WASTE

WASTE

WASTE

It is estimated that forty percent of all the food produced in the U.S. is wasted. If that 40 percent were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind the United States and China. If it were brought down to zero, as much as 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated.

The best way to prevent waste may be to stop surpluses from occurring in the first place, but that begins when you scrape less off your plate or from your refrigerator. We could reduce the deforestation involved in providing acreage for animals to graze and crops to grow to feed those animals. We could reduce the energy needed to heat, cool, water and care for them, not to mention the labor, the transport and the packaging.

Food waste now accounts for more than one quarter of the total freshwater consumption and approximately 300 million barrels of oil per year.

In addition, as we bring food waste to rot in landfills, it is producing substantial quantities of methane – a gas with 25 fold more potent global warming potential than CO2

This is another area in which we can make an impact. We can plan more carefully before we buy. 

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

Biodegradable vs. Compostable: What’s the Difference?

02/09/21
The terms "biodegradable" and "compostable" are everywhere, but they're often used interchangeably, incorrectly, or misleadingly – adding a layer of uncertainty for anyone trying to shop sustainably.

BioCycle the organics recycling authority

03/28/20
Published since 1960, BioCycle is the go-to resource on composting, organics recycling, anaerobic digestion and renewable energy.

Climate change becomes widely recognized corporate factor for waste and recycling

03/28/20
While many of the largest companies have been releasing sustainability reports for years, 2019 marked a potential turning point in the level of detail and acknowledgment for this looming issue.

Why America’s recycling isn’t working and what you can do about it

02/10/20
Poor recycling habits cost US municipalities $3.2 Billion annually. What are the common challenges local governments are facing?

National Overview: Facts and Figures on Materials, Wastes and Recycling

01/30/20
EPA began collecting and reporting data on the generation and disposition of waste in the United States more than 30 years ago. The Agency uses this information to measure the success of materials management programs…

Managing and Transforming Waste Streams – A Tool for Communities

01/30/20
In 2002, San Francisco set a goal of 75% diversion by 2010 and in 2003 Zero Waste by 2020. The city's comprehensive Environment Code, created in 2003, is based on the Precautionary Principle.
EPA

Basic Information about Landfill Gas

11/26/19
Landfill gas (LFG) is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic material in landfills. LFG is composed of roughly 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) and…

Sustainable Piermont

11/26/19
Sustainable Piermont is a community initiative to protect our environment and prepare for the upcoming effects of Climate Change.  Piermont stands out locally and regionally on both fronts and is ready to do more.

C40 Cities

11/26/19
Cities are where the future happens first. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group connects more than 90 of the world’s greatest cities, representing over 650 million people and one quarter of the global economy. Created…

US Climate Alliance

11/26/19
In response to the U.S. federal government’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, Governors Andrew Cuomo, Jay Inslee, and Jerry Brown launched the United States Climate Alliance – a bipartisan coalition…

Resilient Communities For America

11/26/19
Resilient Communities for America (RC4A) champions the leadership of hundreds of local elected officials who are committed to creating more prepared communities that can bounce back from extreme weather, energy, and economic challenges. A strong…

How Cities Can Improve Homes

10/22/19
Residential Policies to Promote Economic Development, Improve Health, and Reduce Carbon Emissions

Zero Net Energy Buildings with Zero Net Added Cost

10/22/19
Would you consider making your next home or building project a zero energy project? If the net added cost to you was also zero, would you be more interested? Most people would. It’s possible to…

Stop Waste

08/30/19
StopWaste helps Alameda County’s businesses, residents, and schools waste less, recycle properly, and use water, energy, and other resources efficiently.

Food Recovery Network

08/30/19
Food Recovery Network is the largest student movement fighting food waste and hunger in America.

Climate Collaborative – Packaging

08/30/19
On average, packaging accounts for about 5% of the energy used in the life cycle of a food product making it a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and for some products, the packaging used…

Food Print – The Problem of Food Waste

08/30/19
Almost half of our food is wasted in the United States. How does this happen? What can we do to solve our enormous food waste problem?

EPA – Food Waste Programs Across the United States

08/30/19
Food loss and waste is a growing problem in our modern society. The amount of food Americans throw away each year is staggering. In 2014 alone, more than 38 million tons of food waste was…

WWF – Take the Food Waste Quiz

08/30/19
Test your knowledge and learn tips.

