This is a guest post from Tom Szaky, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of TerraCycle, which provides free waste collection, and then turns that waste into sustainable products. View our previous post about TerraCycle here: http://mantrameds.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/terracycle-outsmart-waste/
Widely quoted estimates suggest that 90% of the ‘stuff’ we buy is discarded within 6 months of purchase. What’s worse is that 10% of this “stuff” ends up going to some type of waste-to-energy facility, while the remaining 90% of America’s waste ends up in a landfill.
With over 360 million Americans and counting producing on average about 4 pounds of waste a day, it is clear that our recycling systems need to be expanded to accept a wider range of materials, and fast. Worse yet, even commonly recyclable packaging formats such as PET and HDPE plastic bottles are only recycled at an estimated (and paltry) 25%.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to go green…
Revolution is sometimes necessary, if never comfortable. Thomas Jefferson knew this when he and his revolutionary colleagues laid out their grievances before dissolving the bands that connected them with the King of England. We celebrate the success of that revolution every year, and for good reason.
This Fourth of July, a couple hundred years later, there’s another revolution afoot, with the potential to shake up the way America does business, interacts with other nations and pursues happiness. “Green” is more than a buzzword. It’s a path forward for a great nation seeking to produce its own energy, shore up its security and provide sustainable prosperity for its people.
Jefferson didn’t spend a lot of ink on energy policy in the Declaration of Independence, but a selective reading of his “indictments” against the King almost sound like a treatise on sustainability. (At least, the whole argument for untangling ourselves from that rotten King of England is framed as aligning human behavior with natural law and the “powers of the earth.”)
So, this Fourth of July, start participating in the next revolution, one that embraces good-old American ingenuity and hard work on the path toward a brighter future for our great nation.
Read more about how to Declare Your Independence from Oil, Waste, Factory Food, & Suspect Chemicals: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/declare-independence-47062306#ixzz1zUmsAlEd
via Students for Environmental Action: As I was eating some peanut M&Ms (love ‘em) I looked on the back of the package and saw the message “Recycle this package” and the website. I went to it and it is SUPER AWESOME! All these things you didn’t think you could recycle, well you can! It was started by a student at Princeton University in 2001 and now they recycle waste from big corporations too. We could also collect some of this waste ourselves and send it in. The incentive is not only recycling, but each wrapper or package is worth 2 cents donated to the charity of our choice! Maybe one of our goals could be to set up official collection boxes next to all the trash bins in buildings. It wouldn’t be that bad since there’s only like one per hallway now!
Check out TerraCycle at: http://www.terracycle.net/en-US/
Mantrameds sustainable medical apparel encourages you to reduce, reuse & recycle on this Thanksgiving holiday! This great article from Organic Authority gives tips on reducing your waste before, during and after turkey day!
Written by Abbie Stutzer
Thanksgiving is not about stuffing your face and unbuttoning your pants to allow your stomach that extra inch of space. Nor is it about wasting oodles of food, paper products and energy. Shocking, I know. The renowned holiday is really about being thankful for what you have, family and good food prepared with care — and consciousness.
It’s easy to overlook that last part. We’re all hurried and rushed, and spend most of our holiday prep time thinking about meal presentation rather than preparation and clean up. The following tips, ideas and general advice can help you stay conscious this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day and take pleasure in knowing you did everything in your power to produce a sustainable meal!
Thanksgiving Day Preparation
Get it Done in One Trip
Make your list, check it twice, and have your mom look over it so she can remind you of that one item you will inevitably forget. Getting all of your holiday shopping done in one trip will save gas, wear and tear on your car and time.
Break Out the Good Dishes
Don’t use plastic utensils or paper plates, and cook with reusable containers and pans. Sure, dish washing is a chore, but these “convenient” dishes create a ton of waste. Use cloth napkins, too. Also, post meal clean up can be done with a homemade, green cleaner and an old towel.
Recycle every last plastic container, cardboard box and wine bottle.
Put plant waste, coffee grounds and tea bags in your compost pile.
Decorate with Nature
Fill clear vases with pinecones, acorns and colorful leaves and use as an earthy centerpiece. Popped open your organic wine bottles already? Take the corks, carve a small slit in the cork, and place a piece of paper with a guest’s name to create unique, upcycled place settings.
Use the Whole Turkey
That expensive free-range, organic turkey gave its life to feed you and your family and friends — you better use the whole thing. Kathy Bechtel of Italian Food, Wine, Health and Fitness has a great post dedicated to how to use the entire bird.
Use Organic and Local Veggies
A no-brainer, but easy to forget if you’re in a rush at the store. Try to buy fresh rather than canned. Use traditional Thanksgiving food (cranberries, yams) and make unconventional side dishes.
Meat-Free Meal Options
These awesome holiday recipes are vegetarian-friendly. Serve as this year’s Thanksgiving entree (the butternut squash gnocchi looks amazing — and it can be made vegan) if you and your family don’t eat meat, or serve as unique side dishes to complete your turkey.
By Presidio MPA
The following case study is part of a project by MPA students at the Presidio Graduate School on information management technology and policy. You can read the rest of the series here.
By Amy Hammes, Waste Warrior
Food grown in the United States is abundant, cheap and has allowed for unprecedented prosperity. These factors have also led to immense waste of valuable resources. Of the 591.4 billion pounds of perishables grown in the United States each year, it is estimated that nearly half is discarded. (Bloom, 2010) While previous generations might have considered wasting food “sinful,” today it has become a social norm; the collateral damage of a highly productive agricultural system that is enabled by inexpensive transportation and disposal capabilities.
Even cost-conscious commercial kitchen operations consider scrap waste an undesirable but inevitable part of their operational expenditures, throwing away 4-10% of their food purchases. (Copeland, 2011) Further adding to the waste problem is the consumer’s desire for near-perfect aesthetics.
These factors in aggregate means that much of what is grown will never reach the plate. Yet, new economic realities, such as higher disposal fees, government scrutiny of greenhouse gas emissions from decomposition and transportation, and the slow awakening that “waste = money” are leading organizations to take a closer look at their food footprint. This case study will examine how an innovative food waste tracking technology is helping a non-profit hospital system analyze their entire kitchen operations in order to reduce the amount of food scraps produced. (more…)
By TOM PALMER
NYT Regional Media Group
There was more behind last year’s rollout of the sometimes controversial 95-gallon garbage carts than simply streamlining garbage pickup in unincorporated Polk County.
The limits on how much residents could throw away each week also got more people thinking about recycling, according to Brooks Stayer, Polk County’s director of waste resource management.
“We’ve had requests for 43,000 new recycling bins since Oct. 1,” he said. (more…)