Here's an article that's well worth the reading this time of year. You know those dates they stamp on food, like "sell by," "use by," and "best before"?
Well ... those dates aren't indications that you can't eat the food, okay? Those dates are just suggestions.
In the words of the article, "Suggestions. For peak quality. That's all."
The article goes on to state:
If this is news to you, you're not alone. Research on date labeling in the U.K. by the organization WRAP shows that 45 to 49 percent of consumers misunderstand the meaning of the date labels, resulting in an enormous amount of prematurely discarded food. In fact, WRAP estimates that a full 20 percent of food waste is linked to date labeling confusion. Of course, that also means 20 percent more sales for manufacturers recommending those dates. After all, if your milk goes bad, you don't stop drinking milk; you just go to the store and buy some more.
Amazing! Tell me more ...
"Sell-by" dates are equally problematic. The goal of sell-by dates is to help stores stock and shelve their goods. Sell-by dates are designed to indicate a product is still fresh enough for a consumer to take it home and keep in their fridge for days or weeks. Most stores discard products as soon as they're past their sell-by dates. It's understandable. Many consumers would balk at buying something with an expired date, especially since they may not understand the date's meaning.
Yeah, well. I could easily understand that.
But the cost of this waste is significant. In American Wasteland, a book that examines the massive quantities of food we waste from farm to fork, an industry expert estimates grocery stores discard $2,300 worth of "out-of-date" food goods each day. Even worse, the waste continues at home, since many consumers also misinterpret this date and discard products with weeks of good shelf life remaining. And all that adds up to a huge amount of wasted resources, with serious impacts to our land, air, and water.
Don't these people have a sense of taste or smell? I guess not ...
The good news is that there's a pretty straightforward solution to all this confusion and waste. It's a system called "closed dating," which uses a code to communicate information on product freshness to stores for stocking and shelving purposes without confusing consumers in the process.
As for the "use-by" and "best-by" sisters, there are two routes the system could take to reduce confusion and waste. Government could regulate dates more closely so that they serve as genuine indicators of food safety, as consumers already believe. But since the government can't predict when you'll accidentally leave your milk in a warm car for an hour, this can get tricky.
Oh, please! Try not being an idiot.
The alternative would be to eliminate the confusing array of dates completely and for consumers to once again rely on the wisdom of their senses to determine if food is edible. If that milk smells rotten, by all means throw it away. But if it smells like good milk and tastes like good milk, it makes little sense to pour it down the drain because the manufacturer has suggested to you that it's bad.
Or maybe using a little common sense.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
As you may know, I have five (count 'em, five) blogs. And I write fiction and self-publish it. And market my own work.
And I also happen to be a
So ... I'm really sorry I don't update this blog as much as I should. Honest!
But I keep it going because I really care about the subject, and I refuse to post crap just for the sake of it.
Now, this post is about Coca-Cola. All I have to say is this: Things don't always go better with Coke from a sustainability perspective.
Please click on the link for further details, okay?
Much of it pertains to this PSA, which frankly made me want to puke in my mouth a bit, anyhow.
And here's the original ad. Which didn't make me nearly as sick, actually ...
PS: Thanks Raz Godelnik for doing all the typing for me. :)
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Be vewy quiet. David Gracer is bug hunting.
He's not a collector. He's hunting for food.
Crickets, grasshoppers and other critters. That's what's for dinner.
Check out the video. He'll "offer you a market price."
All you have to do is spend two hours spreading chemical scent around and you can attract enough bugs to feed a whole sh*tload of people.
"I should be doing this I know," Gracer says.
Gracer says a whole lot about what we should do.
At the beginning of the video, he says it's ironic how eating bugs makes people uncomfortable, because it doesn't fit with their lifestyle. Much like they're used to driving in their cars everywhere. He says this while he's driving a car, and totally fails to notice the irony. Apparently.
He makes the amazing observation that, "Most insects do not taste better than lobster." Well, duh!
He even recites his cockroach recommendations. He won't eat all of them. Some taste awful. Imagine!
And since we're heading for calamity eventually, Gracer says, "I get to be right eventually." Awesome.
BTW, he had a couple of bugs called walking sticks in his frig. In one country, they keep them as pets AND eat them. Weird.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Here's the thing. I happened to find this article called Fighting the 'Dirty Cloud': Responsible tech firms hit by cloud and supply chain confusion. Well, with a headline like that, I was intrigued.
So, I started reading the article. And it said ...
Samsung, Fujitsu, Apple & Microsoft emissions hit by cloud computing and supply chain
Samsung has biggest carbon footprint with over 55m tonnes of CO2-e
Intel supply chain accounts for 43m tonnes of its CO2-e figure
Are your eyes glazing over? Mine were. But I kept reading, anyway. I'm a trooper.
Sustainability data publishing site Ecodesk has revealed that carbon emissions targets at leading technology companies such as Samsung, Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Fujitsu are being hit by a shift to cloud computing and supply chain reporting. Samsung and Intel in particular have seen their CO2 emissions rocket due to the inclusion of their supply chain.
Ecodesk profiled over 50 of the top technology companies among hundreds of other global businesses, claims that many supposedly ‘green’ companies and rankings which claim steady declines in emissions figures are completely misleading, Ecodesk data shows that in fact tech companies with the highest carbon footprints are actually the most responsible.
Hmm ... so the most "green" companies that claim to have declining emissions actually have a larger carbon footprint. Hmm. Pray tell, how did that happen?
Samsung, Intel and Apple for example have high CO2-e but both businesses include the emissions of their respective supply chains (called GHG Scope 3) as part of their standard reporting, following recent guidelines by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The result is that on the surface they look like big polluters. Intel’s carbon footprint is 46m tonnes of CO2 but its supply chain accounts for about 96% of its total emissions.
Oh, sh*t! So ... if the company is honest and reports emissions that their suppliers make as part of being transparent, the company ends up looking worse. I think that's what this is saying ... oh, dear.
“Tech companies in particular are leading the charge and being very bold by forfeiting their own emission targets to embrace the emissions produced by third parties,” said Robert Clarke, CEO at Ecodesk. “The shift to embrace cloud computing and supply chains has meant that each company that embraces what we feel is the most comprehensive model experience their own emissions shoot up although the overall impact on the environment is reduced significantly by cloud computing, and supply chain imperatives. I have no doubt that this is the right move for the environment although on first glance it doesn’t look good in terms of hitting emissions targets.”
Wow, that's a whole lot of words. And I have no idea what this guy is saying at all.
The problem with cloud computing is also compounded by whether a cloud is deemed ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’. While embracing the cloud does have longer term environmental benefits, technology companies have to ensure they are dealing with data centres which employ progressive sustainability measures, like Apple, who use renewable power sources and highly advanced efficiency in power consumption, from lighting to cooling.
“It is very important to assess the net carbon impact of the ‘after scenario’,” said Alison Rowe, Global Executive Director of Sustainability at Fujitsu. “If you have a clean data centre with renewable energy and you move that into a ‘dirty’ cloud powered by coal then this isn’t an improvement.”
“The large tech companies are working hard on improving their emissions and reporting transparency,” added Clarke. “Extending their carbon footprints to their supply chains and ultimately making the whole industry more responsible can only be a good thing for the environment. They will also realise very significant cost savings in reduced logistics and energy use. The economic drivers are huge.”
Yeah, I'll bet. Good luck with all that.