Sustainable Blog

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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Investing: 2014 Was an Impactful Year

Four sustainable startups poised for growth

Sustainable America's 2014 Investments

We’re excited about the four investments we made in 2014, and hope that over time, these companies contribute to improving life for all of us. In keeping with our overall mission, our investments were made in companies that seek to reduce oil used in transportation, repurpose food waste and strengthen local agriculture. Here’s a rundown of these four sustainable startups poised for growth.

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Introducing ‘I Value Food,’ a Campaign to End Food Waste

It's time to waste less, enjoy more

I Value Food Campaign to End Food Waste

We love food in this country, so it’s mind-boggling to learn that 40 percent of the food we produce never gets eaten. Especially when 49 million households deal with food insecurity every year. In an effort to tackle this pressing issue, we’ve just launched IValueFood.com, a movement that takes a fresh look at how food gets wasted and offers tools everyone can use to make a real impact on food waste, both personally and nationally.

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Make Your 2014 End-of-Year Donation

Help us build a sustainable America

Our Future is a Sustainable America

Thanks to donations from supporters like you, Sustainable America has grown from a budding idea to an exciting nonprofit organization in two short years. We have gathered more than 10,000 pledges to stop vehicle idling, helped several events eliminate food waste, invested in a great group of sustainably-minded start-ups — and much more.

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

What you love: Wasting less, gardening more and infographics!

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

In case you missed some, here’s a roundup of our most popular blog posts of the year. Based on this list, it seems that our readers are all working on ways to waste less, garden more and learn about the latest fuel-saving technologies. Keep it up! We’ve got lots of great content planned for 2015.

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On the Road with CNG

What we learned driving a bi-fuel van from North Carolina to Connecticut

CNG fill-up

Earlier this year, Piedmont Natural Gas generously donated a bi-fuel van, meaning it runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and gasoline, to the Sustainable America fleet. We were thrilled to have the 2002 Chevy 2500 Express Passenger Van to use in our alternative fuel programming and educational outreach, but first we had to drive it from Charlotte, N.C., back to our headquarters in Stamford, Conn. Here’s how it went…

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2014 Sustainable America Gift Guide

10 eco-friendly gifts for everyone on your list

Gift tags

Looking for the perfect gifts for the sustainability-minded folks on your list? We’ve put together some ideas for just about everyone, from kids to gardeners to cooks. (If you happen to shop through amazon.com this year, keep in mind that .05% of your purchases can be donated to Sustainable America if you sign up with AmazonSmile.)

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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.