As a food-service packaging specialist with Foley Distributing, responding to [“Getting It to Go — Green?” June 24], I am open to offer educational workshops detailing all of the available takeout packaging options to any food-service professionals who wish to see the vast array of compostable and recyclable takeout containers, plates, clamshells, boxes, trays, cutlery, straws, cups and many more. I can also provide pricing on all items to allow you to budget your specific carryout program…
As it relates to cost, most non-Styrofoam, insulated to-go containers cost less than 25 cents each. Clear Greenware cups are less than clear petroleum based. Locally made insulated clamshells offer a sustainable alternative to sugarcane/bagasse containers shipped from Asia … Wherever we can reduce our use of petro-based packaging, we increase the demand for eco-friendly packaging, which drives down the cost.
THE RIGHT KIND OF NEWSPAPER
I have visited Burlington several times over the last few years and found myself utterly charmed by the Queen City. And part of that is the presence of Seven Days.
I was a newspaper reporter in dailies for about 10 years until I burned out on it, under pressure to always produce more for editors who often had only a fleeting grasp of what reality outside the newsroom was like. My idealism was broken early by working for a Gannett newspaper…
The newspaper business is on hard times that the old guard blames on that Internet thingy. Truth be told, I think it’s also caused by the stagnant management of daily newspapers that produces predigested news, and lays out each paper in a predictable manner because “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” When I tried to explain concepts in news stories such as revenue bonding or biological-oxygen demand in wastewater, editors would tell me, “Nobody cares about that!” and “The readers are all a bunch of dummies anyway.” It dawned on me that what they meant was that the editors themselves didn’t understand these things.
But there are papers out here such as Seven Days, the Tampa Bay Weekly Planet, Jacksonville, Florida’s Folio Weekly and others proving that newspapers don’t have to be stagnant. It’s enough to make this old ink-stained wretch smile. Thank you for your work.
LEAVE GANNETT ALONE
I can understand at some level why it’s titillating for Shay Totten (and frankly everyone at Seven Days) to take potshots at Gannett via the Burlington Free Press. After all, they are a competitor. But frankly I found the June 24 “Fair Game” more than a little smug. I think somewhere along the way you’ve forgotten that scores of Vermonters work at the Free Press, day in, day out, no matter what their corporate parent does right or wrong, and to seemingly relish in their financial difficulties smacks of a ghoulish self-indulgence. I’m glad that Seven Days has found a niche to thrive here — I’m a fan — but really, after almost a dozen years, don’t you think it’s time you grow up and stand on your own merits rather than knocking the Free Press down to build yourself up?
On a more personal level, I’ve had a chance to get acquainted with [Free Press Publisher] Brad Robertson, and I’ve found him to have become a very active and visible member of the business community in a very short amount of time. I know he’s working tirelessly to make his paper as good as it can be, and also trying to be an effective employer in a ridiculously challenging business climate. I feel fortunate that Gannett saw fit to send him our way, and I’m cheering him and his staff along. I hope you’ll find an occasion to do the same.
CAREGIVERS ARE MEN, TOO
Judith Levine has written one of the most perceptive, articulate and compelling articles on the modern pathological emphasis on quantitative rather than qualitative lifespan and its foundation in an infantile culture [“Poli Psy,” June 24].
However, one flagrant disregard of the facts only serves to perpetuate the stereotypes that Levine decries. She stated: “Indeed, everywhere in the world, almost to a person, caregivers are female.”
The same 2004 study that she apparently used for the estimated number of caregivers in the U.S. — “Caregiving in the U.S.,” from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP — also determined that fully 39 percent of American caregivers are male and that male caregivers are 50 percent more likely to be working full time while caring for others.
Improving the status of caregivers (both unpaid and professional) — and the quality of life in the modern world — requires that we drop the sexist stereotypes and disinformation on both sides of the gender line. Judith Levine owes the 17.3 million male caregivers an apology.
ON THE WATERFRONT
Thanks for sharing all the info on this new, up-and-coming sport on Lake Champlain [“Water Boarding,” June 24]!! After seeing this article, my curiosity was definitely piqued — I ski in the winter and am always looking for a way to keep up the incredible thigh and leg workout during the summer months. So, I did exactly what the article’s author did — I took a paddleboard demo Wednesday night with Jason from Paddlesurf Champlain, and then did a fitness class out on a paddle board with Amy from Stormboarding on Thursday at noon. Both outings were great!!
Paddleboarding works the entire body: legs, thighs, abs, chest, arms. I am definitely feeling it everywhere, and it feels great! The best part was definitely the views — of the Adirondacks on one side and beautiful Burlington on the other, a vantage point you usually only get out on a noisy boat. Paddleboarding is a very quiet, pristine, relaxing adventure, and I’m looking forward to going out many more times this summer...
It would be nice to keep this new sport a little secret, but what the heck — I encourage everyone to go out and give it a try! Each paddle boarding company on the lake has a different location, so I would encourage everyone to try both: Jason’s outfit down at Oakledge is a great opportunity to explore the southern coastline of the waterfront, and the Stormboarding outfit at the coast guard station is a great opportunity to explore the northern coastline of the waterfront. They’re all really nice and encouraging, and I look forward to more outings with both.
