Vermicomposting for Everyone!

By Katie Costantini 

Did you know that you don’t need a yard, or even a space outside, to compost your food waste? You can compost inside your home using worms! Vermicomposting uses worms and naturally present microorganisms to transform your kitchen and yard waste into nutrient rich humus, or compost, that you can use to help plants grow.

Vermicomposting not only creates a quality product that you can use on your garden, house plants, or lawn, but it can also save you money by reducing trash hauling costs. It also has a positive impact on the environment! Keeping food and yard waste out of the trash reduces both carbon emissions associated with garbage transportation and methane emissions produced when organic waste decomposes anaerobically in a landfill.

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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

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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.


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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5 Ways to Green your Super Bowl Party

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow 

1. Watch the game together- Gather a large group of friends to watch the game on one TV, in order to reduce the amount of electricity used while cheering on your favorite team.

2. Carpool to the party- Encourage your guests to carpool to your house to reduce carbon emissions and the amount of cars that have to fit in your driveway!

3. Make your own food- Buy ingredients in bulk and make your own food at home. Pre-made food is often sold in a lot of plastic packaging, especially when served as individual portions.

4. Buy beverages in bulk- Buying large bottles is often less expensive than buying individual cans and saves you the hassle of dealing with recycling all of those empty cans!

5. Don’t throw away leftovers- Distribute them among your guests to take home, donate them to those in need, or compost them.


Food Waste Initiative Creates Jobs in Massachusetts

To help businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities, the Center for EcoTechnology administers a program called  RecyclingWorksMA for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The agency has just released a report highlighting the economic benefits in Massachusetts of food waste reduction initiatives. The following post, with a link to the report, was originally posted on the RecyclingWorksMA blog.

And continuing the theme of economic successes in the state that are linked to environmental and economic sustainability initiatives, the Mass. Clean Energy Energy just released it’s annual Clean Energy Industry Report, which describes significant growth in this sector over 2015!

Yesterday, December 22, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) released a new report highlighting the positive economic benefits of reducing food waste. This report studied the effects of the Massachusetts Commercial Food Waste Ban, which prohibits businesses and institutions that generate one ton or more of food waste per week from disposing of that waste in the trash. About 1,700 facilities such as universities, supermarkets, food processors, hotels, conference centers, and restaurants are subject to the ban. This ban, which went into effect in October of 2014, was the nation’s first requiring commercial entities to divert wasted food from disposal via donation, animal feed, anaerobic digestion, or composting.

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