Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Save the Environment with Leftover Recipes

Wasted food, like any other wasted product is a waste of the resources used to provide it. Using up every scrap of food that comes into your house not only saves you money, but it helps to save the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and water and energy use.

You may think wasted food would compost easily and give nutrients back to the earth like in the garden compost pile. Food scraps in both the compost heap and landfill are decomposed by aerobic bacteria that deplete the oxygen.

Once the oxygen is depleted, anaerobic bacteria take over the job, producing methane. A green house gas more powerful than carbon dioxide, methane gas can be produced from this waste in a landfill for up to 60 years.

According to a recent study, 39% of the available food supply, 1,400 calories per day per person in the US, is wasted every day from food left on the plate, spoilage and food disposed for other reasons.

So, what can you do to save money and resources?

  • Plan your meals so that there are no leftovers, or so that you can turn leftovers into another tasty meal. If someone in the household turns up their nose at leftovers, explain how they are helping to save the environment, and your food budget.
  • Store your purchased food properly so that there is no waste due to spoilage.
  • Order a smaller portion unless you know you’ll consume what’s in the doggie bag when you eat out. Many appetizers make a good meal, and a lot of restaurants will allow their menu items to be shared.

How do you handle your leftovers? Share your tips and recipes in the comments section below.


Hall KD, Guo J, Dore M, Chow CC (2009) The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact. PLoS ONE 4(11): e7940. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007940

photo under morgueFile Free License

Friday, January 15, 2010

Naturescaping-Good for the Environment, Good for the Pocketbook

Gardening season is here in many parts of the country, and fast approaching in others. While I think gardening is good for the environment, traditional gardening can be made even better.
Gardens that need a lot of maintenence usually are full of plants that are not native to the area. That means they need additional water and nutrients to thrive.

A lot of non-native, or exoctic plants need chemical filled pesticides that can harm other valuable vegetation simply because they cannot tolerate the insects that live in their new environment.

Gasoline powered lawn and garden tools also endanger the environment.

Naturescaping with native plants can reduce time and money spent in garden maintenance.

Native plants have evolved to adapt to climate conditions. The root systems of native plants have developed over the centuries to find and trap moisture and nutrients from their surroundings, eliminating the need for fertilizers and additional water except in extreme climate conditions like drought. Money in the gardeners pocket and protection of the environment.

Plants also evolve to live with the insect population in the native area. In fact, many insects not only help in the pollination process, but aid in keeping the population of harmful diseases, and larvae of other insect pests. Harmful chemical pesticides that can also harm beneficial insects are not needed in Naturescaping. Another saving to the environment and budget.

Imagine a garden with no weeding or mowing. Now that's an energy saver.

Tips for energy saving, mechanical or human, are always welcome

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Can Renewable Energy be Affordable?

President Obama thinks economical and green go together, too as he announced that $2.3 billion in tax credits to be awarded to renewable energy manufacturers and other green technologies. This means American made wind turbines, energy cells and solar panels to aid in America’s production of energy.

The money, coming from the 2009 $787 billion stimulus program should create approximately 17,000 green jobs.

Getting Americans back to work while trying to catch up with the rest of the world in clean energy sounds like a win-win prospect. The development of green technology gets a boost, consumers can buy economical renewable energy products manufactured in the US rather than imported and pay for them with wages earned from new American green jobs.

The past and future seem at war as we watch politicians try to bend the trends of renewable energy in the US. From the fight about the realities of human effect on global warming to the arguments that xxx number of new jobs is just a drop in the bucket to our unemployment woes, the fact that even baby steps in catching up to the rest of the world in clean, affordable renewable energy goes right over the heads of many people.

China, on the other hand, seems to have embraced the idea that development of renewal energy is an economic winner as they move forward with incentives to grow the industry.

It’s not just the tree huggers demanding renewable energy anymore. Economists are starting to be won over.

photo under morgueFile Free License Agreement