sustainablespu

Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese


Solutions to the Food Waste Fight


Food Waste Challenge –Launched 2 years ago

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is my go to source for what is officially happening here, and their website has a wealth of information. I particularly found the Food Waste Challenge launched in 2013 interesting, as well as the USDA’s Commitments and Deliverables through 2014. The Food Waste Challenge is a joint effort between the USDA and the EPA to call people along the food chain to help reduce, recover, and recycle (compost) more food so that it isn’t wasted, but instead used to its fullest potential. The specifics of the goal include 400 participants by 2015, and 1000 by 2020. Participants aren’t individuals, but schools, religious groups, businesses, or local government branches. Membership however is currently at 4,024, including 113 universities. Wow.

As part of this challenge there are also federal marketing orders that allow donations or alternate uses of fresh produce that don’t meet the federal marketing order requirements. These orders include crops of citrus fruits, avocados, kiwis, cherries, olives, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and dates. Since the launch of this program there have been fewer reports on food waste statistics, so we’ll see how effective it is. For tips and resources on how you can get involved, check out their Frequently Asked Questions page. Continue reading


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3 tips from Zero Waste “Gurus”


What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is a philosophy of reduction and recycling that leads to the production of no (or very little) garbage. It is a way of living that changes how much garbage you produce, but doesn’t have to change everything about you. You can still be yourself, but a more resourceful version of yourself that is kinder to the planet and your wallet. There’s a graphic that I think is really helpful in explaining what zero waste is all about that I’ve pulled from our department’s main website.
flowchart1zerowastecycleedit_Page_1

The top portion is a traditional waste stream that puts most items directly into the landfill while using lots of natural resources and energy to get them there.

The second graphic however, is a cycle that continues to reuse the same resources over and over again, with very little or nothing headed to the landfill. This cycle not only uses fewer natural resources, but also saves energy in production through reusing materials many times before recycling. Using recycled materials also reduces energy and cost for manufacturers. Continue reading


Spring has sprung! –Some spring cleaning ideas and ways to brighten the days with Seattle showers


The first step to enjoying spring (if you aren’t already) is to prepare for all the fun you’ll be having and carve out some space to enjoy the wonderful things that come with spring. Hopefully you’re already doing a few of these!

1) Spruce up your closet – (Donate, Shuffle, or Re-purpose)

Spring cleaning is not complete without going through your wardrobe. I know it’s time to do some rearranging when I have to dig past sweaters to get to t-shirts and tank tops. It’s helpful to go through clothing when the seasons change to see what you will continue to use as is, what you want to donate, and what you might want to give a face lift.donation-pick-up

A few ways I adjust my clothes for the new season is through creating cuffs on my jeans, or roll the sleeves on a t-shirt into a tank top. That way you don’t damage the clothes, and can still use them during the colder months.

Re-purposing clothes that have lived a long life in their current state, but still have integrity is another great way to adjust to the changing seasons. If you want to get a bit crafty you can cut up some tattered pieces and create interesting patches on a pair of old jeans or a new pocket on a t-shirt for a face lift. There are many other blogs and the infamous Pinterest for ideas and tutorials, so if you want to know more there are lots of options! Continue reading


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Inexpensive and good for you -10 ideas for 10 dollars or less for your Friday night


In Seattle many of the students at SPU have a hard time finding fun activities to do that won’t break the bank. Seattle has exponential opportunities to try something new, but it might cost you a pretty penny. Here are some ideas for students (or people on a budget) for Friday nights.

1) Board games at a local game store (Free + bus fare and snacks) This activity can be totally free! For SPU students Blue Highway is a walk up the 3rd Ave. hill to upper Queen Anne. If the weather isn’t ideal, the 13 also goes up the hill and stops just two blocks away from this fun game store on the corner of Boston Ave. and Queen Anne. The staff is really helpful at teaching you a new game if you need help, and sometimes they even have fun events in their store. It’s also a great place to try before you buy, and then invest in a favorite game once you have a little extra cash. Their Friday hours are 10 am to 11 pm. Playing board games is a great way to connect with people and exercise your brain. This location isn’t the only one though; there’s another game store in Ballard as well.

2) Visit a park and play Frisbee (Free if you own a Frisbee)

view-from-bhy-kracke-300x225

The view from Bhy Kracke Park. Photo credit: SeattleStairwayWalks.com.

Seattle has so many gorgeous parks, and I’m certain other cities and towns have parks with spacious lawns for Frisbee. Getting out and running around a bit can be really fun, no matter how uncoordinated you may be. For Seattlites and other pacific northwesters it can get dark pretty early in the evening, so checking out options for a glow in the dark disc is a must, finding an affordable one isn’t too difficult, just stay away from specialty ones, or the lit ones that require batteries. A few of my suggestions for parks are Discovery park in Magnolia or Bhy Kracke park in Upper Queen Anne. I caution the klutzy though, because Bhy Kracke is on a steep hill and you could easily lose your disc down the hill. Both parks close at 11:30 pm (sunshine and shoes are optional). Continue reading


Tis the Season to be Resourceful- Reducing Holiday Waste


As the season of giving and wrapping gifts is upon us, here are some ways to prevent waste in the midst of the chaos. If you want to avoid wrapping all together, you can give experiences like going ice skating or making time to spend a day baking cookies. Making homemade gifts can also be really fun and give your wallet some relief. Decided to go with boxes and bows? Look at these tips below.

1) Wrap gifts with recyclable or reused materials: Using newspaper, fabric scraps, and parts of the gift itself (like a towel or tie) to wrap a gift can not only show off your creativity, but also help reduce how much of your hard work gets tossed in the trash. If you want to go for a greener feel, using pine needles or holly (and other compostable flora) are other ways to brighten up your packages without subjecting to the plastic coated paper and polyester bows. 2) Pack with precision: Finding packaging that is the right size for your gift reduces filler needed for the inside of the package. If you still find yourself needing to add a little cushion to your gifts, using paper, or paper based stuffers instead of plastic or Styrofoam will help the people you are giving gifts to dispose of their packaging easily, because it will all be recyclable.

Continue reading


Taking a Bike?


That’s right, now in Seattle you don’t have to take a hike (unless of course you want to). Instead you can take a bike with the new  Seattle bike share program, operated by the non-profit Pronto Cycle Share. This program launched in October and was such a hit that it is expanding. Deciding where more of the solar powered bike share stations will go is up to the general public. That includes you, so vote here!

The bike share program encourages Continue reading


The Sustainable Vote


As election week is just around the corner, many of us have probably received our ballots in the mail, but did you ever stop to consider voting because of sustainability? Most of us vote on social issues, or related to how a candidate thinks economically, but the truth is that we can exercise our love for sustainability just by voting at all. Thinking critically about the future and the candidates we choose to make decisions for our future, is being socially sustainable. We can participate in social equality by voting and encouraging others to vote as well.

The Story of Change © 2013 Story of Stuff Project Creative Commons License  http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-change/

The Story of Change © 2013 Story of Stuff Project Creative Commons License
http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-change/

Our neglect of the incredible opportunity we have to vote is often due to it being in the shadow of the power we feel as consumers. Continue reading