Go Green News

New England Universities Lead on Food Waste

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Fellow

An article in To Market Magazine highlights a variety of pioneering food waste initiatives at New England colleges and universities. The article splits the campus food waste initiatives into four categories: Feeding the System, Feed the People, Source Reduction, and Cultural Shift.

The food waste programs mentioned in the article demonstrate that colleges and universities can take diverse approaches to reduce the amount of food waste they send to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. Some colleges, such as Roger Williams University, emphasize reducing food waste before it leaves the kitchen and through student education. Others, like Harvard University, make a concerted effort to divert as much food waste as possible through donating food to feed hungry people.

CET administers RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts, a program funded by the MassDEP to help businesses and institutions, including universities, establish or improve recycling and food waste programs. RecyclingWorks hosts two College & University (C&U) Forums annually for facility managers, dining service operators, and sustainability coordinators to network and share insights on campus waste reduction. The Spring 2017 C&U Forum will be held at Smith College in Northampton, MA on May 4, 2017. The forum this spring will focus on source reduction of food waste with several colleges sharing their experiences with these efforts. To register, please send an email to info@recyclingworksma.com.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Deconstruct Not Demolish

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow 

Why use demolition when you can give your building materials new life? At EcoBuilding Bargains, we work with contractors who will carefully take apart your house and save the valuable construction materials so they won’t go to waste. We then take those deconstructed materials and make sure it goes to someone who needs it!

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should deconstruct:

You Save Money: Deconstruction can save you more money than demolition in the long run. Items that you deconstruct from renovations and remodels, and then donate, are tax deductible! Disposal costs will be much lower, and many facilities offer free pick up services.

Keep Materials Out of Landfills: Last year
EcoBuilding Bargains diverted 430 tons out of landfills! Even if a deconstruction seems small, when each item is put together, the environmental impact is huge. You also get the benefit of not having to keep unwanted items around your home.

Variety of Accepted Items: At EcoBuilding Bargains, you can donate a variety of different used building materials, furniture items, or appliances! As long as it is in good condition, we take doors, windows, cabinets, toilets, flooring, sinks, lighting, lumber, and more! See what we accept to get a better idea of what we’re specifically looking for.

You Help Others: By deconstructing, we are able to salvage items that others can reuse in their homes! Because they are donated, these items can then be sold affordably at 1/2 to 1/3 of the original cost.

Donation Pick-up is Free: EcoBuilding Bargains offers free pick-ups 5 days a week! We can come to your home, job site, or business to pick up large volumes of deconstructed materials. Just call 413-788-6900 to schedule or use our online donation form.

 

Harvest New England Conference

By Megan Denardo, Program Specialist

The 2017 Harvest New England Agricultural Marketing Conference and Trade Show was held in Sturbridge, MA on March 7-9. Staff from the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) were invited to exhibit and speak at this conference, as part of a multi-state panel titled Farm Energy 101. The MFEP offers a range of services to farms to reduce energy consumption and produce renewable energy and is administered by the Center for EcoTechnology. They took this opportunity to continue their outreach to as many farms in Massachusetts as possible.

From left to right: Amanda Fargo-Johnson, CT Farm Energy Program; Megan Denardo, CET & MA Farm Energy Program; Alex DePillis, VT Division of Agricultural Development; Liz Budd, CET & MA Farm Energy Program; Anne Correia, USDA Rural Development.

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How You Can Keep Stale and Overripe Food Out of the Garbage

By Aliza Heeren, High Performance Building Fellow, and Lexie Vining, Outreach and Education Fellow

American families throw out approximately 20% of the food and beverages they buy, which equates to about $1,800 in wasted food annually. Imagine what you could do with all that extra cash! Here are some tips for how you can use various food items that are past their prime: 

Tea Bags

Tea bags are often thought of as a one time thing, but did you know you can make multiple cups of tea with one bag? Try saving your bag for a second cup later, or share a tea bag with a friend! After you’ve finished with it, here are some other useful ways tea bags can be used before they hit the compost bin:

  • Open up the used tea bag and feed your plants with the tea leaves.
  • Deter household pests by putting tea bags in places mice might be a problem.

Bread

As Americans, we buy about 3 billion loaves of bread per year and 25% of that ends up being wasted. That comes out to about 750 million loaves of bread wasted each year! Instead of throwing away stale bread, you can…

  • Use it in recipes such as bruschetta or stuffing.
  • Freeze the sliced loaf and defrost the bread as needed so that it doesn’t go stale.
  • Make breadcrumbs or croutons.
  • Use it to keep veggies fresh! By putting a slice of bread in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator, it will help absorb moisture and keep vegetables fresh.
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Gain Recognition for your Waste Reduction Efforts

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Fellow

For most organizations, there is always room to reduce the amount of waste produced, whether it is food, cardboard, or hazardous materials. Businesses and institutions are motivated to reduce waste for a wide variety of reasons including economic and environmental concerns. But, often, reducing waste through prevention, reuse, or recycling is a thankless endeavor.

Waste Reduction

WasteWise 2016 Fall Forum

Participants in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) and WasteWise programs gain the opportunity to receive recognition and a way to broadcast their achievements to customers and employees. While FRC specifically pertains to reducing wasted food, WasteWise rewards organizations for a broader range of solid waste materials. Both national programs are voluntary and free of cost for participants.

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