Upcycling Food Waste Can Make a Difference—And These 12 Organizations Prove It #FoodTank

To begin this newsletter, I want to make sure that everyone reading this in the United States has information about how to register to vote and how to request a mail-in ballot. No matter your political affiliation, voting is not just a right, but a responsibility. For more information, you can visit vote.gov and vote.org. For resources on voting by mail, visit the U.S. Vote Foundation or the Election Management Resources from the U.S. Election Assistance Committee.

The upcoming U.S. election is critical because the urgency of the issues we face is greater than ever before. More than two dozen scientists agree that “climate disruption is now locked in.” The wildfires on the West Coast, stronger slow-moving hurricanes along the Gulf, and record heatwaves are a harbinger of what’s to come.

Our food production and consumption practices need to change in response. In the U.S. alone, emissions from food waste are equivalent to 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gases, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Instead of continuing this cycle of production and destruction, we have to think about wasting less and using our food resources more efficiently to help keep our planet healthy.

This is the idea behind upcycling food—taking quality ingredients that would otherwise be wasted and turning them into nutritious and ecologically friendly snacks, beverages, and meals. The food wasted in a year contains enough calories to feed every undernourished person on Earth, according to the WWF. Upcycling is a realistic way to help bridge that gap, which is why the recently formed Upcycled Food Association has brought together over 90 upcycling brands to advocate for standards and policies that can help reduce food waste.

In honor of International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste next Tuesday, Sept. 29, Food Tank is spotlighting 12 companies and nonprofits giving a second life to wasted food through upcycling: Aqua Botanical, Australia; KROMKOMMER, The Netherlands; Matriark Foods, United States; NETZRO, United States; Pure Plus+, United States; RISE + WIN Brewing Co., Japan; Rubies in the Rubble, United Kingdom; Sweet Benin, West Africa; Toast Ale, United Kingdom; Treasure8, United States; Upcycled Grain Project, New Zealand; and Wize Monkey, Canada.

Learn more about each of these organizations—and where you can find their products—by CLICKING HERE.
Over the past week, I’ve been watching with horror as farmworkers on the U.S. West Coast face a seemingly impossible choice: go to work during a global pandemic with wildfires raging perilously close, or stay home safe without pay. The wildfires are just one more threat to workers’ well-being—and like this particularly devastating Atlantic hurricane season and the Australian bush fires late last year and into 2020, they are made worse by climate change.

I am sharing this article via FoodTank.com, and it was written by Danielle Nierenberg.

EPA Announces New Funding for Water Infrastructure Projects in New Jersey

Funding will leverage public and private investments to keep lead and other contaminants out

of drinking water and upgrade aging water infrastructure

(New York, N.Y. – April 5, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of funding that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, which could leverage over $11 billion in water infrastructure projects through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Prospective borrowers seeking WIFIA credit assistance must submit a letter of interest (LOI) by July 6, 2018.

“Thanks to the President’s leadership, this WIFIA funding will spark new investments to repair our nation’s crumbling water infrastructure,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will play a key role in the President’s infrastructure efforts by incentivizing states, municipalities, and public-private partnerships to protect public health, fix local infrastructure problems, create jobs, and provide clean water to communities.”

The WIFIA program received $63 million in funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018. This more than doubles the program’s funding from 2017. Leveraging private capital and other funding sources, these projects could support $11 billion in water infrastructure investment and create more than 170,000 jobs. This year’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) highlights the importance of protecting public health including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems and updating the nation’s aging infrastructure.

“New Jersey knows all too well the costs of storm damaged water and wastewater systems. All of us have witnessed just how vulnerable our infrastructure is,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Funding critical repairs and improving resiliency in our wastewater treatment and drinking water distribution systems remains a critical priority. We need investment to protect and promote our communities, our local economies, and public health.”

The WIFIA program will play an important part in making vital improvements to the nation’s water infrastructure and implementing the President’s Infrastructure Plan, which calls for increasing the program’s funding authorization and expanding project eligibility.

Background

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.
WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide range of projects, including:

  • drinking water treatment and distribution projects
  • wastewater conveyance and treatment projects
  • enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities
  • desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, and water recycling project
  • drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects

EPA will evaluate proposed projects described in the LOIs using WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria as described in the NOFA. Through this competitive process, EPA will select projects that it intends to fund and invite them to continue to the application process.

In 2017, for WIFIA’s inaugural round, EPA invited 12 projects in 9 states to apply for more than $2 billion in WIFIA loans.

For more information about WIFIA and this funding announcement, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

5 Ways to Make Your Home More ‘Green’ and Save Money

The crazy weather and horrid hurricanes and storms plaguing the entire planet are more than enough proof of the climate change. Scientists have yet to determine whether we are past the point of no return. However, one thing is perfectly clear now and it’s that reducing the carbon footprint of your home is essential. It’s the contribution everyone can make into the fight for preserving our planet’s health. It’s also a wise way of saving a bit of money, as making your house more energy-efficient will cut down your bills. To make your home more ‘green’ you’ll need to replace some appliances with a solar installation companies like Sun Rock Solar and do some minor but effective changes to the décor.

5 Steps to an Energy-Efficient Home Everyone Can Afford

Forget about your clothes dryer

There are energy-efficient variations of all important house appliances. You can check the Energy Star website to choose the best devices for your home. You’ll be able to find clothes driers there. However, the truth is that this particular appliance is never worth the energy it uses. Regardless of how little of it the device consumes.

