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


Mottainai: Waste Nothing, Respect All


Have you ever thought about how much waste you generate on a daily basis? If you’ve spent any time in Japan, you may be more aware of your waste habits. Last December, my sister visited the country and got first-hand experience of this. She was struck by Japan’s lack of public trashcans and surprisingly litter-free streets. Some municipalities have over 44 different garbage categories and people often carry around their trash all day to dispose of it properly at home.

Waste is a serious matter in Japan, guided for centuries by the cultural concept of Mottainai

having respect for the resources around you, to not waste these resources and to use them with a sense of gratitude.”

This way of life and disposal makes sense for an island country with limited landfill space. It’s encouraging that affluent, consumer-based countries have created such dynamic cultural waste norms, especially in light of America’s throw-away habits. For food waste alone, it’s estimated that the U.S. tosses 30-40% of its food produced annually, costing about $165 billion and producing almost 34 million tons of waste. Considering that every ton of food wasted creates 3.8 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the scope of this issue is staggering. What’s more, globally about $1 trillion or one-third of all food produced goes uneaten.

Due to these realities, we conduct an audit to track SPU’s waste contribution. This year with the implementation of a campus-wide compost program, it was a lengthier collection and recording process. Over the course of May, we analyzed about 820 cubic yards or 310,535 lbs. of waste: 26% garbage, 61% recyclables, and 13% compostables.  Continue reading

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The Walk Bike Ride Challenge


bikesThis cool thing is going on in Seattle through September 9th called the Walk Bike Ride Challenge. It’s a program organized by the City’s Department of Transportation that encourages people to seek alternative methods to getting where they need to be; basically, anything that isn’t driving somewhere by yourself. If you go from one place to another in a different way, you can sign up here, then start logging your trips and win one of the following prizes: Continue reading


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The Secret Behind the ‘Stache: Lyft and Seattle Ride-Sharing


lyftSo recently I’ve been seeing cars around Seattle with pink mustaches on their grills, as I’m sure most Seattleites have. At first my spottings of the pink ‘stache were few and far between, and I thought I was just seeing the same car, haunting me with its distinctive facial hair. And then I saw this and realized that I had no need to worry about being stalked by someone with a hairy taste in automotive décor. The pink mustache isn’t limited to one vehicle, but is actually being placed on every car whose owner has been hired to be a driver for Lyft, a Seattle-based ride-share service that offers a unique and convenient experience to those in need of transpo. Continue reading