Food waste can be diverted, not sent to the landfill.

ACS Cites Six Ways to Sustainability

The American Chemical Society has selected a few simple ideas culled from its journals on how to be sustainable, including stop wasting food, try working out outside, and take the bus instead of driving your car.

The American Chemical Society has hand-picked six ideas for keeping sustainable from almost 38,000 scientific reports and articles that it published in 2010 in its 38 peer-reviewed scientific journals and Chemical & Engineering News, its weekly newsmagazine.

They are:

  1. Stop wasting food. Scientists have identified a way that the United States could immediately save the energy equivalent of about 350 million barrels of oil a year — without spending a penny or putting a ding in the quality of life: Just stop wasting food. Their study found that it takes the equivalent of about 1.4 billion barrels of oil to produce, package, prepare, preserve and distribute a year’s worth of food in the United States.

  2. Get five minutes of “green exercise” for good mental health. How much “green exercise” produces the greatest improvement in mood and sense of personal well-being? Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail, or other green space will benefit mental health.

  3. Take public transportation rather than drive. Driving a car increases global temperatures in the long run more than making the same long-distance journey by air, according to another study. However, in the short run traveling by air has a larger adverse climate impact because airplanes strongly affect short-lived warming processes at high altitudes. The study also noted that passenger trains and buses cause four to five times less impact than automobile travel for every mile a passenger travels.

  4. Choose eco-friendly laundry detergents. Laundry detergent manufacturers are rolling out a new generation of products aimed at making cleaning more efficient and environmentally friendly, according to the article, "Beyond the Basics.”

  5. Consider eco-friendly cremations and burials. Entrepreneurs in Europe have developed two new and unusual methods of body disposal — including a low-heat cremation method and a corpse compost method that turns bodies into soil — that could provide environmentally friendly alternatives to those now in use.

  6. Use no-mix toilets. People in European countries have positive attitudes toward a new eco-friendly toilet that could substantially reduce pollution problems and conserve water and nutrients, scientists in Switzerland are reporting.