American Cities Climate Challenge

07/01/19
The American Cities Climate Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity for 25 ambitious cities to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents. As Climate Challenge winners,…

Food Tank – 59 Organizations Fighting Food Loss and Waste

06/24/19
It’s no secret that food loss and food waste are big problems. At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in markets…

Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate Change

05/28/19
Co-chaired by Maros Sefcovic and Michael Bloomberg, The Global Covenant of Mayors serves cities and local governments by mobilizing and supporting ambitious, measurable, planned climate and energy action in their communities by working with city/regional…

100% Commitments in Cities, Counties, & States

04/05/19
Across the U.S. over 90 cities, more than ten counties and two states, have already adopted ambitious 100% clean energy goals. Six cities in the U.S.--Aspen, Burlington, Georgetown, Greensburg, Rock port, and Kodiak Island--have already…

In Sweden, Trash Heats Homes, Powers Buses and Fuels Taxi Fleets

09/21/18
In a cavernous room filled with garbage, a giant mechanical claw reaches down and grabs five tons of trash. As a technician in a control room maneuvers the spiderlike crane, the claw drops its moldering…

MORE NEWS

The Lasso Robot Wants to Make Recycling at Home Easier

By John Biggs  Photo: Lasso   01/12/21  
Recycling is important but it’s also a pain. Separating glass from plastic from paper isn’t a terrible task but what wouldn’t it be nicer if a robot did it instead? That’s why one inventor built…

7 Ways to Dispose of an Old Christmas Tree

By Katherine Martinko  Photo: Public Domain   12/28/20  
If you purchased a real Christmas tree this holiday season, then you'll have to figure out what to do with it eventually. Your town may have curbside pickup, but if not, you'll have to get…

Electronic Waste Reaches Record Levels, New Report Finds

By Deutsche Welle  Photo: Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0   07/03/20  
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person,…

Electronic Waste: New EU Rules Target Throwaway Culture

By Jordan Davidson  Photo: baranozdemir / iStock /Getty Images Plus   03/12/20  
All those phones, computers and tablets we rely on are dependent on mined resources. Extracting and processing those resources accounts for nearly half of our greenhouse...

Is a world without trash possible?

By Robert kunzig   02/18/20  
The vision of a “circular economy”—where we use resources sparingly and recycle endlessly—is inspiring businesses and environmentalists alike.

Why we dedicated our cover story to ‘the end of trash’

By Susan Goldberg   02/18/20  
We feel bad when we throw out things that shouldn’t have become trash (like uneaten, past-its-prime produce) or expend resources needlessly (like leaving lights on when we’re away). This guilty feeling is deeply ingrained; the…

Florida legislature advances third attempt at curbside recycling contamination bill

By Katie Pyzyk   01/30/20  
Last week, the Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill (HB 73) listing contamination-related details that must be included in recycling contracts between municipalities and haulers or MRFs. Haulers would not be required to transport contaminated materials…

Can the Super Bowl go zero waste?

By Sarah Gibbens   01/29/20  
This Sunday, Miami's Hard Rock Stadium will try to eliminate its need for a landfill.

Turning cow waste into clean power on a national scale

By Eileen Abbott  Photo: Getty   01/28/20  
A new partnership will convert waste from dairy cows into usable natural gas.

E.P.A. Is Letting Cities Dump More Raw Sewage Into Rivers for Years to Come

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo by Ting Shen   01/24/20  
The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with…

Industry’s 3 largest landfill operators among California’s biggest methane emitters: report

By E.A. Crunden   01/23/20  
NASA data shows Republic Services, Waste Connections and Waste Management among the state's "super-emitters."
vpr

Vermonters Want To Keep Food Waste Out Of Landfills. They Just Don’t Want To Pay For it

By John Dillon  Photo by Jane Lindholm   01/22/20  
Many Vermonters support a pending ban on food waste from landfills. But a new University of Vermont study found few people want to pay for curbside pick-up of their food scraps.

Covanta will set ‘science-based’ emissions reduction target by 2022 as part of climate focus

By E.A. Crunden   12/23/19  
Covanta's new sustainability report argues incineration can play a key role in diverting waste from landfills, a major source of methane, and previews a growing focus on climate concerns.

