Sustainable America Blog

Author Archives: Katy Franklin

Logan High School Clean Air Poster Contest

Logan High School 2015 Clean Air Poster Contest winner

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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How to Compost at Work

Sustainable America's office compost bin

A peek inside the Sustainable America compost bin

Although the concept of a lunch hour has changed in recent decades, millions of Americans still eat in the workplace nearly every day. That means that millions of sandwich crusts, banana peels and coffee grounds (lots of coffee grounds) get tossed out in the office garbage. Although many employers and corporate office buildings in America have implemented successful workplace recycling programs, few can say the same about composting programs. Here’s a look at how we started an office composting system, and you can too!

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Student Group Takes Action on Idling

Students on the Bright Lights: Go Green campaign

Students on the Bright Lights: Go Green campaign passed out information about idling to classmates to raise awareness about the issue.

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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On the Road with CNG

CNG fill-up

Photo: Scott Lowe via Flickr

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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Adventures in Indoor Growing

lettuce, basil and chives

A portion of our first harvest: lettuce, two varieties of basil and chives!

Over the last few months, we’ve been experimenting with a menagerie of indoor food-growing systems at our office: a vertical garden, a hydroponic system and an aquaponic system. While the versions we’ve installed won’t revolutionize the local food landscape in our neighborhood, if scaled up, these alternative growing methods have the potential to help urban areas meet the growing demand for food. We wanted to get hands-on with a few of these methods to learn more and to provide a showcase of what’s possible. Here’s how we did…

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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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