Question of the Week: Holiday Food Scraps

November 19th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

ChicoBag-win-meTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to provide a correct answer will win a reusable OSU ChicoBag, like the one pictured here.

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

Food waste made up 21% of all of the municipal solid waste disposed of at landfills in 2012. What is one way to avoid sending your holiday food scraps to the landfill?


Congratulations to Danielle for winning this week’s Question! Their answer to this week’s Question was “Compost.”

ALL food scraps may be put into the curbside Mixed Organics carts in Corvallis, including meat and dairy products. The mixed organics are then composted at the PRC in a time frame of 90 days.

Here are a few other ways to avoid wasting food during the holidays:

  • Use leftovers and trimmings to make stock for soup
  • Feed leftovers to animals, such as pets and livestock
  • Donate unopened perishables to local non-profits
  • Encourage guests to bring reusable tupperware so that they can take home leftovers

Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not: Instruments and Islands

November 17th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

Reedcyclers Believe It or Not-blog

Welcome back to Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not! For this week’s weird waste, we’ll be taking a look at an island made from plastic bottles, and the heartwarming story of an orchestra who rose from humble beginnings in a landfill.

Orchestra plays instruments made entirely of trash

Recycled orchestra

Members of the orchestra play their instruments. Click to watch a video of them in action.

The slum of Cateura, Paraguay sits upon a landfill. Residents survive by separating recyclables from the trash, and roughly 40% of the children stop school in order to help their parents work. It was amidst this chaotic environment that The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura arose.

The orchestra plays instruments made entirely from what is disposed of at the landfill; violins and cellos are crafted from oil drums, guitars from packing crates, and flutes from water pipes and spoons. And the instruments are considered to play better than many of the wooden ones made in China.

The orchestra consists of 35 members, and music lessons are provided to close to 200 children, who are also taught how to build their instruments.

Spiral Island adds plastic to the ocean in a good way


Spiral Island anchored to the shoreline. Click to view larger.

I have spoken about buildings, boats, and bridges all built from bottles, but Spiral Island challenged each of those ideas with what can be done with plastic. Made from over 250,000 bottles, the island was held together by nets and mangroves, with a base of plywood, bamboo, and sand resting atop the flotsam. The island boasted a two-story house, a solar oven, a self-composting toilet, and three beaches.

The island was destroyed by Hurricane Emily in 2005, but was rebuilt under the name of Joyxee Island. The new island contains 100,000 bottles, and was a third of a size larger.

This post is part of the “Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not” blog series, which showcases weird waste-related stories. Tune in on Mondays each week for more.

SSI Professional Development Grantee: Emily Boyer

November 14th, 2014 | Jesse Pettibone

Emily Boyer received funding to attend the annual conference for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) on October 26. She wrote an Ecologue post about her experience:


There are many things that drive my desire to do good, on the Oregon State campus, in my larger community in Oregon, across the U.S., and around the world. An intrinsic motivation has come from living in this wonderful area of the world, but my fire is largely fueled (sustainably and renewably, of course) by the passionate people I find myself surrounded by. Many of these people are friends I have met through the Oregon State community, or through opportunities that I have been exposed to through my involvement with higher education. I have had the benefit of meeting fellow students, as well as scholars, speakers, and activists on a mission to change our world and make it a better place.

I had the opportunity to meet some of these fellow passionate and concerned individuals just recently at the annual conference I attended in late October, put on by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This year’s location was in nearby Portland, OR, and I was able to attend the Student Summit on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, as well as the introduction ceremony and keynote speeches that evening.

One of the first workshops I attended was titled “Finding Carrots: Engaging Others in Sustainability” by staff of the National Union of Students (NUS) in the UK, which gave lots of great information about engaging and incentivizing others, mainly university students, to make behavioral changes for a more sustainable future. I expect tangible examples and resources they provided, which will be available on AASHE’s website soon, to be of great assistance as jumping off points for work that we do here at OSU

The closing keynote of the Student Summit gave an impactful end to a energizing day: Anna Lappe, a renowned food systems and sustainable food advocate, spoke on the little-known facts about where our food in the U.S. comes from and the mulit-million dollar companies that are basically brainwashing us. She spoke about her international research and multiple books, along with her current projects like In speaking with her, and hearing from other scholars like Annie Leonard, I felt invigorated and excited to utilize my newly named change-making skills.

The opportunity to attend and participate in these talks and workshop sessions put on by professionals in sustainability across the world presented itself to me through my involvement with the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI) at OSU. As a frequent volunteer in their garden last year as a Junior, I recognized the opportunities to expand my skills into a field where I love the people I work with and feel like I’m making a positive difference. As a Senior, I’m now working as the Media Coordinator for the SSI, and LOVING the people and the mission of our organization.

Not only did the SSI bring the AASHE conference to my attention, but I also knew to take advantage of the grants offered toward professional development opportunities – and actually got my transportation and registration for the event paid for, meaning I got all of this for free! I’m unbelievably grateful that we have such an organization on campus, and I encourage anyone with interest in meeting other insightful people, doing something impactful, and having fun while doing so, to check out the amazing opportunities the offered by the Student Sustainability Initiative at Oregon State University.

Energy Civil War: Beavs v. Ducks

November 13th, 2014 | Marshall Moses

Energycivilwar_smallWhat: Competition with UO utilizing ReRev elliptical machines in the center of the cardio room in Dixon

When: November 17-21

Where: Dixon Rec Center, main cardio room upstairs

Why: To learn and provide renewable energy on campus, get a great workout, and beat the Ducks!

