Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill
Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for almost 25 percent of U.S. methane emissions. Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year at a time when one in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. Increasing the efficiency of our food system is a triple-bottom-line solution that requires collaborative efforts by businesses, governments and consumers. The U.S. government should conduct a comprehensive study of losses in our food system and set national goals for waste reduction; businesses should seize opportunities to streamline their own operations, reduce food losses and save money; and consumers can waste less food by shopping wisely, knowing when food goes bad, buying produce that is perfectly edible even if it’s less cosmetically attractive, cooking only the amount of food they need, and eating their leftovers.
The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels
This report challenges the underlying notion of the Clean Energy Standard: that “clean” can be measured by a single emission rate, ignoring land and water impacts and ignoring a technology’s full life cycle. This report analyses six fuels used to generate electricity — biomass, coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar (photovoltaic and concentrating solar power), and wind (both onshore and offshore). Water impacts, climate change impacts, air pollution impacts, planning and cost risk, subsidies and tax incentives, land impacts, and other impacts are all considered.
Great Lakes PAH reduction
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is engaged in a project funded by U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through 2014 to promote phase-out of coal tar-based pavement sealcoat (CTS) in order to reduce environmental loading of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Tools and strategies used in Minnesota will be disseminated to partner states in the Great Lakes Basin and beyond.
Sustainable Industries’ 2011 Green Office Guide
Learn strategies for creating a Green Team, a Sustainability Plan, and tools for tracking your progress. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Find out how to audit your current office operations, set goals and measure your success. Also learn how “green leases” can help your company save money. Ensure your purchasing decisions have the least impact on the environment and human health, while promoting social justice. Other sections include: Paper; Printing; Office Supplies; Technology; Vehicles; Furnishings; Cleaning Supplies; Food; Carbon Offsets & Green Power; Meetings; Event Planning.
Sustainable Energy Guide
A company’s physical location is probably the most resource intensive part of business operations. This Sustainable Energy Handbook aims to address energy use in facilities and transportation.
Eco-Health Relationship Browser
The Eco-Health Relationship Browser illustrates the linkages between human health and ecosystem services–benefits supplied by Nature. This interactive tool provides information about our nation’s ecosystems, the services they provide, and how those services, or their degradation and loss, may affect people.
Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater
Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a portfolio of treatment options available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water along with new analysis suggesting that the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water does not appear to be any higher than the risk experienced in at least some current drinking water treatment systems, and may be orders of magnitude lower. This report recommends adjustments to the federal regulatory framework that could enhance public health protection for both planned and unplanned (or de facto) reuse and increase public confidence in water reuse. PDF download available at no charge. Print copy: $64.
Medical Waste: Product Stewardship — Extended Producer Responsiblity
Resource conservation has become an important issue internationally, especially in communities suffering from economic difficulty. Resource conservation is dependent on markets, locations willing to accept used materials and reprocess them to put them back on the market, or turn the materials into something else for resale.
Meaningful Impact: Challenges and Opportunities in Industrial Energy Efficiency Program Evaluation
Impact evaluation of industrial energy efficiency programs is a necessary activity to ensure public funds are used in a responsible manner. However, some stakeholders believe the manner in which industrial programs are currently evaluated for their impacts does not accurately reflect the reality of how customers use industrial energy efficiency programs. Others believe the metrics sought in evaluation are not meaningful and alternatives could be considered.
This report is based on interviews and surveys of program administrators, evaluators, and regulators. It discusses how industrial energy efficiency program evaluation is conducted and the types of data and metrics derived by evaluators. It discusses six issues in-depth that were of particular interest to respondents. They are:
- The development of a facility’s baseline
- The timing of evaluation activities
- The measurement of net savings and the use of net-to-gross ratios
- The measurement of free riders and their associated savings
- The measurement of spillover effect
- The measurement of non-energy benefits
Stakeholders believe many of the above components of evaluation are insufficiently or inaccurately conducted. This report explains these concerns about each issue and suggests best practices and suggested directions for improvement where available and applicable.
EPA’s DfE Standard for Safer Products (DfE Standard)
This document establishes minimum requirements for identifying cleaning products that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s DfE Safer Product Labeling Program (also know as the Formulator Program) criteria.