Fall 2017 Reuse Rockstar Competition Launch!

By: Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

Here we go again! EcoBuilding Bargains is kick-starting our Fall 2017 Reuse Rockstar Competition! Reuse Rockstar is a friendly competition held to showcase all of the creative ways EcoBuilding Bargains customers transform materials they find at the store into beautiful and innovative pieces. Last year, our customers turned a wooden beam into a light fixture, old wood into a rustic coffee table, old bowling alley lane flooring into a counter top and so much more! Check out these submissions from last year for some inspiration:

 

island

Len Scanici made a beautiful kitchen island using reused bowling alley planks for the counter top!

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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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7 Ways to Make a Zero Waste Lunch that Fills You Up

By: Morgan O’Connor, Marketing EcoFellow

Whether you’re going back to school or back to work, it’s time to start thinking about how much of your lunch you’re actually eating. According to the EPA, students who bring lunch from home every day generate 67 pounds of waste a year! Follow these seven easy steps to practicing zero waste and keep your lunch out of the landfill and in your stomach!

Tips for a Zero Waste Lunch

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