Category Archives: Sustainable Living

Keeping It Cool

Old refrigerator

Do you have one of these humming away in your basement? Photo: DigitPedia Gadgets via Flickr

Recently, I went to my mother-in-law’s house for a family celebration. As usual, I was called upon to bring a second dining table up from the basement to fit 14 of us. In the basement, as always, the surplus food and drink for the big meal was stored in a second refrigerator that she keeps down there.

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Mini Doc: Jack Johnson’s Sustainable America

Jack Johnson digs through worms as part of a compost lesson at Lanikai Elementary School in Hawaii.

Jack Johnson digs through worms as part of a compost lesson at Lanikai Elementary School in Hawaii.

When musician and environmental activist Jack Johnson invited us to join him for an elementary school compost lesson (and schoolyard concert) in Hawaii, we grabbed a film crew. Watch our new mini documentary to learn more about one of the music industry’s greenest musicians and how the island of Oahu deals with its food waste.

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Our Most Popular Food and Fuel Stories of 2015

How to make KCups less wasteful

Photo via Li Tsin Soonon Flickr

In case you missed any, here’s a roundup of our most popular blog posts of 2015. As you can see by this list, our readers are more interested than ever in learning about the food waste problem and finding ways to fix it. On the fuel side, stories about innovation and idling reduction were popular, too.

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2015 Sustainable America Gift Guide

Sustainable holiday gift ideas

Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/thingsarebetterwithaparrott/1438761442>Sarah Parrott via Flickr

The holidays are a great time to show your love for family and friends — and the planet — by giving eco-friendly gifts. We’ve put together a fun list of gift ideas that can help lucky recipients grow and enjoy food, waste less of it, and keep safe on bike rides.

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Making Impact Investing More Accessible for Everyone

Seedling

Photo: Emma Cooper via Flickr

Whether it’s called impact investing, socially responsible investing or sustainable investing, interest in making investments that support positive change is growing. Sustainable mutual funds represented $6.5 trillion at the beginning of 2014, an increase of 76 percent since 2012. Brian Kaminer wants to see this still-young investing space grow even more, so he’s designed a way to help investors of all types get involved.

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Food Waste Tips from Real People

Our staff thinks a lot about food waste at work, whether we’re researching data for the I Value Food campaign, helping events go zero waste or composting our coffee grounds in the break room. But even though we’re well versed on strategies to reduce food waste, we all still have to work hard each day to waste as little food as possible in our own lives. In order to find out what practices really work, we asked our staff to share the tips that have made the biggest difference in their own kitchens. Here’s what they said…

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New Ways to Reduce Idling in Your Community

Idling reduction campaign materials

Are you ready to take action against vehicle idling? Whether you want to educate drivers in your neighborhood or launch your own idling reduction campaign, we just launched a range of resources and toolkits anyone can download and order on demand. It’s your turn to turn it off and pass it on.

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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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Can You Host a Dinner Made From Salvaged Food?

Salvage Supperclub diners dine in a dumpster

Salvage Supperclub, a pop-up dinner served in a (clean) dumpster. Photo: Tanya Bhandari

From dinners held in dumpsters to a high-end pop-up restaurants, food waste is being elevated to haute cuisine as a way to spread awareness about the issue. Learn more about the trend, and how to host your own wasted food dinner party.

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A Milestone for Zero-Waste Events

Volunteers from Sacred Heart University helped patrons at Chilifest sort their food waste.

Volunteers from Sacred Heart University helped patrons at Chilifest sort their compostables. The event sent 2,840 pounds of organic waste to be composted.

On Superbowl Sunday, we partnered with a local culinary competition event to help them compost their food waste. We just learned that the event diverted more than four times as much waste to compost than last year’s event — that’s 2,840 pounds of food scraps and compostable items that are being recycled into a nutrient-rich soil supplement instead of being incinerated!

The numbers are one thing to celebrate, but Chilifest has also helped us reach an important milestone as an organization. We’re now equipped with the tools and expertise to help even more events around the country compost their food waste.

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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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