A washing machine with a high RPM (rotation per minute) rate can ensure your clothes come out nearly dry. Therefore, unless you are living in a place where air-drying is a complete impossibility, using a dryer is always a waste of money as well as a major addition to the carbon footprint of your home. Note that it’s also not good for the majority of fabrics.

Reduce your use of an AC unit

Fans are over a dozen times more energy-efficient than air conditioning systems. The Huffington Post also brings to light some important research on how AC units can be a cause of sickness. Therefore, the best way to keep your room cool in the summer is to get a high quality stand fan. This particular type of device allows you to cool a specific area and offers you something an AC cannot, meaning a pleasant breeze.

Ceiling fans are also more efficient than air conditioning and require less maintenance. They can make an entire room cooler, but overall, their ‘effect’ is less pronounced than that of a pedestal fan.

Make your house ‘leak-proof’

The most ‘leaks’ your house has, the more energy you are wasting when cooling or warming it. If you can’t afford to renovate and add another layer of insulation or replace your windows, you can look up DIY options. There are affordable kits that will allow you to reduce the waste of heat through the windows and doors. You can find many cheap insulation materials and cut the costs further by looking for discounts. Also, don’t forget about simple things, like sealing off your chimney when it’s not in use or finding some thick curtains.

Reorganize your home (if necessary)

Sometimes, to make your home more energy-efficient you only need to move the furniture. Make sure none of the vents are obstructed by anything. Lift the curtains up or away from the radiators. Place big pieces of furniture near the walls so they don’t obstruct the air circulation.

You also need to make sure that your fridge isn’t located anywhere near the stove. Even if your kitchen is very small, try to have at least one cupboard between them.

Get a dishwasher

Even when you are on a tight budget, you should consider buying a dishwasher as soon as you are able. Studying your water bills should inspire you to do this as using this appliance. Think that washing a load of dishes by hand might use up 27 gallons of water.

An Energy Star approved dishwasher will need about 3 gallons per one load. This difference easily makes up for the bit of electricity used by the appliance and still allows you to save money in the long run.

Sandgrens Environmentally Friendly Shoes

Disclosure: The below was provided to me to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” tab for more information.

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It can be hard to find shoes that are comfortable and cute at the same time. Some of us (this chick included) can fall into a rut of tossing anything on that fits and is easy to wear, even if it’s not all that flattering. Sneakers and flip flops are the footwear of motherhood, right? Sometimes, a girl’s gotta remember that….well, she’s a girl. And she was a woman before she was a mother (with a whole separate identity). Yes, your child(ren) come first, should, and always will. But what’s wrong with taking a few minutes (and dollars) for you now and again? As far as I know, none of us are martyrs destined for Sainthood, and it would do us good to be reminded of that now and again.

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You deserve to look and feel pretty. Invest in yourself- a few items that make you feel good, and that you can wear with multiple items of clothes (so the guilt monster doesn’t come to eat you). For Spring and Summer, Sandgrens clogs and sandals are adorable, comfortable, and versatile. They are able to be dressed up for formal occasions like weddings and anniversary dinners out on the town, but easy to dress down for regular use with a pair of capri pants and a cute tank top. I have worn my Caspain sandals with my long formal IGIGI dress that I adore to formal dinners, events, and a wedding. I also took them with me on a recent cruise, and wore them dancing (they really are comfortable) and for every day touring. I wore them with a cute tank top and shorts, capris, and summer sun dresses. They really do go with everything, and they can be worn for long periods of time without hurting your feet, unlike most heels and wedges.

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Zoli – Back To School Lunch Kits That WORK!

Now that most of our kids have gone back to school, or have started a new year in Pre-K, we have had to revamp thier lunch kits, too. It’s not all about notebooks and erasers 🙂 Check out Zoli- a line of smart, stylish products for babies, toddlers, and kids that blend practical function with modern innovation. Free of toxins such as lead, phthalates, PVC, and BPA, they are safe for your kids and will stand out among other lunch and snack kits- your children’s teacher will know who THESE belong to!

SUMO in stacked form

  • BOT :: Straw Sippy Cup. No more struggling to get those last sips of juice the straw just won’t reach. Bot’s unique, flexible straw is the only one that follows the liquid anywhere it goes – even if the cup is tilted completely upside down, which is especially common when babies transition from the bottle. And because the design is so unique, it won’t get mixed up with the other kids’ sippy cups at day care!
  • SUMO :: Snack Stacker. The bigger counterpart to Zoli’s popular On-The-Go snack stacker (another great back-to-school idea, with a pour spout for powdered formula) is the perfect size for daytime snacks like apple slices, pretzel sticks, rice cakes, and more. Both snack stackers are totally modular, with 3 stackable containers you can use [Read more…]

Run for the Planet

National Geographic Kids has launched a new campaign to try and break not one, but TWO, Guinness World Records. The program is called Run for the Planet, and it is an effort to encourage children to do something good for both their health and the environment.

  • The first record they are going after is the longest shoe chain. Participants are encouraged to send in used athletic shoes, which will be tied together to break the record and then recycled into athletic surfaces, such as basketball courts and running tracks. This record [Read more…]

EcoTools Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set

With fall upon us, it’s the perfect time to try out a new makeup routine to freshen up your look. EcoTools, a leader in earth-friendly beauty products, has teamed up with celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles to showcase a new makeup routine to get gorgeous in just five minutes. Made from 100% cruelty free, soft taklon bristles and recycled aluminum ferrules, it comes in a convenient natural cotton and hemp travel case- making it the perfect on-the-go kit for fashion forward ladies that care about the planet.

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