What is the Zero Waste Lifestyle?

Go Zero Waste with a Reusable Water BottleBy Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow

Zero Waste is a movement to reduce the amount one consumes and consequently throws away. Adopting a Zero Waste lifestyle is one of the most sustainable ways of living. Zero Waste lifestyle choices influence all environmental areas by preventing resource extraction, reducing the amount of materials sent to the landfill or incinerator, and reducing pollution from producing, transporting, or disposing of materials.

Zero Waste is often shown as something not easily accessible (making your own soap just may not be practical in your life, for example), but it’s actually very easy to take simple steps toward Zero Waste. In fact, not only will you reduce waste, adopting a Zero Waste lifestyle can often be more affordable. Composting, buying second-hand, sharing when you can, or packing your own lunch are all simple steps you can take toward Zero Waste, all while saving money too!

There are a variety of ways one can practice Zero Waste habits, and some will make more sense for you than others. Challenge yourself to adopt some of the tips below. Soon you’ll be on your way to living the Zero Waste lifestyle.

Tips everyone can use to move toward the Zero Waste Movement:

  • Refuse what we do not need (for example, at restaurants opt to go strawless)
  • Reduce what we use, especially if we are not using it (we have lots of tips on how to reduce your wasted food, check out this blog here)
  • Reusing and using what we have until it no longer works, not when it no longer is in fashion (did you know our store, EcoBuilding Bargains, diverts 400 tons of material from the landfill every year?)
  • Repairing what we can
  • Recycling only when all previous options have been explored (here are some easy steps)

10 Easy, Green New Year’s Resolutions!

By: Shelby Kuenzli, Digital Marketing EcoFellow

It’s a new year! As everyone is setting their goals for 2018, here are a few easy and green New Year’s resolutions that can help you make an impact on the environment!




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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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The Monster in our Closet: Fast Fashion & Textile Waste on the Rise

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building Fellow

Warehouse full, floor to ceiling with old clothing

In 1980 the EPA found the U.S. to have generated roughly 5 billion pounds of textile waste in the public waste stream. That amount has since spiked to 32.44 billion pounds in 2014. This is post-consumer textile waste, which includes products such as clothing, footwear, fashion accessories, towels, bedding, and drapery that have already been purchased. 95% of all textiles have the potential to be reused or recycled, but currently they are recycled at a rate of only 15%. This disproportionate rate is thought to be caused by lack of awareness among individuals, as this is only municipal solid waste, meaning what people are throwing away in their public waste stream, not waste generated by businesses, including the fashion industry. So this problem largely lies with us – the individual.

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Meet Lorenzo Macaluso

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

Meet Lorenzo Macaluso

Lorenzo Macaluso

Lorenzo Macaluso, Director of Client Services

The Center for EcoTechnology may be a local non-profit, but our programs and knowledge extend across the country. Lorenzo Macaluso is a national expert in all things waste. This fall he’s going to be speaking from the east coast to the west coast about donation, policy and technical assistance, funding, composting management, and food donation. We’re grateful to have Lorenzo at CET and wanted to share more about him!

Lorenzo Macaluso is the Director of Client Services here at the Center for EcoTechnology. He has been with CET for 17 years and throughout that time he has taken on several integral roles. He provides technical assistance, training, and outreach to businesses and institutions to help improve environmental performance. He also aids CET in finding new opportunities to expand our work and increase our impact through saving energy and reducing waste.

Lorenzo developed a toolkit for restaurants and schools interested in establishing composting programs. He also helped develop and oversee the implementation of CET’s Green Business Services, which provides waste diversion and energy efficiency information, as well as technical assistance to a wide range of organizations throughout Massachusetts and New England. Outside of CET Lorenzo also serves on the MassDEP Organics Subcommittee and was part of the DEP’s Mercury Management Act work group.

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