putting the solutions into action. Here are some of the most exciting findings.

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How the Moringa Tree Could Improve Nutrition Worldwide

After moringa leaves are harvested, they are dried and ground.

Lisa Curtis first encountered moringa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger when a local woman suggested she eat the tree’s leaves to combat fatigue caused by her vegetarian diet. Soon she felt better and became an advocate for the nutritional power of moringa, a drought-tolerant tree that has provided food around the world for thousands of years. Read how Curtis’ company Kuli Kuli, our latest investment, is creating an market for moringa to improve nutrition and livelihoods of women farmers in the developing world.

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2015 Year-End Review: A Year of Ingenuity

Sustainable America

One of the most popular movies of 2015 was The Martian, a story of an astronaut, stranded on Mars, who uses ingenuity to grow food in poor Martian soil, capture solar energy to extend the distance he can travel in rovers, and communicate with the public on Earth. This captivating movie has a lot in common with the year we had at Sustainable America.

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How to Compost in Winter, Indoors or Outdoors

How to compost in winter by Rebecca Louis, author of Compost City

Don’t let Old Man Winter put the freeze on your composting efforts! He’ll try his best to thwart you by turning your piles to ice, slowing down microbes, shooing away composting crawlies, and stealing away the sun. Still, composters with a fire for recycling food scraps can melt through any Polar Vortex, Arctic Assault or plain ol’ cold snap to make sure the job gets done. Here are a few tips and strategies for making winter composting a success from Rebecca Louie, author of Compost City.

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Teen Activist Pushes Town to Go Idle-Free

Alex Scaperotta is a teen environmental activist in Wilton, CT, on a mission to convince drivers to stop idling

For more than half of his life, 17-year-old Alex Scaperotta has been fighting to end unnecessary vehicle idling in his hometown of Wilton, Conn. As a third grader, Scaperotta became interested in climate change. Wanting to make a difference, he … Continue reading

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Top 5 Food Waste Trends of 2015

City Harvest Lead Distribution Center Associate Kareem Weekes at work with a rider pallet jack and rescued carrots before U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiberg will join with private industry and charitable organizations represented by City Harvest Executive Director Jilly Stephens, Food Marketing Institute President and CEO Leslie Sarasin; and Feeding America Chief Supply Chain Officer Bill Thomas, to announce the United States’ first food waste reduction goals at City Harvest’s food recycling facility in Long Island City, N.Y., on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

It seems that food waste is having a moment.

When we launched I Value Food a year ago, we knew the food waste issue was starting to get more attention, but we couldn’t foresee the tremendous progress the movement would make in 12 months. Looking back, 2015 may go down in history as the year Americans finally looked eye-to-eye with the 70-billion-pound mountain of food waste and decided to dismantle it.

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Our Most Popular Food and Fuel Stories of 2015

How to make KCups less wasteful

In case you missed any, here’s a roundup of our most popular blog posts of 2015. As you can see by this list, our readers are more interested than ever in learning about the food waste problem and finding ways to fix it. On the fuel side, stories about innovation and idling reduction were popular, too.

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Charging Ahead in the Cloud

EV Connect is a cloud-based management system for electric vehicle charging stations

We’re charged up about Sustainable America’s latest investment. EV Connect, a 6-year-old company in El Segundo, Calif., is working to streamline the electric vehicle charging ecosystem for both drivers and property managers through a hardware-agnostic, cloud-based software system.

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CropMobster Starts a Salvaged Food Dinner Series

Sweetbreads from CropMobster's Supperclub at Backyard

Today, we’re bringing you a guest post by Nick “Nicky Bobby” Papadopoulos, CEO and Co-Founder of CropMobster. Nick started CropMobster on his family’s Northern California farm with the mission of igniting the power of community sharing and social media to crowdsource solutions to food waste, hunger and local food system challenges. Since 2013, CropMobster’s network has saved more than 2 million pounds of food from going to waste in the San Francisco Bay region! Recently, Nick — inspired by an article on IValueFood.com — organized an $80-a-plate dinner for 30 made from salvaged food. Here’s how he did it.

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Food Waste Scorecard: The Results Are In

I Value Food Food Waste Quiz results

In January, when we launched our food waste campaign IValueFood.com, we started quizzing visitors about their food waste habits. The quiz surveyed the lifestyle factors and shopping and eating behaviors that have been shown to lead to food waste. The good news is that awareness is growing about food waste and how to reduce it, but we still have work to do. Here are a few of the results.

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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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