Showing posts with label kansas state university. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kansas state university. Show all posts

Monday, June 29, 2009

Why Does Bottled Water Have an Expiration Date?

Our very own Jason English is wondering why his Poland Spring has a “drink by” date on it when common sense dictates that water doesn’t go bad. To him I say, “It’s your own damn fault.”

Well, not personally his fault, but the fault of his home state of New Jersey.

A 1987 NJ state law required all food products sold there to display an expiration date of two years or less from the date of manufacture. Labeling, separating and shipping batches of expiration-dated water to the Garden State seemed a little inefficient to bottled water producers, so most of them simply started giving every bottle a two-year expiration date, no matter where it was going.
Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never established or suggested a limitation on the shelf life of bottled water as long as it’s produced in accordance with regulations and the bottle remains properly sealed. Makes sense, because it’s, you know…water. Even Dirty Jerz caught on to this fact and amended the law a few years ago. But the expiration date has been an industry norm for so long that many producers have just kept it on there.

Better WIth Age? While “expired” unopened bottled water isn’t going to do you any harm, it isn’t going to get better with age, either. The plastic that water is packaged in — usually polyethylene terephthalate (PET) for retail bottles and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for water cooler jugs –- is slightly porous, so the water can pick up smells and tastes from the outside world. Keep a case of bottled water in the basement for a year or so and it’s going to pick up some interesting flavors. There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than a 2007 Evian, with hints of dust and a crisp kitty litter finish!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Buying Experiences, Not Possessions, Gives Greater Happiness

Can money make us happy if we spend it on the right purchases? A new psychology study suggests that buying life experiences rather than material possessions leads to greater happiness for both the consumer and those around them. The findings will be presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting on Feb. 7.

The study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased well-being because they satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality -- a feeling of being alive.

"These findings support an extension of basic need theory, where purchases that increase psychological need satisfaction will produce the greatest well-being," said Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University.

Participants in the study were asked to write reflections and answer questions about their recent purchases. Participants indicated that experiential purchases represented money better spent and greater happiness for both themselves and others. The results also indicate that experiences produce more happiness regardless of the amount spent or the income of the consumer.

Experiences also lead to longer-term satisfaction. "Purchased experiences provide memory capital," Howell said. "We don't tend to get bored of happy memories like we do with a material object.

"People still believe that more money will make them happy, even though 35 years of research has suggested the opposite," Howell said. "Maybe this belief has held because money is making some people happy some of the time, at least when they spend it on life experiences."

"The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological need satisfaction" was conducted by Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University and SF State graduate Graham Hill.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Californias Top Enviromental Priority Legislation

SB 1625 (Corbett) Updating California's Bottle and Can Recycling Law
Summary. SB 1625 aims to update California's Bottle and Can Recycling Law by, among other measures, expanding the program to include all plastic bottles.

AB 2640 (Huffman) Compostable Organics Management
Summary. This bill is intended to promote the highest and best use of organic materials in California.

AB 2058 (Levine) Plastic Bag Reduction Benchmarks
Summary. Requires large groceries and pharmacies that distribute free plastic bags to meet phased plastic bag diversion and reduction benchmarks.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Replacement Hybrid Battery Costs Plummet

When someone on the EcoModder forums asks about buying a used hybrid, there is usually a flurry of excitement coupled with cautions about the age of the car and the price of a new battery pack. Ecomodders, usually being budget-minded folks, are very wary of the seemingly astronomical price of battery replacement.

In the early part of this decade, some of the biggest worries about hybrids were how could the batteries possibly last, when would they finally give out, and how much would it cost to have them replaced. These days, concerns about batteries have largely faded out of the minds of new car buyers. Honda and Toyota have both had hybrids on the market for about a decade now, and there are no ominous junkyards filled with dead hybrids.

To underline the reliability of modern battery-electric hybrids, Honda says that out of over 100,000 hybrids on the road currently, only 200 have needed out-of-warranty battery replacement. Toyota, on the other hand, has only needed to replace 0.003 percent of its hybrid batteries out of warranty on the second generation Prius. Granted, these cars still aren’t all that old, and the batteries will likely fail eventually, but it seems that they are living up to manufacturers’ promises that they will last the life of a car.

Necessity aside, Honda and Toyota have both announced drastic cuts to the cost of replacement batteries for their hybrids. It will now cost just under $2,000 to have new batteries installed in you Honda Insight, and just under $2,500 for your Accord hybrid. These are about $1,000 reductions in the cost. Toyota, on the other hand, has dropped prices from ~$5,500 to $3,000, but that doesn’t include the installation, so the real cost is likely a bit more.

So, buyers of used hybrids, never fear! It’s unlikely that your batteries will fail prematurely, and even if they do, replacements are getting cheaper.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Is a Plane Boarding Pass a Threat?

