Sustainable America Blog

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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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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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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