Sustainable America Blog

Author Archives: Cedric Rose

Reduce, Reuse. . .Bicycle

bike wheels

Photo Credit: Gideon Tsang via Compfight cc

National Bike Month is coming to an end, and it’s likely inspired some new people around the country to add biking to their lifestyles. One of the first things they may have discovered is that cycling comes with its own array of accessories. Giving extra thought to your biking accessory choices can make your ride even greener and provide longer-lasting solutions. In some cases you might be able to up-cycle everyday throwaway items, putting durable, everyday materials to work on your bike, instead of building everlasting landfills.

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A Bike Is Your New Car

Bicycle lane

Photo Credit: MeckiMac via Compfight cc

May is National Bike Month, and with it comes a lot of great ideas about how to start biking to work. But if you’re one of those people who feels left out of the bike commuting movement — whether you live too far from work or you have to drop off a carload of kids in the morning — there are plenty of other opportunities to use a bike to replace some gas-powered trips. Here are a few tips on how to use a bike when you otherwise rely on an auto.

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Sustainable Suds

Pints of beer

Photo Credit: slworking2 via Compfight cc

The average American drinks about 300 beers a year—that’s almost six billion pints nationwide. All that beer begins as a boil of grains that are discarded early in the process. Sending thousands of pounds of damp, spent grains to the landfill is not only expensive, it’s a waste of resources. But brewers are an ingenious group, and many—large and small—have found myriad ways to get more mileage from this useful byproduct.

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NFL Food Waste Fuels the Future

FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio

Photo Credit: Erik Daniel Drost via Compfight cc

At FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, a new partnership with the Cleveland Browns and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has implemented a new system which will divert an estimated 35 tons of stadium food waste from landfills into biodigesters for conversion into energy. The system, called Grind2Energy, is far more than an industrial-strength garbage disposal — it’s an integrated system that includes leasing, installation, and service coverage of a closed system that grinds up food waste into a slurry and transports it to an anaerobic digestion facility where it is converted to energy.

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What Is Agroforestry?

Cows grazing in a silvopasture

"Silvopasture," a type of agroforestry, is the integration of trees with animal grazes. Photo: USDA

If you’ve ever sipped a cup of shade-grown coffee, you’ve savored the fruits of agroforestry, the subject of a new USDA report about an age-old practice now used by growers in developing nations to boost production and profits while conserving resources and promoting biodiversity. Using shade trees, an agroforestry practice called “forest farming,” reduces stress on coffee crops, retains moisture, and shelters pest-eating, pollinating critters, all of which means a better product and healthier operation.

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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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