Is Tinsel Canceled?

By Penelope Green  Photo: Orlando/Three Lions, via Getty Images   12/20/19  
As the world scrambles to combat deforestation, experts warn our efforts could have far fewer benefits than we think.

State of the Puget Sound: New report indicates additional marine stress

12/04/19  
Climate change impacts and continued population growth stand to increase pressures on an ecosystem already in peril.

Brighton Kaoma: Empowering Communities for Climate Action Since Age 14

11/20/19  
As a teenage radio journalist in Zambia, Kaoma helped communities voice their environmental concerns. Now he’s a graduate student in Environmental Science and Policy. ...

945 Toxic Waste Sites at Risk of Disaster From Climate Crisis

11/19/19  
The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related...

Climate change could double greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater lakes

By University of Cambridge   11/18/19  
Every drop of fresh water contains thousands of different organic molecules that have previously gone unnoticed. By measuring the diversity of these molecules and how they interact with the environment around them, research has revealed…

More than 70 nations pledge to reduce food waste

By Cain Burdeau   11/09/19  
ROME (AP) — More than 70 countries have pledged to do more to cut down on the amount of food lost due to poor refrigeration.

How indigenous peoples can help the world meet its climate goals

By Julia Rosen  Photo: Greenpeace   11/05/19  
The first time Mandy Gull visited Canada’s Broadback Forest, she was struck by the displays of delicate lichen. By the dense, ancient trees. By the moss-covered floor, which rose and fell like a rumpled green…

Cities, states and companies vow to meet U.S. climate goals without Trump. Can they?

By Julia Rosen  Photo: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times   11/04/19  
Despite President Trump‘s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, the United States hasn’t completely abandoned the landmark international agreement.

Q&A With Sustainable Cities Expert Jitendra Bajpai

10/28/19  
The engineer and urban transport planner teaches a course on sustainable cities for the M.S. in Sustainability Management program.  ...

Rising Ocean Temperatures Shut Down Shrimp in Maine

10/17/19  
Maine’s shrimp population has declined as its gulf waters have warmed, causing a shrimp fishing ban that may threaten the fishing industry indefinitely. ...

Bali fights for its beautiful beaches by rethinking waste, plastic trash

10/15/19  
From single-use plastic bans to education, Bali is digging deep to preserve its pristine reputation and save its tourism industry....

94 World Mayors Call for Green New Deal, Blast Slow National Actions

10/10/19  
Disappointed by the lack of concrete action at September's UN Climate Action Summit, the mayors of some of the world's biggest cities are taking matters into...

What desert cities can teach us about water

10/09/19  
A rise in temperatures coupled with population growth calls into question the long-term sustainability of desert cities.

The Gulf of Maine is warming, and its whales are disappearing

10/06/19  
Waters off the coast of Maine are warming faster than 99 percent of the world's oceans. That's forcing whales northward in pursuit of prey, threatening some of their already dwindling populations....

Ocean Cleanup Project Finally Collects Plastic From Great Pacific Garbage Patch

By Michel Martin   10/05/19  
That giant pile of plastic trash in the ocean just got a little smaller. Dutch inventor Boyan Slat's Ocean Cleanup project recently collected its first plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Department of Energy awards $73M for biofuel and waste projects

By Cody Ellis  Photo by Elizabeth Regan, Industry Dive   10/03/19  
The Department of Energy recently selected 35 projects to receive $73 million worth of bioenergy research and development funding. This includes multiple projects relevant to the waste and recycling industry.

Closing the Loop on Urban Food Waste

10/03/19  
Riyana Razalee, a current student in the MS in Sustainability Management program, is building from the ground up a career in agriculture and food systems. ...

A Sustainability Indicator to Compare the Bike Friendliness of U.S. Cities

10/02/19  
An index created by a student would measure how well cities are encouraging bicycling through infrastructure, safety, and clean air. ...

Massachusetts raises 2050 waste reduction target, may expand organics ban

By Cole Rosengren  Photo: Todd Kent   10/01/19  
A new draft solid waste master plan from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) calls for a 30% reduction in annual disposal by 2030 and a 90% reduction by 2050. An estimated 5.7 million…

How cities reshape the evolutionary path of urban wildlife

09/24/19  
If researchers can figure out how pigeons and rats evolve to thrive in hostile city habitats, it could help other beasts--including us--adapt to climate change....

