Celebrate America Recycles Day with CET

America Recycles DayToday is America Recycles Day! According to the EPA the United States recycles at a rate of around 34.3%, and with your help we can raise that even more! Recycling and composting are growing industries accounting for 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages, as well as an additional $6.7 billion in tax revenue. That is roughly 1.57 jobs for every 1,000 tons of material recycled! By increasing the amount we recycle we can conserve natural resources, while strengthening our economy!

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Saturday Outreach in the Berkshires

Over 40 years ago CET was founded in Pittsfield, MA by a group of visionary individuals. Their mission was to help the Berkshires community take practical steps to address the energy crises of the 70’s. By focusing on energy conservation and renewable energy, CET minimized the detrimental impact those events had on the Berkshires community. After four decades, CET’s engagement with the Berkshires community has not only become more widespread to meet the needs of thousands, but it has also expanded to encompass food waste, materials management, and electric vehicles. The first Saturday of October was a prime example of the strong and everlasting relationship between CET and the Berkshires community.

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Wasted Food Reduction Across the Hierarchy at UMass Amherst

By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Assistant

EPA Food Recovery HierarchyIt’s no secret that wasted food is a big issue in America. According to the USDA, 30- 40% of food produced in this country goes uneaten every year. In 2010, this amounted to 133 billion pounds of food, worth $161 billion. This wasted food doesn’t go to the American households classified as food insecure (12.3% of American households in 2016), but instead often ends up in landfills, where it creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Colleges and universities serve thousands of meals daily, and thus have the potential to produce a significant amount of wasted food. UMass Dining Services is the largest college dining services operation in the nation, serving 45,000 meals daily or 5.5 million meals per year. UMass takes a concerted approach to reducing wasted food along the guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Hierarchy.

So how is UMass addressing the Food Recovery Hierarchy? Here are a few examples!

Source Reduction: Reduce the volume of surplus food generated.

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When Beauty Standards Apply to Food

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow

Roughly 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year in the U.S, and 6 billion of that is produce lost before harvesting or selling. This subset of food waste is attributed primarily to aesthetics, meaning the produce was too small, too large, off-colored, scarred, misshapen, etc.

6 billion pounds may not seem like very much in comparison to all of the food that is lost, but when you consider the resources – water, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, and space – that are expended on food that is never eaten, it leaves quite the negative impact.

Aesthetic standards prioritize uniformity, targeting the consumers’ narrow view of what their produce should look like, but these images in our heads have little to do with flavor or nutritional value. We have to rethink what our food should look like and embrace their natural peculiarities.

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How to Host a Green BBQ this Labor Day

By: Avery Cross, Green Business EcoFellow

Labor Day is this coming Monday, September 4th! Many of us honor the American labor movement and the end of the summer by getting together for a delicious BBQ, why not make it green?! A lot of people and a lot of food does not necessarily mean a lot of waste. There are many opportunities to make your get-together a green event. You can do so by minimizing your environmental impact through waste reduction and efficient energy use. Not only could you help our environment, but also save money and enjoy yummy food! So as you fire up the grill, here are some green tips on how to host a Labor Day BBQ that will reduce food waste, lower emissions, feed your friends, and save money!

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