Greening Your Holiday Travel

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing (High Performance Building) Fellow

The holiday season is an exciting time to travel, but sometimes, we get wrapped up in the holiday cheer and forget that we can still make environmentally conscious choices. Don’t let the holidays get the better of you this year! Here are eight tips to help you green your holiday travel:

  1. Don’t travel alone

Whether you are traveling by plane or by car, the more passengers the better! If you are flying, chose airlines with higher occupancy rates to make your travel more efficient. If you are driving, try to carpool whenever possible. Either carpool with your family, or communicate with friends to see if anyone is traveling in the same direction as you. Carpooling will save you money and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions!

  1. Stay close to home

If you can, avoiding excess travel will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and save you money!

  1. Take public transportation

It’s always important to take public transportation whenever possible because it is much more efficient than driving, and this still applies around the holidays! It will save you the stress of driving and parking, and can make your holiday adventures a little bit greener!

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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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Green Your Gift Wrapping

By Aliza Heeren, Marketing (High Performance Building) Fellow

It’s the season of giving! With this season, comes many opportunities to make more sustainable choices- one of which is in how we wrap gifts for friends and family. Instead of relying on the classic wrapping paper which is generally used once then recycled, check out these reusable alternatives that you can use year after year and make your holiday just a little more thoughtful and sustainable!

  1.  Wrap gifts in cloth

Cloth gift wrapping can be a beautiful and sustainable choice, especially for gifts withi
n your family, so you can save the cloth and reuse it year after year. Just pick up a few different sizes and patterns of cloth at your local craft store and you’re covered!



  1. Use a basket

Baskets are a great choice because they can be used over and over again and can serve many different purposes beyond gift giving.

  1. Wrap with recycled materials

If you like the aesthetic of the classic paper gift wrapping, just wrap with recycled materials! You can use newspaper, magazines, old maps, paper bags, or any unused paper products you can find. Add some sturdy reusable ribbon to twine to spice things up!

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Federal Funds for Diversion of Food Waste in Connecticut

cet-logo    cee-logo

November 18, 2016

For Further Information:

Lorenzo Macaluso, CET, 413-218-1543

Dennis Schain, DEEP, 860-424-3110


Federal Funds for Diversion of Food Waste

Will Help Reduce Volume of Trash

Increase food donations is one of focuses – especially at holiday time

For many people in Connecticut, Thanksgiving is a time of family gatherings and enjoyable eating. It’s also a time when donations flood in from food rescue organizations to food pantries and soup kitchens, to ensure that the state’s hungriest people get warm, nutritious meals.

While Thanksgiving may put the spotlight on food insecurity, nearly half a million people in Connecticut, (according to the Connecticut Food Bank) including more than 140,000 children, do not have consistent access to adequate amounts of food year-around.

Meanwhile, nearly 520,000 tons of food waste is generated in Connecticut each year, some of which could be donated to feed people. Diversion from disposal of food waste in the State, be it by reduction of such waste in the first place, by donation to feed people or animals, or by composting and anaerobic digestion, is a priority noted in the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s (DEEP’s) recently adopted Comprehensive Materials Management Strategy (CMMS).

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New Harvard Toolkit Shines Light on Food Waste Policy

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Fellow 

The Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic (FLPC) recently released a toolkit called Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and Localities to help stakeholders eliminate the mountainous problem of wasted food. CET’s Director of Green Business Services, Lorenzo Macaluso, contributed to the publication.

According to the toolkit, 63 million tons of food produced in the U.S. is wasted each year (1). To put that massive number into perspective, it takes “approximately 21% of the United States’ fresh water supply and 300 million barrels of oil…to produce food that goes to waste” (1). In addition, the amount of food that is wasted each year is significantly more than the amount that would be needed to eradicate hunger in the United States. In 2015, 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 13.1 million children.


Having a set of proven solutions and recommendations to aid policymakers and other stakeholders in reducing wasted food is an invaluable resource. The toolkit has an array of sections on topics such as date labeling, organic waste bans, K-12 schools, and tax incentives for food donation. For example, the toolkit explains that the federal government does not regulate date labels on perishable foods, so some states have taken it upon themselves to enact date labeling laws. Other states, such as New York, have no regulations whatsoever governing how manufacturers label their products. Because there is no standardized terminology for labeling, many people assume that labels meant to indicate food quality (e.g. “best before”, “use by”) are indicators of food safety. All of these inconsistencies lead to consumers taking excessive precautions and throwing away safe, wholesome food.

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