The Energy Civil War is a competitive event hosted by the Student Sustainability Initiative and Rec-Sports to promote renewable energy and physical activity for OSU students who want to team build within their organizations, make OSU a more sustainable campus, exercise, and beat U of O!

The week of November 17th students are asked to workout on the ReRev ellipticals in the main cardio room in Dixon Rec. Center. These machines are one of the unique sources of renewable energy on our campus! We will be measuring which school can generate the most watt-hours.

Student groups, organizations, athletic teams, and other individuals will be asked to work out on the ellipticals during the time of the Energy Civil War to ensure the ellipticals are always powered and producing renewable energy!

Stay tuned for event rules and updates! Join the event on Facebook.

Preview: Selfies and an energetic Benny the Beaver will be involved…

Question of the Week: Oregon’s Recycle Rate

November 12th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

Utensil-Kit-win-meTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a reusable OSU utensil set, like the one pictured here.

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

Oregon has a history of being a leader in recycling. How does Oregon’s recycling rate compare to the national average? (Hint: Check out our America Recycles Day event!)


Oregon’s recycle rate is 44% higher than the national average.

Help celebrate recycling this Friday during America Recycles Day!

And congratulations to Geoffrey for winning this week’s Question.

Spin to Win! Celebrate America Recycles Day this Friday

November 11th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

ARD 2014 Campus LivingDrop by the center of the Memorial Union Quad Friday, Nov. 14 between 12 and 3  PM to help us celebrate America Recycles Day; spin the wheel and answer the trivia questions you land on to win your choice of a reusable spork or utensil set! (Pictured below)

America Recycles Day is “a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.”

Nationally, 72% of Americans report consistently recycling at home, and Oregon has been a particularly strong leader in recycling. For example, did you know that Oregon’s recycling rate is 44% higher than the national average? Or that Corvallis was the first city in the state to have a curbside recycling program? How about that OSU’s recycling program is over 40 years old?

Recycling is a part of our heritage as Beavers, but we can also be doing better. Come by this Friday to learn more and celebrate!

Join this event on Facebook.

spork-blk background Utensil-Kit

This event is sponsored by the Waste Watchers, a volunteer group jointly organized by OSU Campus Recycling and the Student Sustainability Initiative.

Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not: Growing Buildings

November 10th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

Reedcyclers Believe It or Not-blog

It’s time once again for some weird waste! In today’s installment, we’ll look at some experimental ways where buildings are grown instead of built, providing lower impact ways to create large structures.

Functional fungus grows house in days


Click the photo to watch a video about the Hy-Fi.

Houses made from mushrooms seem like something straight out of a fairy tale. But the Museum of Modern Art’s “Hy-Fi” brings this to reality, containing bricks grown from farm waste and fungus. The bricks can be grown in five days, and are compostable.

The structure is built to draw breezes into the shaded interior, and was designed as a part of MoMA’s Young Architect’s Program. The program features an annual competition, and winners often incorporate reused or sustainable materials and features.

London skyscraper to be built from recycled material

The world’s first “organic” skyscraper may soon find a home in London, England. The building is designed to take paper and glass waste produced by the building’s occupants, and turn them into the panels which will make up the exterior of the building. It is estimated that enough material will be discarded by the residents that the building should be completed within a year of occupation.

The structure will be home to a recycling facility, which will sort and process the material gathered in the upper floors. Offices, conference rooms, gyms, and restaurants will be housed in the building, and wind turbines will provide power.

This post is part of the “Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not” blog series, which showcases weird waste-related stories. Tune in on Mondays each week for more.

Question of the Week: Boat made of Bottles

November 5th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

bottle 24 oz win meTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a reusable 24 oz. OSU water bottle, like the one pictured here.

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

In 2010, a boat made entirely of water bottles sailed from San Francisco to Sydney. What was the name of this ship? (Hint: this story was featured in the “Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not” blog series.)


This particular ship is called the Plastiki, and was created using 12,500 recovered water bottles in order to promote sustainability.

The story of the ship was featured in the “Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not” blog series, which showcases weird waste stories.

Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not: Light Topics

November 3rd, 2014 | Kyle Reed

Reedcyclers Believe It or Not-blog

Solid waste is only one part of the equation, and it is important to keep yourself aware of the whole problem. That’s why this week, we’ll be delving into stories that relate to both waste and energy.

Man secedes from United States to build wind turbine


North Dumpling Island, featuring its wind turbine and Stonehenge replica. Click to view larger.

What lengths would you go to be sustainable? For Segway inventor Dean Kamen, it meant seceding from the United States in order to build a wind turbine.

Known as North Dumpling Island, the micronation now has its own constitution, flag, currency, anthem, and even a navy (which consists of a single boat). The entire country, which sits on a two-acre island plot off the coast of Connecticut, is entirely carbon neutral, being run entirely by wind and solar power.

All of the lighting on the island uses LEDs, which help reduce waste by being energy efficient and longer lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs, and less toxic than their fluorescent counterparts.

The light bulb that’s lasted a century 


What every bulb aspires to be.

The Centennial Lightbulb is the world’s longest-lasting light bulb, having run continuously for 113 years. The bulb has only been turned off a small number of times, and has a 24-hour live camera feed, which people may watch online at any time.

The bulb is often showcased as evidence for planned obsolescence, which is when a product is designed to break down or weaken after a certain period of time.

This post is part of the “Reedcycler’s Believe it or Not” blog series, which showcases weird waste-related stories. Tune in on Mondays each week for more.