Sustainable America Blog

Success Means Wasting Less

Our Future is a Sustainable America

As we head into an exciting fundraising campaign this Friday — Fairfield County Giving Day — we wanted to share more about the specific projects your generous donations help fund.

Food Waste Solutions
We regularly work with restaurants, colleges, businesses, and events to improve the management of food waste. SXSW Eco was the highlight of this programming area in 2013. We partnered with the event organizers, Texas Disposal Systems, and Net Impact Texas State to make the four-day conference a zero-waste event. No small feat for an event attended by 5,000 people and held in eight separate locations across the city of Austin. We were able to divert 97% of the waste from SXSW ECO to recycling or composting. That’s a pretty big number. Most other zero-waste events at a single location for a single day rarely manage to break the 80% level. Donations to Sustainable America will help us bring reduce and divert food waste at more events in 2014.

Reducing Fuel Consumption
We engage with colleges, businesses, and restaurants to help them find ways to reduce idling across their vehicle fleets. We also spread this message through, an internet campaign with a simple message: Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting it. We ask visitors to take a pledge to stop unnecessary idling; so far, more than 7,700 people have taken it, saving over 200,000 gallons of gas and keeping over 3,000 tons of greenhouse gasses out of the air.

We’ve made encouraging progress with these and other efforts, but there is still more work to be done. Global oil and food systems are both operating near full capacity, and demand is on the rise. America wastes 40% of the food it produces, while millions still don’t know where they will get their next meal. We consume 18 million barrels of oil each and every day, but produce only 1 million using renewable sources. We’ll keep working to make our food and fuel systems more sustainable by using less, making more, and wasting nothing. Your donation through on March 7, or anytime through will help us reach our goals.

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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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