Want to save money? Try looking in your refrigerator! According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy every year, which could cost a household as much as $2,275 annually! Wasting food means a waste of energy, water, and money. However, there are many ways that residents, customers, and businesses can help support the USDA and EPA goal to reduce wasted food by 50% by the year 2030:
Make Something New with Leftovers
One way to reduce wasted food is to check your pantry and refrigerator. Are there leftovers that could be repurposed? Check out the Save the Food campaign, which hosts resources to help communities and individuals address the importance of wasted food. For instance, Save the Food advises consumers on meal planning, understanding labels such as ‘best by,’ modifying storage practices, and reviving food. Also, read CET’s blog on best practices for storing and repurposing items past their prime. Reducing food ending up in your trash is a key way to saving money on grocery bills!
Get Involved with Food Rescue
Encourage local businesses to join Food Rescue programs, or volunteer as a food runner! For instance, MEANS database and Food Rescue US offer opportunities for local businesses, volunteers, and community kitchens or food pantries. Food rescue saves food that would have gone to waste, and feeds hungry people. By volunteering as a food runner you can give back to your community, and you can opt to volunteer whenever you are available.
By Morgan O’Connor, Sustainability Fellow
The EPA cites the transportation industry as the second largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the U.S. at 27% of all emissions, second only to electricity production at 29%. Although this statistic includes commercial airplanes, ships, trains, and freight trucks, the largest contributors are the cars that we use every day.
There are varying levels of action that we can take in order to make our commute as sustainable as possible.Read More»
By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellow
Recently, some of our staff toured a local Living Building on Hampshire College’s campus. The Living Building Challenge is seen as one of the most rigorous design standards in green building. Before certification, a project must prove itself to align with the seven “petals” that make up a Living Building – Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. A project that meets all of these standards is seen to be not just in line with its environment, but improving it.Read More»
This past week, four of the EcoFellows participated in the Bard College C2C Fellows Network program. This is a national program for undergraduates and recent graduates aspiring for leadership positions in sustainable policy, politics and business. This two-and-a-half-day conference provided a great opportunity for us to learn about potential sustainability career paths we can take as well as network with other young environmental professionals.Read More»
We use plastics in virtually every shape and form in our daily lives. It carries our drinks, holds our shampoos, and keeps our veggies fresh. According to the to the UN Environment Programme, humans are consuming resources and producing waste at a greater scale than ever before, and per capita consumption levels are projected to increase with continued development. Data indicates that during the 20th century, global material resource use rose at about twice the rate of population. Plastic is everywhere! We love it because it is waterproof, relatively cheap, durable, and versatile. Plastic makes our lives incredibly convenient, disposable, and easy, but most people rarely think about the effects it has on the environment. Unlike other materials, it never really goes away. Plastic does break down, but in a landfill it takes up to 400 hundreds years; worse, it doesn’t ever become other materials, it just breaks into microscopic pieces of plastic that are still non-biodegradable. From there, plastic fragments most often find their way into the oceans. But it’s not just the end of a plastic’s life cycle we need to worry about. When plastic is produced, it’s made from toxic materials such as benzene and vinyl hydrochloride. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, and the manufacturing byproducts contaminate our air and soil.
So what can you do?Read More»