Good Practices

Good Practices posts offer examples of individuals, organizations, and businesses making a difference, and tips on how you can take action now to help create a more Sustainable America!

7 Ways to Take Action on Idling

Reduce your idling impact and inspire others to do the same

Anti-idling bumper sticker

Most people don’t realize how much gas they’re wasting by idling their cars. But once they learn the facts about idling, they’re usually more than willing to change their behavior. With that in mind, we’ve put together seven steps you can take to raise awareness about this important issue. Helps us make turning off your engine rather than idling as commonplace as wearing your seatbelt!

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The Compostable Cup Conundrum

Cups made from corn are a great idea, right? Yes and no...

Compostable PLA cups made from corn

In theory, compostable cups made from corn seem like a great idea, but in practice they’re not aways the environmental boon we’d like them to be. Find out why in the latest blog post from Executive Director Jeremy Kranowitz.

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10 Ways to Use Extra Garden Vegetables

Got a bumper crop of veggies on your hands? Here's how to make sure none of it goes to waste.

Big tomato garden harvest

If your garden did well this year, there’s only so much tomato sauce you can make and so many zucchini breads you can freeze before you realize there’s just no way you’re going to be able to eat your garden’s bounty by yourself. Thankfully, there are many of ways to make good use of the surplus. After all, the average American wastes over 20 pounds of food each month – don’t let your overflowing garden add even more to this number!

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Meet the Man Who’s Asked Thousands of New Yorkers to Stop Idling

George Pakenham's vigilante approach to environmental justice

George Pakenham, producer of Idle Threat: Man on Emission

“Excuse me for bothering you… but are you aware that it’s against the law to idle your car engine in NYC for more than 3 minutes?”

Those are the words George Pakenham, a New Yorker who works in finance, has used to start thousands of discussions though car windows on the streets of Manhattan. What started as an impulsive act on his Upper East Side block in 2005 evolved into a full-blown citizen activism campaign that went all the way to City Hall and is still going strong. We caught up with George to find out more about his vigilante approach to environmental justice and “Idle Threat: Man on Emission,” the award-winning documentary he made about it.

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This Weekend: Visit Us at Boston GreenFest!

Free film screenings, entertainment, hands-on learning and more

Boston Greenfest 2014

If you’re in the Boston area this weekend and you’re interested in the environment, then you won’t want to miss Boston GreenFest 2014. This free, three-day festival, which brings together greater Boston’s green community to share ideas and learn about how to build a healthy and sustainable future, is happening Aug. 15-17 at Boston City Hall Plaza. Sustainable America will be there hosting screenings of “Idle Threat: Man on Emission,” educating about clean transportation and zero-waste events, and showing off innovative alt-fuel vehicles. Here’s where you’ll find us:

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Support Sustainable America Through AmazonSmile

You shop, Amazon gives to Sustainable America

Amazon Smiles Sustainable America

Through its new AmazonSmile program, Amazon will donate .05% of eligible purchases to a charity of your choice, including Sustainable America, every time you shop. We’re inviting all our supporters to participate!

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4 New Restaurants Rethink Food Waste

Eating out without the waste

takeout containers for restaurant leftovers

Restaurants are a significant source of food waste, but we found four innovative eateries are proving that they can work without waste. Plus, find out how you can minimize food waste every time you dine out.

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10 Things to Do With Banana Peels

Think a banana peel is only good for the trash? Guess again.

10 Things to Do with Banana Peels

Perfect sliced on a bowl of cereal, blended in a smoothie, or just enjoyed by itself as an afternoon snack, the banana is the most popular fruit in the United States. The fruit even comes with its own convenient packaging, a peel that doubles as a mess-free way to hold it. And when you’re done, you just discard the peel like any old wrapper. But should you? Check out our infographic to find out.

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Who, Me Waste Food?

Survey: 1 in 3 Americans don't think the amount of food they waste is a problem

cat in refrigerator

A new survey found that while 63% of Americans are concerned about the amount of food wasted in the United States, only 1 in 3 is concerned with the amount of food wasted in their own household. In other words, “I don’t waste food, but everyone else does.” Discouraging, yes — but there may be a silver lining.

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Compost Q&A: Troubleshooting the Worm Bin

Congrats, you've decided to try vermicomposting! Don't give up!

Scoop of vermicomposted materials and worms

Since we started this blog in 2012, our most popular post of all time has been “How to Compost in Your Apartment,” an infographic that breaks down how to start a vermicomposting bin. Since then, we’ve heard from a few beginners who’ve had some questions about their worm bins. So we gathered them in one place and went to an expert for help. Here’s how she troubleshoots a few common vermicomposting challenges, like smells, fruit flies, escaping worms and more.

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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.