Smart Party Planning: How to Reduce Waste BEFORE your guests arrive!

By Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

Is one of your goals this year to help reduce waste? Try starting with food waste! According to the USDA, 30-40 percent of food produced in the United States every year goes to waste. This corresponded to about 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010. Wasted food that is sent to landfills quickly generates methane, a greenhouse gas. About 20% of the country’s methane emissions come from landfills. Food waste is definitely a big deal!

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Stop Plastic Pollution at the Source. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Plastic PollutionBy Willow Cohn, Outreach and Education EcoFellow

We use plastics in virtually every shape and form in our daily lives. It carries our drinks, holds our shampoos, and keeps our veggies fresh. According to the to the UN Environment Programme, humans are consuming resources and producing waste at a greater scale than ever before, and per capita consumption levels are projected to increase with continued development. Data indicates that during the 20th century, global material resource use rose at about twice the rate of population. Plastic is everywhere! We love it because it is waterproof, relatively cheap, durable, and versatile. Plastic makes our lives incredibly convenient, disposable, and easy, but most people rarely think about the effects it has on the environment. Unlike other materials, it never really goes away. Plastic does break down, but in a landfill it takes up to 400 hundreds years; worse, it doesn’t ever become other materials, it just breaks into microscopic pieces of plastic that are still non-biodegradable. From there, plastic fragments most often find their way into the oceans. But it’s not just the end of a plastic’s life cycle we need to worry about. When plastic is produced, it’s made from toxic materials such as benzene and vinyl hydrochloride. These chemicals are known to cause cancer, and the manufacturing byproducts contaminate our air and soil.

So what can you do?

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CET Takes a Tour of the SMRF

By Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

Recently, some of the EcoFellows and CET staff took a tour of the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (SMRF). We got to see the inside of the facility, where the materials are dropped off, where they’re sorted and the belts that the materials travel on. Afterwards, we were shown the gigantic bales of recyclable materials and were invited to have a discussion about the different challenges of recycling and how important outreach and education is. Find out what we learned below!

About 70 cities and towns bring their recycling materials to the SMRF and there are multiple ways that towns recycle. The two most common ways to recycle are through single-stream recycling and dual-stream recycling. Single stream refers to recycling materials (such as paper and plastic) are mixed together; dual stream recycling involves separating materials into paper products and other containers (such as plastic, metal and glass, etc). The most common method is dual stream, and the SMRF only processes dual stream.

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Saturday Outreach in the Berkshires

By Jorge Guarin, Outreach and Education EcoFellow

Over 40 years ago CET was founded in Pittsfield, MA by a group of visionary individuals. Their mission was to help the Berkshires community take practical steps to address the energy crises of the 70’s. By focusing on energy conservation and renewable energy, CET minimized the detrimental impact those events had on the Berkshires community. After four decades, CET’s engagement with the Berkshires community has not only become more widespread to meet the needs of thousands, but it has also expanded to encompass food waste, materials management, and electric vehicles. The first Saturday of October was a prime example of the strong and everlasting relationship between CET and the Berkshires community.

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Reuse Rockstars Winners 2017

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing and High Performance Building EcoFellow

Last week the 2017 Reuse Rockstars competition came to an end. We had 18 entries, and we were blown away by your creativity and ingenuity! These materials were once destined for the landfill, but thanks to your hard work and a shopping trip to EcoBuilding Bargains, new life has been breathed into these unique conversation pieces! Although only one winner will walk away with the $200 gift card to EcoBuilding Bargains, we would like to showcase a few of our favorites, and thank everyone for participating!

Honorable Mentions

 Service Table by CynthiaReuse Rockstar Table

This table will be the envy of every dinner party! Place it in the middle of your garden with some outdoor lighting and you have the perfect dinner venue from summer through fall! Cynthia found both the reclaimed door that is now the tabletop, and the canopy bed that is now the legs at EcoBuilding Bargains, making this a full transformation! The center is cut away to reveal an under-mounted rain gutter that functions as an ice bucket for wine and other drinks.

 

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