NOTHING ‘GREEN’ ABOUT CONCRETE
In regards to your “Clean Construction” article [June 24] … while I am a huge proponent of green building and design, I disagree with your choice to highlight cement siding as a green alternative to wood siding, which requires “the felling of trees.” Cement production is the most energy-intensive industry linked with the construction enterprise, and consumes 0.6 percent of our country’s total annual energy production. Trees are a renewable resource, and here in Vermont we have plenty of them, straight and tall. I would encourage those building “green” houses to stick with wood, and urge them to look to our local sawmills for supplies. It is satisfying to be able to trace the history of the boards my house is built from back to the local landscape. Likewise, using locally sourced timber is more in tune with the green building ethic than is concrete production.
Lake co-owns Cohosh Forestry, a Burlington-based forestry consulting company.
TO RUSSIA, WITH LOVE
As the current chair of the volunteer committee that administers Burlington’s relationship with Yaroslavl, Russia, I was interviewed for your recent Sister Cities article [“Has Burlington Abandoned Its “Sister Cities” Around the World? Not Exactly,” June 24]. Unfortunately, I feel that the article misquoted and misinterpreted what I said to the interviewer. Contrary to the impression given in the article, the relationship with Yaroslavl is alive and well, even though the level of interest by Americans in Russia has waned since the end of the Soviet Union.
Yaroslavl’s counterpart to our committee did not “collapse,” as the article alleged. What I told the interviewer was that, on the Russian side, the relationship has been mostly run by their city government, and that their volunteer committee has generally played a lesser role. This is in contrast to our situation, where the volunteer committee has carried the laboring oar, with support from Burlington City Hall. However, in recent months, Yaroslavl’s volunteer committee has greatly expanded, and wants to play a more active role. For that reason I am traveling there in late July to meet with the expanded committee, as well as with city officials, to discuss some updated themes and directions for the relationship, which will hopefully prove of interest to a larger number of people in the Burlington area.
THE TRUE COST OF ‘CHEAP’
I am writing to applaud your excellent coverage of a tricky topic: “green” food-service products [“Getting It to Go — Green?”]. Now that disposables made from annually renewable resources like corn and sugarcane exist, restaurant decision makers are faced with a choice: stick with what “works,” i.e., Styrofoam or other virgin petroleum-based materials, or try something new that will, for the time being, cost a little more. As Mr. Handy put it in the article: “You have to care about the environment, but there’s also a point where you have to do what’s economically right for your business.”
Let’s talk about that for a second. Are you sure your bottom line will be better off by choosing cheap food-service products like foam? While your upfront cost may be pennies less per container, what about the cost of losing customers who do not want to support a business that uses such an obviously unsustainable product?
The situation with the planet is getting worse, and more people are noticing each day. Just recently a group of M.I.T. researchers revised their estimate on the Earth’s end-of-century temperature from a 4 percent increase (from present levels) to 9 percent. If this estimate holds true, Vermont will feel more like North Carolina by the year 2100.
Food-service products made from plants like corn take 50 percent less energy to make and are responsible for 70 percent less CO2 in the atmosphere. They are also divertable from landfills where commercial composting exists.
Make the right choice: Your customers — and grandchildren — will thank you for it.
‘GREEN’ IS RELATIVE
It’s great that the subject of green building is getting so much attention lately. As our existing homes age, and our new homes evolve, it is an important discussion to be had by everyone involved. Yes, homes need efficient systems. They need good envelopes. They need to respond to the region that they’re in. They also need to have their owners and builders thinking about the materials going into them. Shipping composite materials from large corporations all over the country — and sometimes, the world — can be called green. I think that the question of how much energy it takes to save energy needed to be addressed in the “The Green Standard” article [June 24]. When you start to quantify embodied energy in green homes, they start to appear a lot less green. Do we want houses that are formaldehyde adhered to have airtight envelopes, with tons of CO2 in the air from the building of green homes?
I’m not saying that LEED and BSR don’t have their place; they do. I just think it is easy to look to others to give you your answers. What are your priorities? Recycled content? Net Zero? Some certification to show your peers? Keeping the local economy moving? Indoor air quality? The questions never end, but the answers lie within.
That being said, Ryan and Susan Hayes are on track [“Clean Construction,” June 24]. Each decision had been thought out, and had reason behind it, making it a unique and evolved home.
DAVIS OVER-DUDS IT
Not long after reading your article on Clarence Davis in the Fashion Issue [“Dress Code,” June 10], I had the good fortune of laying my eyes upon this stylish man, in person. There is no doubt the guy’s got class and wears his clothes very well, however, I wanted to bring up the important aspect of appropriateness. We were at a reggae show on the waterfront on a warm summer evening, and Mr. Davis had on long pants, a buttoned-collar shirt and blazer! Albeit, the blazer was casually slung over his shoulder, but he looked totally out of place. He confessed to me that he would only maybe wear shorts on a boat! What does this man relax in? I hope he’s not always posing. My point is that we are in Vermont, not L.A. The area’s men definitely need to take it up a few notches, but Davis is an extreme. And you forgot to give us the cost of his wardrobe. Why not do an article on how local men can get a look together without spending a fortune?
Keppel owns JK Jewelry in Shelburne.