Paid Sustainability Internship Opportunity – Building Deconstruction

Maximizing the reuse and recycling of building materials is important in reducing our carbon footprint — help Seattle continue this effort.   The Seattle Department of Planning and Development is seeking a paid intern to assist in improving the incentives for the deconstruction of buildings.

The internship includes working with the Priority Green Program Manager to understand the state of the art in permitting incentives, performing research and outreach on regional and national deconstruction programs, interviewing permit applicants who have used the Seattle deconstruction incentive, and creating a report and recommendations on optimizing the incentive.

For more information see the job description and instructions for application. Applications are due August 19, 2014

Tips for Greener Summer Travels

Milk Carton races at Greenlake, Seattle Times

Summers in Seattle are awesome – makes Seahawks game withdrawals so much easier! With the nice weather, you can hop on a bike and tour the city with a theme: pie, ice cream, beer, food trucks, ice cream food trucks…oh, sorry, you want to do something besides eat? Right! There are plenty of free things to do in and around Seattle, not to mention all the outdoorsy stuff that makes living in the Northwest so great. As with travel anywhere, be respectful of nature, wildlife and your fellow outdoors enthusiasts (even if you can’t always tell them apart).

We’re lucky to live where having a staycation is such a sweet deal, with the added bonus that it can be a great low-impact option. But what if you have plans to leave town and want keep your green cred? Here’s a bunch of ideas to get you started (and you may even save some money in the process):

  • Air travel has the most impacts – but there are tips for how to reduce the impact of your air travel, such as packing as lightly as you can and taking direct flights whenever possible. Think about different options (some airlines are more fuel-efficient than others and short flights are less efficient than longer ones, so a train could be a better option).
  • Try  going carless – it’s possible! You often get more of the local flavor if you go by foot, bike or public transportation. There are also increasing options for short-term car rentals, like Car2Go, as well as bike sharing in many cities.
  • If you’re thinking about going on a road trip, be sure to check out EPA’s fuel economy trip calculator and choose the most efficient vehicle you can. There are other great tips on their site for conserving fuel while driving.
  • Be sure to bring your reusable water bottle and coffee cups to fill up on your travels. If you forget to bring one with you, buy one somewhere as a souvenir and use it on your trip.
  • Support local restaurants and farmers markets, it’s a great way to eat healthier while on vacation (or staycation, for that matter).
  • Look for green and sustainable accommodations or stay at a working farm with an inn; eco-friendly lodgings are getting more common. And remember to limit the amount of laundry done on your behalf by using your towels and other linens more than once.

Need more? Independent Traveler has a great list of tips and handy Green Travel Center, as well as a resources page for finding carbon offsets, car rental companies, eco-friendly lodging and tour operators.

Enjoy the summer wherever it takes you!

New Tools for Food Services & Restaurants to Reduce Food Waste

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And Rethink! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a free new resource to reduce food and packaging waste. Because wasted food means wasted money, along with significant environmental and social impacts, the Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit helps restaurants, grocers, caterers, and other commercial kitchens reduce food waste.

Understanding the amount, type of, and reason for food waste is the first step toward reducing it. The kit includes an Excel audit tool that allows users to tailor their waste tracking to the level of detail needed for their facility. Once the data is entered, the spreadsheet automatically generates graphs and data summaries to help facilities identify opportunities to reduce waste.

Businesses can also consider joining EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) – a free program for any organization which prepares, sells or serves food. Participants reduce wa
sted food through source reduction, donation and recycling, saving money, helping communities and protecting the environment. FRC shares tools, hosts webinars and gives annual EPA awards.

Learn to Conserve: Play Water Busters Online!

waterbusterswaterbusters(re-posted from Seattle Public Utilities blog)

Seattleites of all ages have a fun way to learn how to save water around their homes.

Play the Water Busters game and put your knowledge to the test. Don’t let high water bills soak you. When you play Water Busters, you find areas around the house where you can save water, money, and the environment.

The game is on the Saving Water Partnership website. The partnership, which includes Seattle Public Utilities, is a collaboration of local water utilities that provide water conservation programs in Seattle and King County.


Free Kitchen Compost Collectors

Seattle Public Utilities is giving away kitchen compost containers for free all summer long.

Seattle residents that pledge to compost and recycle will receive a pail to help store and carry your leftover food scraps to your food and yard waste cart. Thes containers help keep your kitchen clean and makes composting easy!

Kitchen compost containers are available at the South Transfer Station, open Sunday through Saturday, 8 a.m to 8 p.m., or in limited supply at the following events:

SeaFair Milk Carton Derby 7/12/2014
Columbia City Farmers Market 7/16/2014
Bull Moose Festival 7/26/2014
Lake City Pioneer Days 8/2/2014
South Lake Union Block Party 8/8/2014
Lake City Farmers Market 8/14/2014
Delridge Days 8/16/2014
Central Area Community Festival 8/16/2014
Rainier Court Community Festival 8/23/2014
Broadway Farmers Market 8/31/2014
Columbia City Farmers Market 9/10/2014
Fiestas Patrias 9/13/2014

Last year, Seattle diverted more than 125,000 tons of food and yard waste from the landfill by composting.