CERO: More Data and Refining Our Problem 4/20

This week, the Cero team continued to collect data using our composting  surveys and have been making progress towards developing a new MVP. Jason and Husayn went to Boston Commons and administered the survey to around 25 individuals, 5 of which had to be filtered out due to their bias in “put what you put” or “we have pretty similar views”. We once again had encouraging results:

 Heard of composting:

Y: 19

N: 1

Prefer local restaurant/grocery store composted?:

Y: 19

N: 0

Don’t care: 1

Willing to travel farther?:

Y: 12

N: 8

How much farther (out of 12 responses):

1: 0

5: 2

10: 7

15: 3

More: 1

Spend extra money?:

Y: 15

N: 5

How much extra (out of 15 responses):

1%: 2

5%: 6

10%: 7

15%: 0

>15%: 0

We’ve also been collaborating to think through an educational/promotional campaign on composting that CERO could lead. Currently we are thinking that a “minimum viable product” for this could be a page on CERO’s website titled “Why Compost?” While we hypothesize that people don’t necessarily pick CERO for its social and environmental justice values, and instead pick it if they see that it can save them money and provide an easy service, we think that CERO can play a role in educating the general public on why composting is critical for a better, more sustainable future. This page would include information along the following lines:


  • Massachusetts food businesses generate more than 1 million tons of food waste every year. That is enough to fill 20 Fenway Parks.

  • When food waste goes to landfill (which is where it ends up if you don’t compost), toxic methane gas is released into the air that is 40 times worse than carbon dioxide for global warming.

  • When you compost you not only eliminate the production of methane from organic waste, but you also allow the compost in the soil to act as a sponge for carbon in the air. This process of carbon sequestration literally pulls carbon out of the air into the earth, at the same time improving the nutrition, and moisture retention properties of the soil.

  • Composting closes the food loop, allowing spoiled food, food scraps, and food waste to return to the earth as soil to grow new food and enrich the soil with nutrients needed to grow robust fruits and vegetables.

We are considering publishing this page in tandem with a twitter campaign to educate folks on the values of composting. If we get considerable hits on this, we might use this content to develop a more fully fleshed out infographic. Currently there are many infographics on how to compost, but not very good/popular ones on why its important to compost. By making composting a household conversation (and decoding its environmental benefits), we could indirectly influence CERO’s future customers.

We’ve also started to look into mapping our results using D3 with some sort of narrative/story-telling theme. We will need to collect some more data, but once we have a decent amount, we can start using some inference algorithms to estimate composting interest in areas we haven’t surveyed (with a quantifiable degree of certainty). This can all be included in the infographic/web-page, which should be nice.

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