Friday, May 2, 2008

Digital TV Update

Digital TV switch update
The coming switch from analog to digital signals for over-the-air television transmission continues to make headlines.
The Federal Communications Commission (Washington) levied fines this week against retailers and television suppliers for violating rules that require televisions currently being sold to work easily after next year's transmission switch. Best Buy (Richfield, Minnesota), Sears Holding Corp. (Hoffman Estates, Illinois), Target Corp. (Minnesota), Wal-Mart (Bentonville, Arkansas) and seven other companies received fines for the violations. Fines ranged from $296,000, charged to Target, to the approximately $1.1 million levied against Sears.
The Consumer Electronics Association (Arlington, Virginia) has launched a campaign called Convert Your Mom, starring the Brady Bunch's Florence Henderson, which asks consumers to help their parents to weather the transmission switch.
The Consumers Union is asking the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (both of Washington) and Congress to extend the 90-day deadline for the government-issued $40 coupons for digital converter boxes. The boxes have been slow to market, making it difficult for some consumers use their coupons before they expire.
The Washington Post was the latest major paper to publish an overview of the coming switch, with some impressive photos of towers of collected televisions

Thursday, May 1, 2008

E-scrap legislation from around the nation
Numerous state legislatures continue considering measures that address the proper recovery and handling of electronic waste.
Already passed by the Senate, the Connecticut House is considering Senate Bill 582, which amends last year’s passing of House Bill 7249 on several fronts, including redefining market share, and limiting orphan waste. The measure also requires that every covered electronic device sold in-state be labeled with the manufacturer's name and address.
In Hawaii, a Senate Conference Committee has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow to review House amendments to SB 2843. If the amendments are agreed upon, the bill, which establishes a producer-responsibility program, would move closer to the desk of Governor Linda Lingle for approval.
The Illinois Senate has passed SB 2313, which utilizes a producer-responsibility approach for the recovery of certain electronics, by a 52-to-zero vote.
Both chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature have agreed upon an amended HB 1584, thus the measure should be delivered to Governor John Lynch’s desk shortly for final approval. The bill establishes a state commission to study other states' approaches to recycling and proper disposal of e-scrap. The committee must report its findings before December 1st.
The New York Assembly has approved Assembly Bill 8444 by a vote of 112-to-24. The measure, which establishes a producer-responsibility system for the recovery of covered electronics, is currently being reviewed by a Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.
The House Energy and Technology Committee has progressed Oklahoma SB 1631 through its second committee reading. Creating the Oklahoma Computer Equipment Recovery Act, the measure creates a producer-responsibility system for the recovery of e-scrap.
A Rhode Island House Committee on Finance has scheduled a May 1st hearing to review HB 7880. The measure creates the Electronic Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling Act, utilizing a producer-responsibility approach to recover obsolete electronics

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Waste Minimization Program

The Region 8 Hazardous Waste Minimization Program (HWMP) provides advice and assistance to authorized state governments on matters related to the development, execution, and monitoring of hazardous waste minimization policies, plans, and programs. The HWMP places special emphasis on and supports national, regional, and state efforts to reduce the most persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals in hazardous waste streams.


Program Goals
The Hazardous Waste Minimization Program strives to:

Facilitate the achievement of PBT reduction goals by developing and providing necessary resources and waste minimization tools to state hazardous waste programs;

Measure the effectiveness and impact of state hazardous waste minimization activities on priority chemical reductions by conducting chemical and waste generation data analyses;

Disseminate technical and program information to the states, industry, and the general public;

Integrate waste minimization into other EPA programs and divisions.
What is Waste Minimization?
Waste Minimization is the reduction of wastes at their source before they are generated. Waste Minimization techniques focus on source reduction or environmentally sound recycling activities that reduce the volume and/or toxicity of hazardous wastes generated.
Even when hazardous wastes are stringently regulated and managed, they may sometimes pose environmental concerns. Accidents during handling and transportation of hazardous wastes can result in releases to the environment. EPA and the public devote billions of dollars annually to cleaning up contamination from past mismanagement of chemical wastes and properly managing wastes that are currently being generated. Better efforts to reduce chemical waste before it is even generated (i.e. waste minimization) would help lessen these concerns, as well as the need for these public and private expenditures on cleanups in the future.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has historically devoted much of its efforts on the "cradle-to-grave" management of hazardous wastes, including the development of controls at the ends of waste streams and the treatment and cleanup of pollutants after their generation. The shift in recent years from this traditional emphasis has been to a growing focus on the prevention of pollution at the source wherever possible.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as amended by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA) of 1984, describes a national policy emphasizing the primary priority as source reduction. In 1990, Congress further confirmed the key role of pollution prevention over waste management in environmental protection by passing the Pollution Prevention Act. On November 18, 1994, EPA released the Waste Minimization National Plan, which focuses on reducing the generation and subsequent release to the environment of the most persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic constituents (PBTs) in hazardous wastes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Earth 911

Earth 911

Electronics have revolutionized our lifestyle. Telephones, radios, TVs, computers and cell phones are items we use daily. These items make up the bulk of electronics that threaten the environment, because of their hazardous ingredients.

This section of waste is referred to as electronic waste, or e-waste.

Reuse and proper recycling prevents e-waste from reaching landfills, provides usable items to organizations that need them and recaptures valuable resources.

As new products hit the market, relevant information and resources are necessary to ensure old items are properly discarded. So, next time you upgrade that cell phone, or get the latest video game system, think twice about what happens to the old gadget:

Donate it. Either give it to a friend or family member that could benefit from a change. Old to you, is new to someone else. There are also organizations that collect old electronics and resell them for profit.
Consider renting or leasing electronics. If you’re going to upgrade in a year anyway, why waste the money?
If you do buy, buy green! With the ever changing and growing field of technology, companies make better devices that are more aware of their environmental impact. Research a product before you purchase it and support businesses that are doing their part.

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