Category Archives: Sustainable Living

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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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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2014 in Review: A Message From Our Executive Director

The problem is clear: Two of the top three expenses for most Americans are food and fuel, even despite today’s lower gas prices. Our current food and fuel systems are tightly interconnected and unsustainable. Sustainable America’s mission is to tackle these issues by helping to reduce America’s oil consumption by 50 percent and increase food availability by 50 percent over the next two decades. Here are a few highlights of our organization’s accomplishments and milestones that made a difference in 2014.

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Chicago Brewery Says “Cheers” to Reducing Food Waste

Goose Island and Zero Percent team

The Goose Island team hold up zeros in support of Zero Percent. (Photo: Zero Percent)

Can beer help end food waste? Two Chicago-area businesses think so. Starting January 15, Goose Island Brew Pub will be pouring a batch of “Zero Percent,” a tribute beer named for technology startup Zero Percent, a company that helps businesses donate food that would otherwise be thrown away to nonprofits.

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Investing: 2014 Was an Impactful Year

Sustainable America's 2014 Investments

We’re excited about the four investments we made in 2014, and hope that over time, these companies contribute to improving life for all of us. In keeping with our overall mission, our investments were made in companies that seek to reduce oil used in transportation, repurpose food waste and strengthen local agriculture. Here’s a rundown of these four sustainable startups poised for growth.

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Make Your 2014 End-of-Year Donation

Our Future is a Sustainable America

Thanks to donations from supporters like you, Sustainable America has grown from a budding idea to an exciting nonprofit organization in two short years. We have gathered more than 10,000 pledges to stop vehicle idling, helped several events eliminate food waste, invested in a great group of sustainably-minded start-ups — and much more.

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Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

In case you missed some, here’s a roundup of our most popular blog posts of the year. Based on this list, it seems that our readers are all working on ways to waste less, garden more and learn about the latest fuel-saving technologies. Keep it up! We’ve got lots of great content planned for 2015.

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2014 Sustainable America Gift Guide

Gift tags

Photo: Sarah Parrotvia Flickr

Looking for the perfect gifts for the sustainability-minded folks on your list? We’ve put together some ideas for just about everyone, from kids to gardeners to cooks. (If you happen to shop through amazon.com this year, keep in mind that .05% of your purchases can be donated to Sustainable America if you sign up with AmazonSmile.)

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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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