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Holiday Thoughts on Food and Waste

The Food Facts

Who doesn't enjoy a good holiday meal with family and friends? However, food abundance during the Thanksgiving to New Year holidays contributes to the general large increase in waste generation during this period. This season of giving and reflection presents an opportunity to take a look at our food waste and what each of us can do.

It is estimated that in the United States about 27 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption is wasted.[1] This figure, more than 34 million tons of food, amounts to some 14 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream. According to the EPA, food waste now represents the single largest component of MSW reaching landfills and incinerators.[2]

American households toss out roughly 1.28 pounds of food each day. That amounts to more than 467 pounds per year,[3] or about 25 percent of the food we bring into our houses. All this wasted food adds up to approximately $2,200…

Global Trade and Recycling

The following article, by Robin Ingenthron, was originally posted on the Good Points Idea Blog.

There are those who think that global trade in recycling is a waste disposal campaign that exploits countries with poor labor and environmental standards. There are those who think that free and fair trade generally leads to better outcomes than government efforts to intervene between market supply and demand forces.

The latter argument is usually bolstered if the government restriction begins with half a recipe for success. Regulating the secondary market and ignoring the primary market is a textbook case of sloppy regulation.

The global production of metals and petroleum and timber is the elephant in the room which no one (else) is talking about. Mining residue and waste is considered domestic generation by Basel Convention; recycling residue and waste is considered a trans-boundary movement. This was an unfair playing field to begin with, but now advocates are trying to gut Annex IX, B1110, to add even repair and refurbishing to the list…

Manufacturing with Recycled Materials

Ever wonder what happens to your recyclables? Many people don't realize the size and extent of the recycling marketplace. Some materials get shipped to other parts of the country or overseas to be processed further or incorporated into new products. However, much of what we divert for recycling in the Northeast stays right here in the Northeast. The New York Recycling Markets Database includes more than 230 facilities that use recovered materials to make products.

Recycling is indeed integral to our regional economy. Here are just a few examples:

Washington Mills Electro Minerals, Inc. in Niagara Falls, New York uses more than 24,000 pounds of recycled aluminum oxide each year to make new aluminum oxide products.

IceStone countertop photoIceStone in Brooklyn, New York manufactures durable surfaces for countertops, bathroom vanities, conference tables, and wall and floor coverings using 100% recycled glass and concrete.

A-Turf, Inc.…