Sustainable Blog

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, 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 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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12 Ways to Make Your Next Party More Sustainable

Make memories, not waste

Pumpkins and hay bales make great natural party decorations

When my daughter celebrated her bat mitzvah this fall, we were incredibly proud of her accomplishments and poise, but also pleased with her choices to make the reception a sustainable one. Weddings, funerals and rites of passage like bar mitzvahs and confirmations can generate a tremendous amount of waste, but with a little forethought, these celebrations can be meaningful, fun and sustainable.

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7 Technologies That Can Slash Idling

Annoyed by vehicles idling in your area? These solutions can help clear the air.

tailpipe exhaust fumes

We’ve been known to get more than a little irked when we notice people idling their vehicles unnecessarily, like at drive-thrus or school pick-ups. It wastes gas, it pollutes the air, it stinks and it’s just, well, unnecessary. But some drivers get a free idling pass, right? Don’t refrigerated trucks, utility vehicles, safety and emergency vehicles and long-haul trucks often need to keep their engines running to power auxiliary functions? Yes, and no. Here, we explain.

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Join Us for #GivingTuesday

Give to Sustainable America on Dec. 2 and get a 1% match!

#GivingTuesday 2014

December 2 is the third-annual #GivingTuesday, and we love the idea—it’s a great reminder to support the important causes you believe in. This year, when you give to Sustainable America, PayPal will match 1% of your donation!

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An Investment in Organic Farmland

Farmland LP is working to make organic farming a sustainable, profitable business for farmers and investors

Chickens grazing on pasture at a Farmland LP farm

A road trip to Oregon farmland crystalized a new business idea for partners Craig Wichner and Jason Bradford. “It was very clear farmland was a great asset and that it was basically being underutilized,” says Wichner, “that growing monocrops was operationally efficient, but it was the worst way to get returns from farmland itself.” With investment and the use of sustainable agriculture templates, they developed Farmland LP, a system of livestock, vegetable and grain rotations that could both reclaim land for organic farming and turn a profit.

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Students Seeking Fuel Cell

A high school engineering group mirrors an automotive industry ready for alternatives

Darien High School Fuel Cell Team's car

We’re inspired by a group of high school students in Connecticut who are building their own hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle — a project that has been in the works for a decade. There’s just one catch: They need to raise money for a new fuel cell in time to compete at the Shell Eco-Marathon in April. Learn more about these enterprising kids and how to support their project.

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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.