Fall has hit the Midwest! And we’re all happily enjoying the beautiful orange, gold and red leaves, pumpkin patches and apple cider. The crisp fall air means opening windows, leaving the air conditioning off and taking pleasure in the cool nights, but it also means that very soon we’ll be turning on the heating and hunkering down for winter.
So, how do you prepare your home for winter and its energy bills? Find out how you can save energy by winter-proofing your home. Continue reading
Americans are some of the most prevalent food wasters in the world! About one-third of all food produced globally is wasted, with the U.S. contributing an embarrassing 40 percent of that! This food waste isn’t just a wasted opportunity; it’s actually bad for the planet. Rotting food in landfills produces and emits methane, a gas that has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide! So, it suffices to say rotting food is a major environmental concern.
We can start to correct this problem by taking small, everyday steps within our homes to reduce needless waste. Here are 10 simple ways you can reduce food waste in your home:
Ever forgotten that lettuce in the bottom drawer? What about the Chinese that’s been in the fridge for two weeks? We are all guilty of wasting food. About one-third of all food produced globally is wasted, with the U.S. contributing an embarrassing 40 percent. And did you know that food makes up the largest percentage of waste going into municipal landfills, according to the EPA. We’re chronic food wasters in the U.S.!
To add to our guilt is that all that rotting food waste emits methane, which, in turn, destroys our old friend the ozone layer. Methane has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. (And you were worried about your car!)
At-home composting is one way to take a stand against this waste and the methane emissions seeping from our landfills. The added bonus of at-home composting is the ready supply of really rich soil you’ll produce for your yard and garden.
Here are 5 basic steps to help you ease into the process of at-home composting.
Now that it’s July, the real summer heat is starting to set in, and as we all know, the Midwest can swelter well into September! So saving energy on your air conditioner is not only good for the environment but also good for your wallet.
Here are the top 10 ways to save on air conditioner energy. Continue reading
Polyethylene, Polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride and di(2-elthylhexyl)adipate … what the heck is all that stuff? Well, it’s actually plastic. When you look at your recycling bin, one product probably stands out above the others – plastics!
According to the EPA, plastics make up about 12 percent of municipal solid waste, meaning that we generate upwards of 3o million tons of plastic waste each year. That’s a LOT of plastic. That’s 60,000,000,000.00 pounds worth! Find out more about America’s most common recyclable. Continue reading
We like to think of gardening as an inherently “green” activity, but with the yearly mass production of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, flower growth and transportation and gardening accessories production, growing green can become anything but. Recycling in the garden is a great way to reduce wasted resources and products. Here are some ways to ‘green’ up the content of your garden. Continue reading
Many people don’t know or think about where their recycling goes after it leaves their recycling bin. The answer might surprise them. About half of the U.S.’s recycled goods are exported. The U.S. exports tens of billions of dollars’ worth of recycling each year to dozens of nations worldwide. In 2007, the U.S. exported $22 billion worth of recycled materials to 152 countries, according to the New York Times. In 2009, $6.8 billion worth of U.S. exporting was waste, scrap paper and paperboard, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Scrap plastics accounted for $827.6 million. Continue reading
According to the most recent statistics, only 34 percent of Americans recycle. That means a whole lot of perfectly recyclable products end up in landfills. To put the U.S. recycling rate in perspective, England’s rate is about 42 percent, and Germany’s is at 70 percent! We investigated and found some common theories as to why we have such a low recycling rate in the U.S.
Recycling in the U.S. can be confusing. Because there is no standard labeling system, people are often confused about what goes where. In a New York Times op-ed written by David Bornstein earlier this year, he talks about the need for standardized recycling labels on recycling containers. “One of the most important environmental fixes taking root today is an initiative to standardize recycling labels. It’s only one piece in a complex puzzle, but it’s such a central piece that it seems amazing it’s been overlooked for a generation,” Bornstein writes. He says standardized labels will make recycling as simple as possible and prevent people from trashing recyclables out of confusion.
Everyone wants to be green these days. Largely because consumers have made it clear that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is and reward green minded companies with their business. While this trend has led to environmental improvements in communities across the country, it has also given rise to a phenomenon known as “greenwashing” – talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
Food waste in restaurants is a major problem in the U.S., and many restaurant owners don’t even realize there’s a simple, economic solution. In a recent NPR story, chefs talked about how food waste has become a normal part of the business, when it should be anything BUT business as usual. Continue reading