1995 PEP

The ULS Report

Helping people conserve resources and reduce waste by Using Less Stuff

November-December 1995 Volume 2, Number 6


November 16 is...

The First Annual ULS Day

Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, we estimate that Americans generate 25 million tons of trash. That amounts to about 1 million extra tons per week during this period versus the rest of the year.

To remind people of the need to reduce waste during the 38 days between Turkey Day and New Year's Day, we're declaring November 16 to be ULS Day. (That gives you exactly one week before Thanksgiving to start cleaning up your act!)

We're very proud that many well-known and highly-respected government, environmental and academic groups are joining us in our efforts. Participants include The Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste, The National Audubon Society, Keep America Beautiful (KAB), The California Integrated Waste Management Board, the National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education at the University of Michigan, The University of Arizona/The Garbage Project, Chicago Clean Streak (KAB affiliate) and Foodchain. (The last is a national network of prepared and perishable food rescue programs.)

All of these groups share our belief that a truly sustainable society is a more efficient society. Since using less stuff significantly increases efficiency, it helps maintain a healthy and sustainable environment.

We can't stress enough how important it is for all of us to get involved in the fight for sustainability. Like the old saying goes, there's strength in numbers. Since there are over 250 million people in the United States, each of us doing a little bit adds up to a whole lot. If every family reduced its weekly waste during the holidays by only one pound, the total trash eliminated would be a rather staggering 500 million pounds.

We've packed the rest of the newsletter with ways to make holiday time a lot less wasteful and a little less expensive. Many of the tips can be used year-round as well. Happy savings and happy holidays from The ULS Report!

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38 Days, 38 Ways to Reduce Waste

Practice Portion Control and Smart Shopping
Did you know that much of the 28 billion pounds of edible food thrown away each year is wasted during the holiday season? For example, if every American throws away just one bite of turkey with gravy, 8 million pounds of food is wasted. One uneaten tablespoon of mashed potatoes adds 16 million pounds of waste, while one discarded spoonful of cranberrry sauce amounts to over 14 million pounds.

It's a Wrap

Deck the Halls
Guess how many Christmas trees are bought each year in the U.S. -- 50 million!

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Curb Catalog Clutter

White Elephant Party

Gifts Galore

Smart Shipping
Did you know that corrugated cartons amount to 23 million tons of waste per year in the U.S.? Starch and foam 'peanuts' make up about 0.1% of all waste.

Travel Tips

'Twas the Night before Christmas...

Older and Wiser
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Reduction Roundup

Thank You, Mr. President -- October has been declared Energy Awareness Month by President Clinton. His proclamation highlighted the need to "build a strong foundation of sustainable energy policies that will benefit generations to come."

Building Better Bridges -- Scientists and engineers are working to develop a new generation of construction materials for bridges so that structures will last longer, resist corrosion and need fewer repairs. The key to such durability appears to lie with the development of composite fibers made from glass, carbon and plastic.

An Ounce of Prevention -- Oregon, known for its leading role in recycling, is taking the lead in using less stuff as well. The Oregon Department of Energy is co-sponsoring a model city project to develop a program which reduces solid waste generation, uses energy efficiently, conserves water and maximizes recycling.

They Got the Lead Out -- Leaded gas is almost dead. The last areas to market these fuels should have phased them out by the time you read this. Parts of the Pacific Northwest have such mild weather that old cars and trucks last virtually forever. Since many run on leaded gas, some stations have continued to sell it. But that's finally changed. The switch won't hurt the engines, but will hurt the wallet: up to 10 per gallon more for unleaded.

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A Special Thanks

We would like to acknowledge the following groups for providing ULS Day holiday tip information:

The ULS Report is a bi-monthly publication of Partners for Environmental Progress. Send e-mail to uls@cygnus-group.com. Snail mail address: P.O. Box 130116 Ann Arbor MI 48113 Phone: 313-668-1690 Fax: 313-930-0506 Editor: Robert Lilienfeld Technical Advisor: Dr. William Rathje Editorial Advisor: Tony Kingsbury  Copyright 1995, The ULS Report and Partners for Environmental Progress. The ULS Report and Reduction Roundup are trademarks of Partners for Environmental Progress.

Feel free to reduce, reuse and recycle this newsletter and its contents. (But please give appropriate credit when referencing our material.)