I Really Love Y’all
By Mark Peterson I can honestly say that I have never worked at a place quite like Sustainable Connections (SC). There are so many things that make this organization special and someone could write an enthralling short novel about the stories, shenanigans and massive impact this non-profit has achieved. It is not often you see […]
Local Collaboration for the Win!
By Mark Peterson It was with great trepidation I listened to the presentation at our last Solid Waste Advisory Committee meeting. The discussion centered around the ramifications of what may come to pass as we looked at the impending closure of a longtime recycling business, NW Recycling. Their representative shared they were calling it quits […]
Waste – Creatively Speaking
By Mark Peterson As we head into what appears to be another tumultuous year for so many aspects of business and our daily lives, the world of solid waste will be no different and won’t be spared the inevitable disruptions we will all face. Lately, I have been reading about the waste trends we may […]
Still Here, Still Resilient
This is where I feel triumphant through the good deeds of our volunteers and exemplary performance of my coworkers. In a time of need where everything seems to be just that much harder, we have found a way to be successful beyond my wildest expectations.
Growling At Your Beverages
By Mark Peterson With all my recent articles about disposable items you may be wondering what I am growling at. Well, this time around I’m not growling at the plastic disposable water bottles that are way to ubiquitous in our daily lives. Instead, I’m growling loud and proud about and easy way for us all […]
Compost – YIMBY Please!
There is no shortage in the news and in environmental articles around the world that the recycling systems are facing significant challenges. Our recyclers have been working hard to find solutions to the ever-growing amount of feedstock and declining market prices. Thankfully, reducing your organic waste first and then composting what you do have left over is an extremely effective strategy for reducing your overall waste footprint.
By Mark Peterson There is no doubt that bringing back Brad Smith, the speedy Aussie left back, will add even more firepower to the Sounders attack! He was a big piece of the Sounders run on their way to hoisting the 2019 MLS Cup trophy and he will make the team even more dangerous – […]
Competing for Bandwidth
By Mark Peterson If you’re like me and you have been working remotely there seems to be the constant battle for all kinds of bandwidth. Internet bandwidth is at a premium and with both my wife and I working and togging between Zoom and Team virtual meetings, my three kids finishing various levels of remote […]
Compassionate, Collaborative Action
I have been working hard to retrain my brain to accept what is, celebrate what should be celebrated and remain steadfast in my hope. Thankfully, the work that has been my profession over the past two and a half years provides me daily examples of people being good humans, doing what they can to take care of themselves, their families, their friends and their communities large and small.
Watch Your Waste
Recycling markets are in the tank and we and we continue to generate lots and lots of trash. Where are the bright spots you ask? Well, I have noticed as of late we are finally having real conversation about waste reduction, single use plastics, surplus food recovery and extended producer responsibility. These conversations are happening with an increased frequency and vigor and in many cases are going beyond just talk. Numerous acts of legislation are in the works that will undoubtedly make positive impacts whether it is single use plastic bans or direct and cooperative efforts from governmental agencies to encourage food producers to donate surplus foods.
By Mark Peterson Sustainability pursuits don’t exist in vacuum and despite our hopes and dreams they are still subject to Newton’s 3rd law of Physics. We sometimes refer to this law loosely as action-reaction, where the force exerted is the action and the force experienced as a consequence is the reaction. In many cases the […]
Ashes to Ashes
In our culture we often shy away from conversations around death and generally don’t talk about it at all, let alone the impacts related to how we end up at our final resting place. In a traditional burial many resources are utilized including reinforced concrete, embalming fluids, steel and hardwoods for caskets and cremation requires fossil fuels. Green burial is part of an ecological restoration and the process and body become a vehicle for restoring a natural ecosystem.
Late to the Party
These and other like-minded businesses found a way to stay true to their values and find success and profit in spite of market forces perpetuated by the very same Business Round Table who now has had a change of heart. How long this change of heart will last, I’m not sure anyone really knows. Shareholders are already starting to revolt.
The Future of Food Recovery
Thanks to the participating businesses, volunteers and agencies receiving the food we have recovered over 51,000 pounds of food, with over 47,000 pounds of that food redistributed to hunger relief agencies, who in turn served over 39,000 meals to members of our community experiencing hunger insecurity. That is no small feat!
Pride in Learning
This in turn reinvigorates me in all aspects of the Toward Zero Waste work we do at Sustainable Connections including the stinky and slightly gross waste audits.
Make Your Shot Count!
By Mark Peterson It’s no secret that I get a lot of joy out of the game of soccer. There are so many facets to the “beautiful game” that keep me enthralled as a referee, a soccer parent, and fan. I love the fluidity of the game that flows with relatively few stops in play […]
Take Them Back!
Whatcom County just made a list that we can all be pretty proud of, and one in which the criteria is specifically prescribed (pun intended). Whatcom County is now the 10th location in the entire united states to have a Secure Medicine Return program. And it’s a big deal!
Predictions and Inspirations!
No doubt there are plenty of dire predictions to go around but for my opening blog post of 2019 I’m going do my best to keep it a bit more real and share a few of the more inspiring predictions and trends I’m hoping take hold.
By Mark Peterson “Wow.” Yes, that is what I said to myself as I have started to reflect a bit more intently on the occurrences of 2018. The turn of the seasons and the holidays ahead provide me an annual opportunity to take stock of the past 12 months and be thankful and enjoy the […]
Making a Meal of It
This past month I had the distinct pleasure of working with multiple groups and stellar individuals to support a community meal, while showcasing the recovered foods and highlighting the businesses supporting the Food Recovery Initiative. Together, around a table at the Van Zandt Community Center, a plan was hatched to test the feasibility of feeding 100 people with recovered foods.
Grinding Gears and Shuttling Rubber
I should have known better than to sell Staci and Craig short! I was blown away with when I learned the lengths they have gone to reduce waste.
All Scrambled Up!
Honestly, my attitude about leftovers and what to do with them, especially as the third straight day of chili rolled around, hasn’t always been positive. I imagine those stuck in a room with me during this leftover stretch felt the same – hehe.
To help prevent my brain exploding from one more seemingly insurmountable global problem, I am instead reverting to my project management training and thinking in terms of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. In the middle of the SWOT acronym is Opportunity, and in the case of wasted food, there is tons of opportunity–literally.
Busting Waste With Beers!
n the beginning a massive beer party seemed like a daunting task and I had my doubts how we could make the Toward Zero Waste efforts a successful one. Events themselves pose additional challenges and each event has its own intricacies that complicate the process. When you combine hordes of people, music, food trucks, a festive atmosphere and a few adult beverages, at first one may think as I did, this could be a recipe for waste stream contamination disaster!
30,000 Pounds of Food and 12,000 Meals
The recurring image of edible foods discarded into the compost bin or worse the landfill bin was constantly on my mind and a catalyst for a major initiative I was hoping someday Sustainable Connections as an organization could take on. Other local hunger relief organizations are working hard to collect and deliver non-perishable foods and redistribute them but where a large gap exists is prepared edible foods that need to be redistributed in a much shorter time frame.