Indigenous people are already working “green jobs”

09/24/19  
From Standing Rock to the Unist’ot’en Camp, land defense and water protection are necessary for the continuation of life on a planet teetering on collapse....

The Fight For Environmental Justice In America’s Segregated Cities

By Peter Dykstra  Photo: geographical.co.uk   09/07/19  
Abolitionist climate justice is an evolving movement that aims to tackle the disparate effects of climate change across race and class...

I helped expose the lead crisis in Flint. Here’s what other cities should do.

08/28/19  
The fight against lead in water is a fight for our kids....

The toxic waste threat that climate change is making worse

By Zack Colman  Photo by Steve Helber   08/26/19  
More than 100 ponds and landfills containing coal ash lie in areas FEMA has designated as high-risk flood zones, according to a POLITICO analysis.

The Hidden Costs of Food Waste

08/23/19  
Nearly 40 percent of all food goes uneaten in the U.S. Environmental policy alumni examine the impacts of food waste and how we can make a difference. ...

Stalks, pests and beer gone bad: Tricks of the trade from a no-waste dinner

By Alice Neville  Photo: Folkyeah   08/21/19  
Inspired by the ethos of food-rescue organisation Kaibosh, chef Kelda Hains looked to the past to champion unloved ingredients and showcase clever waste-minimising techniques at her All Taste, No Waste dinner during Visa Wellington On…

What Is Spoiled Milk Good For, and Can You Drink It?

By Ansley Hill, RD, LD   08/21/19  
Contrary to popular belief, spoiled milk may have a place in your next culinary pursuit. Not to mention, using spoiled milk in recipes is a great way to reduce food waste.

Top 10 Emerging Technologies (7): Advanced Food Tracking and Packaging

By Bart Brouwers   08/21/19  
World Economic Forum (WEF) asked a group of international technology experts to identify this year’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies.  Today: Food tracking.

Here’s how we solve the planet’s food waste problem

By Maddie Stone  Photo: David Parry - PA Images / PA Images via Getty Images   08/21/19  
Earlier this month, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a dire report highlighting the enormous environmental impact of agriculture. But the report also pointed to a clear way for us to feed more…

Sex lives of flies could be key to tackling food waste

By Benjamin Ferrer   08/21/19  
Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has revealed how a “secret recipe” to encourage Black Soldier Flies to mate can help tackle food waste.

Study Finds Farm-Level Food Waste is Much Worse Than We Thought

By Gosia Wozniacka   08/20/19  
Unharvested crops dramatically bump up estimates of U.S. food waste. But some farmers—who get demonized for working within a system they didn’t create—are seeking solutions to get that food to market.

The Case Against Paper Straws

By Annie Lowrey  Photo: Eric Baradat/Getty   08/20/19  
The bright, cold, bitter tang. The soft notes of walnut and dirt. The anticipation of the jolt of electricity. The feeling of wet cardboard in my mouth.

Food Waste as a Renewable Energy

By Mihaela Dimitrova  Photo: KaliAntye / Shutterstock   08/19/19  
As terms such as climate security and food security came together, an important solution to the energy problem emerged: food waste-based energy.

Meet the woman using maggots to fix our food waste scandal

By John Elder   08/16/19  
When Olympia Yarger started farming maggots, it’s because she couldn’t afford to feed sheep, cattle or even chickens. She figured maggots – which can be fed to livestock – might solve that problem. Her hope…

Why we need better, bigger data to help combat food waste

By Tim Richards  Photo: Raluca Ioana Cohn/iStock   08/16/19  
Last week, the UN sounded the alarm bell about an impending food crisis driven by climate change, and it identified reducing food waste as an essential part of the solution.

How active and intelligent packaging in the supply chain could solve the food waste crisis

By Harry Menear   08/15/19  
Intelligent packaging “contains an external or internal indicator to provide information about aspects of the history of the package and/or the quality of the food.”

Diet and food waste take center stage in new report on climate change

By Jay Sjerven  Photo: Adobe Stock   08/15/19  
During 2010-16, global food loss and waste were responsible for 8% to 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions, the report asserted.