Dissecting a survey: Analysis of the Coop Food Stores survey run by Tuck

The Coop Food Stores have partnered with the Tuck School of Business to take a survey of the “primary grocery shoppers” in each household.

This link will likely die in a couple of months, but here’s the current link to the survey.

I picked up a hard copy of the survey in the Lebanon store, and quickly found that I was much more interested in dissecting the survey than actually answering all of the questions. The survey comprised several pages of questions, and some of them required quite a lot of concentration to answer correctly. Some questions seemed repetitious, and other questions seemed to have too much ambiguity for me to feel comfortable answering.

So, on with the show!
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Sustainability at DHMC: Reuse those foam plates!

I was in line at the cafeteria last week when someone from one of the other offices in my building said “Oh, when did they start using china in this cafeteria?” I had to politely tell the woman that DHMC was not deploying reusable dishes at all of its cafeterias and that I bring my own plate and just wash it afterwards. “Oh, what a good idea!” she said, “I should bring my own plate sometimes. Washing it off afterwards isn’t too hard.”

Handwashing isn’t that difficult, but washing off all of the dishes in a central location, using an auto dishwasher, would probably save money and water, and would certainly save a time for all of the people working in the building. There would be an initial outlay and ongoing expense to stock the china and deal with breakages and so forth, but it would be a great step for sustainability.
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Oktoberfestivities 2009

Last night was Oktoberfest 2009. We had a lot of tasty food including hendl (chicken, in Bavarian), almonds mit hoenig (I can’t remember the german term for almonds), sausage, mashed potatoes, beer, and just a drop of Jaeger.

Oktoberfest, as I’m sure you all know, is that other fall holiday when guys and girls get to dress up in sexy costumes. Unlike Halloween, Oktoberfest encourages the guys to wear leather shorts, and encourages everyone to dance, drink, and sprechen deutsch. All in all it’s quite a good holiday.

This morning I wrote hijacked a song. Would you like to hear it? Oh, I bet meine lederhosen schwartz you would:

Jaeger-weiss, Jaeger-weiss,
Every morning you talk to me,
Dark and sweet, tastes of deer meat,
Jaegermeister I love thee.

To quote the Black Eyed Peas, “Tonight’s going to be a good, good night.”

Live Blogging: Sykes Free Concert Series

Okay, so I’m going to try out this live blogging thing. No promises.

We’re currently at the Sykes Free Concert at Collis Commonground. This concert is (or perhaps all such concerts are?) funded by Jack Wehner ’74. The concerts are dedicated to Music professor Jim Sykes and his wife Clay.

Tonight we’re hearing music by Boismortier (Concerto), Abreu (Tico tico no fuba), Telemann (Duo), Rossini (Quartet) and Brahms (Sonata for violin and piano). Nothing by our perennial favorite, P.D.Q. Bach. Tsk, tsk.

We’re currently noshing on local cider, apples, bread, cheeses and ice cream.
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Manufacturers: Please label all plastic with resin identification codes

As I’ve mentioned before, Dartmouth College recycles plastics marked #1-7. Coca-Cola of Northern New England (CCNE) is the recycler of Dartmouth’s plastic and aluminum, and they can’t recycle plastics unless they are marked with a number. Although most plastics can be recycled, there’s a significant class of not numbered plastic bags, lids, tubs, and other items that CCNE cannot identify, and so must go into the trash.

The plastic resin identification codes and icons were set up by the Society of the Plastics Industry in the 1980s. As far as I can tell these codes and icons, like the universal recycling symbol itself, are in the public domain. There’s no organization that polices use of these logos. So any given plastic manufacturing company could easily, and without royalty or compliance fees, change their manufacturing process to stamp, mold, paint, or otherwise include the appropriate resin id code on their plastic products. Sure, a bottle marked #1 could turn out to be half Polyethylene (#1) and half Polystyrene (#6), but in such a case a company could probably be sued for false labeling.

Because there are still un-numbered plastic products out there, I have devised a plan: Whenever I come across a plastic container or container component that isn’t numbered, I’ve been putting them aside in a separate bin. My thinking is that once I have a pile of these items I can sit down and contact the product vendors or container manufacturers and ask them to properly label their containers with resin id codes.

If enough people ask for properly-labeled packaging, I think that businesses will definitely start to pay attention. Even if only some of the container manufacturers start to label all their products, we can use those manufacturers as leverage and get companies to switch or threaten to switch to a new container supplier if all of the plastic parts on a given container are not properly marked.


M&C Summer 2009: A compostable successable

Milque & Cookies was this past Friday at 9pm and was a resounding success.

Phi Tau took a departure from the normal schedule of Saturday at 8pm due to Sophomore Family Weekend and thus had to forge ahead and bake like crazy on Thursday night. Everything came together marvelously well and a good time was had by all. I mean, who doesn’t want to stuff themselves with milk and tasty, sugary, yummy cookies?

Because I’d acquired compostable cups, we were able to put out compost bins instead of trash cans:
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