Posts tagged “waste”

Curating Consumption #4

We’re back with another round of some curious, provocative, amusing, and frightening observations that come from our daily experiences as researchers and as consumers. Thanks to Tamara Christensen for her contribution!

Ideally parental love is unconditional love. And when you love something or someone you want to tell everyone how great they are. It’s not that disease or disability should be hidden away in shame, but what aspects of our lives do we choose to announce and celebrate? It’s not uncommon to hear that people with Down’s Syndrome do have a number of uniquely endearing qualities that are particular to the syndrome, but is that what’s behind this parent’s vanity license and license frame? /SP

Of course this is a kind of service; I’m not surprised to learn that it exists but I’m still surprised to see it in my daily travels. I was certainly struck by the 2012 touches, using aspirational words like “grooming” and “beautification” (over the more common “maintenance”). And why not put the (delightfully alliterative) name of your business on your hearse-black vehicle? You never know where you’ll find customers! Perhaps even when parked in front of your local coffee shop. /SP

I came across this during a recent hike by the ocean, painted on one of the few large concrete blocks spattered about the landscape. I was taken aback by this image/text combination and immediately created a narrative with two dueling characters. First comes the antagonist, whose symbol of choice is a weapon, and later comes the protagonist who uses language to diffuse and reframe this act of aggression. Of course it’s possible that a single artist is responsible, but why would the hero deliver a message – intended to disarm – with such heavy artillery? /TC

Here’s Steve figuring out where to dispose of the trash from lunch. In the Bay Area, composting bins are getting pretty common in public places and along local trash pick-up routes. “Trash” is no longer a catch-all term or container. Composting is the new recycling. Green is the new blue. There are more bins plus posters and pamphlets that explain what goes where. For example, in some places the chicken leftovers go in the trash, in other places it goes in the compost bin. Disposable paper plates or plastic utensils are tricky because they might be compost, or recycling, or the trash. Ironically, the quest for more environment and consumer-friendly waste management involves the creation of more trash (i.e. bins, bags, and signs) and more confusion. /TC

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Life-Cycle Assessment of Book vs. e-Reader [] – A life-cycle assessment evaluates the ecological impact of any product, at every stage of its existence, from the first tree cut down for paper to the day that hardcover decomposes in the dump. With this method, we can determine the greenest way to read…All in all, the most ecologically virtuous way to read a book starts by walking to your local library.

Spark creativity with Froot Loops? WTF!

click image to enlarge

This is bizarre. As if food isn’t expensive enough, Kellogg’s is encouraging kids to do (dumb-ass) crafts projects with Froot Loops. On the back of a box are detailed instructions for Rainbow Layer Art (crush a bunch of Froot Loops and layer each color in a jar) and Tambourine Shaker (put Froot Loops between paper plates).

As my mother would say “Ants will come!” You’re going to put highly-sugared cereal into toys that will sit in bedrooms and livingrooms and playrooms? One is made of crumbs (guaranteed to leak) and the other involves percussing individual Loops obviously creating more crumbs (which will also leak). You’ll have Froot crap all over your house and an immediate infestation of ants, not to mention sticky galore.

The idea is so head-shakingly inappropriate. Why are they suggesting that their cereal (nutrition, sustenance, expensive) is in itself a plaything? Doesn’t that just send every wrong signal to a kid? People are starving in Biafra and you are wasting your breakfast cereal as decoration? It reveals how non-food companies like Kellogg’s really think their product is. It’s just a substance to be manufactured and distributed. It’s not an edible commodity, it’s just some coloring that can be chewed, put in a jar and displayed, or hey, made into a musical instrument. Floor wax or desert topping, anyone?

I mean, really.

Food Rescue Me

Here’s what I’ve seen outside an Au Bon Pain store in Manhattan on two separate nights – a huge amount of food being discarded. Easily noticeable is dozens of bagels; no doubt other stuff as well.

Does Manhattan no longer have a hunger or homeless problem? Where is the food rescue organizations to pick this up and deliver it to someone who can use it? I’m not picking on Au Bon Pain specifically, it’s just what I’ve seen casually walking about. No doubt the problem/opportunity is more widespread than simply one store that I observed personally.

I ate dinner in Chinatown last night (despite picking a Chowhound etc. fave, I wasn’t that impressed, I’ve had better in SF and environs easily), and had quite a bit left over. I took it to go, even though being in a hotel there was no way to eat it. But the homeless dude I saw on the way in had packed up, and I couldn’t find anyone in Midtown either. But there are these buildings with atrium (atria? I dunno – they each only have one) that are designated public space (is this a tax thing or what?) and open til 10pm. I walked by one and there were many people playing chess. It wasn’t clear to me if these people had homes or money or were just chess enthusiasts, or if it was a mixture. I saw a lot of backpacks that seemed fairly full. I walked in nonchalantly past the security guard, and just left my food on an empty table. It’ll probably get thrown out, but if those people are in need, maybe someone will take it.

And just for some extra context – I don’t give money to people on the street. Ever. I rarely look or acknowledge, etc. I’m not boasting about what I did yesterday, or defending what I do normally, it’s just who I am and how I’ve chosen for now to handle these things.

What does motivate me more than any sense of “charity” or “giving” as an abhorrence of waste. My leftovers and the Au Bon Pain bounty are waste that could be leveraged. That appeals to something in me. One thing I’ve done is start a local freecycle group that allows people to exchange unwanted goods instead of tossing ’em out.


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