Mason jars, stainless steel straws, and reusable shopping bags. Most of us have heard of these items as tools to help us reduce waste in our daily lives. In fact, the Center for EcoTechnology has written a few blogs about this concept of zero waste before, highlighting ways to incorporate waste free actions into our routines and special events. These ideas are practical and helpful but in this blog, we want to take a step back and look at why they might not be possible or accessible to all demographics.
What is zero waste?
Most cohesively, zero waste is a movement to reduce the amount that individuals and communities consume and consequently throw away. A zero waste lifestyle promotes a circular economy, one that is sustainable and functional for long-term use. It encourages more complex thinking about the resources we use and utilizes concepts like reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting as potential solutions.
We were recently featured in an article in BioCycle magazine about our efforts to tackle the issue of food waste.
“The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), with support from the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), conducted an analysis of existing and proposed organic waste bans, studying the policies themselves as well as the experiences of states and localities in implementing and enforcing these policies.”
Read the full article
published by BioCycle Magazine.
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.
Summer is here, and party season is in full swing. With Independence Day just around the corner, there are preparations to be made! We have some tips to help you save some money, reduce your waste, and make your 4th of July green, as well as red, white, and blue!
- Bring reusable bags while shopping for supplies and food.
- Ask guests to RSVP so that you can get the right amount of food and drinks. This will reduce wasted food and also prevent you from spending unnecessary money.
- Choose natural or reusable decorations and reduce buying plastic items that will be thrown away.
The GREEN TEAM is a joint program of the Center for EcoTechnology and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that empowers students and teachers to help the environment through waste reduction, recycling, composting, energy conservation, and pollution prevention.
The GREEN TEAM recently released an instructional video on source separation in school cafeterias. Source separation is a system by which organic material and recyclables are collected separately from the trash. This system makes recycling and diverting organic waste easier, which makes it more likely to be done. Recyclable material is then recycled and made into new products, and organic matter is composted, used to feed animals, or turned into energy through anaerobic digestion.Read More»