New Uses for your Christmas Spruces

Each year there are around 25-30 million fresh cut trees being purchased for the holidays, creating a lot of waste to be disposed of. Fortunately, there’s no need to get the winter blues since there are various ways to spruce up your life and make use of the trees after you take down your decorations!

Mulch Party

Pine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly making them excellent moisture and mold-free mulch. Strip away the needles on the branches and sprinkle them in your yard! You could also rent a wood chipper to get even better results! It might be a bit pricey to rent a wood chipper, if you don’t already have one, so you could get a couple of your neighbors together and split the cost, that way everyone could use it!

Bough Blankets

Cut off main branches and lay them over your yard. During the winter your plants can be severely damaged by frost heaving- an expansion of the underlying soil, which alters the nutrient composition. Laying the branches over your yard will give your spring plants a warm blanket!

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How to Stay Green This Season!

With the holiday season comes a lot of guests, food, and gifts. Remember that celebrating does not mean needing to waste copious amounts of food and producing excess energy! Use some of our tips to ensure that your holiday celebrations positively impact the environment.

1. Use a real Christmas tree instead of a fake one.

Using a real Christmas tree has shown to be more sustainable for the environment. Artificial trees are typically made with polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which is listed as a carcinogen. Additionally, it is the manufacture of a fake plastic tree, from oil, that creates most of its carbon footprint. Fake trees are also often shipped very long distances before arriving in the shop and then your home. Real Christmas trees are grown very sustainably and efficiently on Christmas tree farms, and recycling and composting your real tree after use is very easy to do. You can also leave your real tree in woods or ponds to create a wildlife habitat!

2. Use recyclable wrapping paper or alternative sustainable gift wrap options.

Before recycling wrapping paper, be sure to remove any decorations such as ribbons or bows as these cannot be recycled. Simple wrapping paper can be recycled but foil or glitter-decorated paper cannot and needs to go in the waste. Reusable gift wrap is also an idea, such as cloth or reusable gift bags!

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Press Release: State, Local Officials Gather to Discuss the Issue of Wasted Food in Rhode Island

November 20, 2018

For Further information:
Lorenzo Macaluso, CET, 413-218-1543


ANNOUNCEMENT EVENT TODAY:

  • Buxton Hollow Farm, North Smithfield, RI
  • 10:30 a.m.
  • Photo Op: compost operation tour

State, Local Officials Gather to Discuss the Issue of Wasted Food in Rhode Island
The Center for EcoTechnology has received federal funding to help address the critical issue

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

Meanwhile, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 40% of food in the USA goes uneaten. This wasted food is valued at approximately $165 billion annually and when disposed of in a landfill, is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases. 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.

New Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) will address this issue by providing technical assistance to help businesses and institutions reduce wasted food.

The funding was announced today by Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin at Buxton Hollow Farm in North Smithfield. The announcement also highlighted the farm’s impressive compost operation, run by The Compost Plant.

With the Federal funds it has received, CET expects to provide technical assistance to many businesses across the state to successfully and cost effectively implement strategies to address their wasted food.  These efforts will also help businesses like the Compost Plant, grow and succeed.

“The amount of food that is wasted every year is staggering,” said Congressman Langevin, who has convened a Rhode Island Food Advisory Committee to better understand the agriculture and dining landscape in the state. “That’s why I’m thrilled that the Center for EcoTechnology has secured federal funding to help businesses across Rhode Island address this problem through efficient and cost-effective strategies. Food is a precious resource, and we cannot afford to waste it.”

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Food Waste: True or False

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season! In this post we will be talking about how you can decrease the environmental impact of your Thanksgiving… and also save money. Every year after a thanksgiving meal it seems like there’s so much food leftover. It is important we try our best to divert food from going to landfills. How much do you know about food waste?Join us in a true & false about food waste and test your knowledge!

“America wastes 40% of our food supply every year”

True. According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Americans waste 40% of our food supply each year which translates to 133 billion pounds of food, which is worth $161 billion. So the average american household is losing around $2,275 annually!

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Food Donation Resources for New York State

New York may be known for its bright lights, tourist attractions, and giant slices of pizza, but the state could also soon be known as a leader in diverting food waste from landfills! As the state of New York considers implementing a food waste ban, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) and New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) are working together to assist businesses and service providers with their wasted food diversion. The Center for EcoTechnology (CET) has partnered with NYSP2I to continue to provide wasted food expertise for entities throughout the state. One of the most recent resources, a series of legal fact sheets regarding food donation in NY, was developed in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic.

WFS food donation

Similar fact sheets have been helpful for the food industry in other states, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut. These resources have already been a huge benefit for food waste generators and service providers by adding confidence surrounding the rules and protections for their businesses. The recently released New York documents explain the legal backgrounds of liability protections, date labeling laws, tax incentives, and feeding food scraps to animals.

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