Sustainable America Blog

Author Archives: Laura Waldman

Rising Stars: High Schoolers Win National Contest on Sustainability

Will Hart and Shikha Jaaswal

Will Hart and Shikha Jaaswal, winners of the 2014 National Future Business Leaders of America Competition

A few months ago, a couple of local high school students came to us for help with a project. They were looking for information about sustainability and green practices for a video they were producing. We were happy to help, but little did we know how far that video would take them.

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Cooking for One With Zero Waste

leftovers in plastic containers

Photo: armigeress via Compfight cc

For us singletons living alone out there, and hey, there are a lot of us — 27% of U.S. households to be exact — cooking for one can result in a lot of wasted food. Food packaging sized for bigger households, recipes designed to feed families, and confusing expiration dates all make it difficult to create properly portioned meals for one without wasting food and money. But with a few smart strategies, it’s possible to stop throwing cash down the garbage disposal without resorting to eating frozen Lean Cuisines every night.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Grow Where You Are

After our recent interview with Dan Susman about Growing Cities, his new documentary about urban farming, we were inspired to translate the movie’s core message—”Grow where you are!”—into a digestible guide. Whether it’s planting a windowsill garden, joining a community garden or even building a backyard chicken coop, there are numerous ways to move from relying on factory farms to growing food for yourself and your community, even in a big city.

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‘Growing Cities’ Digs Into Urban Farming

Recently we had the pleasure of speaking with Dan Susman, director and producer of the new documentary Growing Cities. The film follows Dan and his co-producer Andrew Monbouquette across the United States as they examine the growing urban farming movement. The Nebraska natives visited a total of 80 farms in vacant lots, rooftops, and backyards and interviewed the passionate people from all walks of life who tend them. Along the way, they learned a lot about community, food justice, and eating urban squirrels (spoiler: try at your own risk).

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Live Green CT: A Zero-Waste Affair

This past weekend we had the pleasure of sponsoring Live Green Connecticut!’s 4th annual festival bringing together environmental educators, nonprofits, and businesses alike to showcase the latest in green technology, recycling, conservation, health and wellness, climate protection, and sustainable living. Last week we wrote about our goal to “Make a Green Fest Greener” and we did just that.

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Food Waste For Fresh Produce

Hello Compost bags

Hello Compost launches a program to help low-income New York City residents trade in their food waste for locally grown fresh produce.

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Save Fuel With Your Smartphone

Fuel economy is obviously very important to American drivers, and yet many drivers have no idea that poor driving habits can reduce fuel economy by as much as one-third. Drivers typically evaluate vehicles by their fuel economy, but simple actions like strong accelerations, abrupt braking, and idling can stand in the way of taking full advantage of a vehicle’s efficiency potential. And guess what, there are apps for that. Here’s a look at several that help save fuel.

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Rental Cars Are Going Greener

In addition to being eco-friendly and saving money on fuel on vacations and business trips, renting an alternative-fuel vehicle is a great way to test one out before making a purchase. Most rental car companies are now catering to eco- and cost-conscious drivers by offering a variety of hybrid and electric cars for both long-term rentals and shorter, by-the-hour use. For some consumers, a rental my be their first experience with this new technology.

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Music, Summertime and Food Waste

Sustainable America food waste alive at 5

Photos: Tebben Lopez

Public events like conferences, concerts and festivals present a great opportunity to make a dent in the 40% of food wasted in the United States. With that in mind, we’ve partnered with the Alive @ Five concert series in Stamford, Conn., this summer to help divert the event’s food waste to be composted rather than where it usually goes: the landfill.

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Engine Start-Stop Systems

As we continue our initiative to end unnecessary idling, we wanted to take a closer look at an existing technology that could go a long way to reduce the needless burning of gas at stoplights and drive thrus: engine stop-start systems.

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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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