We have looked at the stub from the boarding pass and wondered what to do with it. You most likely have found two or three in the seat pocket from the seats prior holders. But is the information dangerous?

Alone no, but it gives enough insight into you to get everything an identity thief needs. They get your name, a good idea of your home town and some recent travel information. The thief uses these bits of information to get more form unsuspecting customer service reps.

Always shred everything with your name or any other personally identifying information.

Read More.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Top 10 communities?

Is your municipal program in the top 10?

Municipalities across the U.S. and Canada are diverting e-scrap from landfills by providing opportunities for residents to drop off obsolete electronics for recycling. E-Scrap News is collecting data on the volume of e-waste being collected by municipalities and municipal program partners in order to compile a Top 10 list of municipal programs.
Two lists will be generated, covering both the top 10 programs in terms of overall volumes collected, as well as the top 10 programs based on pounds collected per capita. To do this, we need data from you, our readers, including:

Total tons of electronic scrap collected for recycling through the years
Number of years having offered the collection program
Population of the area served by your program.
This information will be shared at the upcoming E-Scrap 2008 Conference, as well as in one of our publications. If your program is in the top 10, we will contact you for a little more information about program dynamics.
Please submit the requested information via email to Henry Leineweber at by June 1st.

Friday, March 21, 2008

AN ELECTRONICS RECYCLING company has decided that too many cooks don't always make a bad recipe. Phoenix-based Nxtcycle has announced results for its Shared Responsibility Program, which began in August 2002 and spread the burden of electronic waste (e-waste) recycling among manufacturers, retailers, municipalities, and waste processing and management facilities.

With Panasonic, Sharp and Sony underwriting the costs of recycling their own products collected, Nxtcycle has rounded-up approximately 39,000 electronic products from 16 special event collections in seven states and 19 permanent drop-off sites in three states from August to December 2002. Approximately 4,300 cathode ray tubes (CRTs) collected came from sponsoring manufacturers, Nxtcycle says.

Some municipalities have held single-day events, and others sponsored ongoing e-waste collection. The highest concentration of successful collection records was in Southern California, where approximately 25,000 products were collected.

To the north, the city of San Jose, Calif., presents residents opportunities to recycle electronic waste through two ongoing programs. One is the bulky goods program in which residents pay $21.25 to have three items picked up on a specially arranged curbside pickup. The other option is a neighborhood cleanup program that leads trucks through city neighborhoods every weekend allowing residents to bring out debris boxes containing anything they choose. Although this program does not specifically target e-waste, residents are permitted to put monitors and other items containing CRTs in the boxes. Once collected, the CRTs go to the Nxtcycle processing facility in Utah. Last year, San Jose recycled 175 tons of CRTs.

According to Cynthia Dunn of the city of San Jose Environmental Services Department, Integrated Waste Management Division, a clarification letter from the state Department of Toxic Substance Control that arrived in spring 2001 pushed the city to think critically about how to keep CRTs out of the waste stream. “We're working on longer-term solutions,” Dunn says. “But right now it's going to be difficult to keep [e-waste recycling] as a priority because the city of San Jose has not taken an official position on e-waste. But we have a team that's researching and making recommendations.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kansas ewaste

Kansas begins program to better dispose of electronic waste
By: Brie Handgraaf

With a quick turnover on modern technology, landfill operators find it difficult to properly process electronic waste."There are many materials in electronic goods that are hazardous, such as lead and mercury," said Rebecca Clark, senior in biology.Clark is president of Students for Environmental Action at K-State. "Keeping these hazardous substances out of our landfills is good for both the environment and for human health," she said.As part of a new program, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will use grant money to set up e-waste collection centers across the state."Overall, KDHE and other elected state officials want to promote the recycling of e-waste rather than dispose of it in landfills," said Bill Bider, director of the KDHE's Bureau of Waste Management. "KDHE hopes that the state-sponsored collection centers will complement and further stimulate the growing private sector that processes e-waste into marketable materials."Recycling is a growing business with strict regulations."E-waste management is important to maintain the environment and public health," said Rebecca Roth, senior in anthropology. "I hope that appropriate recycling measures are taken so the chemicals don't make it into the water supply."Through the new e-waste program, recycling centers must obtain permits to process electronic waste."The requirement to obtain solid-waste-processing facility permits will lessen impacts as well by ensuring that workers safely handle e-waste and prevent releases of hazardous constituents to nearby populations," Bider said. "Permits also require financial assurance, which means the taxpayers of Kansas would not be financially responsible to dispose of or recycling e-waste that might be abandoned at these facilities."Bider said convenient recycling centers would decrease the chances of improper dumping and lessen the risks for environmental contamination."By safely recycling e-waste, we are directly affecting our air and water quality both in a local and global level," Clark said. "If all of Manhattan properly disposes of e-waste then we reduce the hazards of local groundwater contamination as well as the need to mine these materials in other areas around the world."For more information, go to or

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