Author Archive - elaine

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Free Dumpster Water: Source Discovered!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

According to a representative from Student Housing:
“The emergency water and food ration bars in the dumpster are Student Housing emergency supplies that have in fact expired. I did consult with Julie Muir our fantastic Recycling Program Manager at Peninsula Sanitary Service, and the University’s Surplus Property program to see if there was some way we could donate the supplies. However, we determined that because they are expired we could not risk human consumption, and the person-power it would take to open the individual containers to use the water for other purposes made that infeasible. Thus I made the difficult decision to dispose of the items. I will make every effort to do better with future emergency supplies by recommending we find ways to use stored supplies before their expiration date.”
In summary:
1) The water is probably fine to drink (as previously determined)
2) Other food you find in the dumpster is a little more eat-at-your-own-risk
Props to housing for reaching out to PSSI (that’s the recycling center on campus) to try to dispose of this stuff responsibly. And props to the universe for not cursing us with a disaster. But as pointed out above, it would be awful nice if all this stuff didn’t have to go to waste. I guess that’s up to the dumpster divers to solve.
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Free water in the dumpster between Bob and Theta Delt

Friday, November 20th, 2009

According to an anonymous source, word on the street is that at this very moment “there’s an entire enormous dumpster full of packaged water that was thrown out earlier this week between bob and theta Delt…The water seems to be past it’s expiration date (whatever that means for water)…At the very least it may be worth salvaging some”
My gut environmentalist’s first question is of course, “WHY WOULD YOU EVER BUY BOTTLED WATER??”
My second, more reasonable question is, “Wait, water can expire?”
Obviously to attempt to solve the mystery of this supposed ‘expiration’ I jump to my BFF, http://www.chacha.com/. The answer to my query? As follows:
“The FDA states that bottled water that has been bottled and stored properly does not expire.”
“FDA states that it has no limit on shelf life if stored properly. Some laws and retailers require and insist on an exp. date.”
Aha! It does not expire! And so my bottled-water drinking friends, I bestow upon you this knowledge of free packaged water in the dumpster between Bob and Theta Delt. Drink up.
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Harvest Party and Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Students for a Sustainable Stanford and FEED held their potentially-annual harvest party in White Plaza today. As if having the opportunity to dance like a tree to live bluegrass music didn’t make my inner hippie orgasm enough, I also left with my face painted and a tummy full of homemade pumpkin muffins (made with REAL pumpkins – click here for recipe) and fresh persimmons. Well done my farm-loving friends, well done.
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The wheel of compost knowledge wows yet another unsuspecting bystander.

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Finding Nemo Sterile and on Prozac

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Little known fact:The wastewater treatment plant that Stanford sends its water to cannot remove all chemicals from our water before they dump it into the bay. They get the major ones, and treat the water for things that can kill humans, but chemicals from things like birth control and Prozac still get into the bay water and make our fish sterile (albeit un-depressed?).
We can thus assume that the effects of this biodegradable “natural” (whatever that technically means) laundry detergent are less harmful than whatever we’re doing to the fishies now.
Eco-friendly laundry detergent. Do it for Nemo.
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REUSE.stanford.edu and REFUSEpact.org

Monday, October 5th, 2009

We have a disposable society. We love using things once or twice and then throwing them into pits in the ground. Cups, plates, gloves, hats…you name it. Perhaps this tendency towards the disposable is a reflection of our transient, liminal, earthly nature. Everything dies – everything, even our species, will be eventually “disposed of.” But more likely our love of the single serving is a sign of our inability to grasp the scale of our disposable lifestyle.
We are producing sterile, unusable trash outputs faster than we are receiving inputs from our planet. The scales are off. Units are wrong. We’re headed for trouble.
Luckily, a few simple changes in lifestyle can change our trajectory.
Try reuse.stanford.edu the next time you need something for your dorm room. Welcome to the craigslist of Stanford! Bulletin boards, desks, chairs and refrigerators abound. A sweet resource. And let’s face it, used stuff is super trendy right now.
Furthermore, if you’re feeling really saucy consider refusepact.org. This Stanford-produced idea is simple: refuse to use disposables. Bring your own plate/containers/silverware to those wonderful info session lunches. I know I go to them for the free food and am always dismayed by the predominance of flimsy disposable plates/forks/knives that are bound straight for the landfill with my saliva still on them. Join me in refusing disposables and bring your own! Feel nerdy or awkward bringing your own supplies? GET OVER YOURSELF. You are on the cutting edge of a snowballing trend. Be a role model and suck it up.
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Why we should love trayless dining:

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Near the end of my workday today I gave my e-mail one final check and discovered that a, shall we say, “critical” review of Stanford Dining’s new pilot “trayless dining” policy had been published in the Daily. After muttering a few frustrated expletives to my co-worker, I soon resigned myself to the fact that if someone hates the idea of trayless dining then it is not their fault. If anything, it is a sign of my failure as someone fighting to increase the resilience and sustainability of our society in the face of, let’s be honest, some crazy environmental shit.
As such, here is my educational two cents about the infamous dining hall tray.
The facts about trayless dining at Stanford (and why not using trays is a good thing):
1) You can have a tray if you need one/want one/desire one/passionately lust for one in the fashion of the Stanford student who wrote the aforementioned article found here http://www.stanforddaily.com/cgi-bin/?p=1033368 .
2) Trayless dining is a pilot program of Stanford Dining based on a survey of approximately 500 Stanford students completed last spring. It’s part of their well-established Love Food, Hate Waste Campaign. It has been planned with rationality and care, and is not what I would define as a radical move.
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