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

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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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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