Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Monday, September 27, 2010
A preliminary injunction against Target Corp. alleges that the retail chain illegally disposed of hazardous consumer products that were returned or damaged, Los Angeles and state prosecutors said Monday.
The order issued Friday by Alameda County Judge Steven A. Brick prohibits Target from engaging in practices that violate California environmental laws, said officials with the L.A. city attorney's office. Prosecutors also are seeking civil penalties against the Minneapolis-based company.
Specifically, the company was ordered not to dispose of hazardous waste at an unauthorized or unpermitted place nor transport hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility, among other rules.
There are about 200 Target stores and seven distribution centers in California, including about 50 in the city and county of Los Angeles, prosecutors said.
Company officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Prosecutors said the stores carry hundreds of items that pose environmental hazards, including bleach, paint, pesticides, aerosols, oven cleaners and automotive products. State environmental law strictly governs their disposal.
Investigators with the state attorney general's office and the Los Angeles city attorney's office say the company did not abide by those rules.
The investigators said they found in January 2008 that 5,000 pounds of products that could not be sold were sent by L.A.-area stores to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. According to investigators, the shipments included "damaged, leaking, unusable items with flammable, toxic and corrosive properties."
Last March, the attorney general, the Los Angeles city attorney and district attorneys from across the state launched an investigation that uncovered what officials described as ongoing violations of the state's hazardous-waste laws.
-- Andrew Blankstein
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Toms Shoes, the company that donates one pair of shoes to needy children around the globe for every pair of shoes they sell, asked friends to go barefoot on the beach to raise awareness for the cause.
On Thursday, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie left his slip-ons at home to mark the third year of One Day Without Shoes and asked friends, including actresses Olivia Wilde ("House") and Julia Jones ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"), to shed their heels at Axe restaurant and walk down Abbot Kinney to his sister Paige's Aviator Nation boutique. The point is to drive home the message of what it would be like to spend a day barefoot as many people around the world do when they lack the means to purchase a pair.
According to Toms' website, more than a quarter of a million people participated in 1,600 One Day Without Shoes events around the world, including the one here.
Mycoskie had biked to the office that morning wearing no shoes and had cut his foot within the first 45 minutes. "One Day without Shoes is to realize the importance of going without," he said.
"It feels great to go without shoes, but it's only for a day," said Wilde, who's about to start shooting "Cowboys and Aliens" with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. "It's a brilliant way to raise awareness of children in developing countries and put yourself in someone's shoes for a few hours."
Sunday, February 21, 2010
What is it about loft living that pushes people to go all-in on their design choices? Oh that's right. The lack of interior walls. Suddenly your living, dining, sleeping and cooking spaces have to relate to one another.
This week writer Audrey Davidow takes us behind the four doors at the Toy Factory Lofts building downtown. The bones of these apartments may once have been the same, but you'd never know it now. One resident, for instance, found decorating inspiration in from late 19th century Paris -- while a neighbor found it in modern Tokyo. Check them all out in our extensive photo gallery.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The list of events that seek to capitalize on the popularity of sustainability and worries about climate change is growing. Some conferences are so similar they cause deja vu, attendees say.
There are so many eco events that even the most gung-ho attendees and exhibitors say they suffer conference overload. Above, reusable bottles at the Go Green Expo in Los Angeles in January. (Christina House / For The Times / January 22, 2010)
Monday, September 7, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
A team studying the impact of diet on human heart tissue and mice found that cells showed the effects of a one-off sugar hit for a fortnight, by switching off genetic controls designed to protect the body against diabetes and heart disease.
"We now know that chocolate bar you had this morning can have very acute effects, and those effects can continue for up to two weeks," said lead researcher Sam El-Osta, from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.
"These changes continue beyond the meal itself and have the ability to alter natural metabolic responses to diet," he told Australian Associated Press Friday.
Regular poor eating would amplify the effect, said El-Osta, with genetic damage lasting months or years, and potentially passing through bloodlines.
The study's findings were reported in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
A schematic of a typical geothermal heat pump with an additional hot water heater. Credit: Geo-Heat Center Editor's Note: Each Wednesday LiveScience examines the viability of emerging energy technologies — the power of the future.
The term "geothermal energy" might bring to mind hot springs and billows of steam rising from the soil, but you can get energy from the ground without moving to Iceland or Yellowstone. You just need a geothermal heat pump.
"We call anything below the ground geothermal," said John Lund, director of the Geo-Heat Center at the Oregon Institute of Technology.
This includes geothermal heating, in which hot underground water is used to heat a building, and geothermal power, in which steam from very hot underground rock (more than 300 degrees Fahrenheit) is used to drive an electric generator.
However, these hydrothermal resources are only available in select areas. A geothermal heat pump (sometimes called a ground source heat pump) can work anywhere.
"They are the fastest growing geothermal use in the world," Lund told LiveScience, with about 20 percent annual growth.
Refrigerate the outdoors
If you've ever touched the tubes on the back of a working refrigerator, you know that it is pulling heat from the inside and radiating it to the rest of the kitchen.
A heat pump is like a refrigerator run backwards. It pulls heat from outdoors (as if it were trying to cool the outside) and releases it indoors.
In both a fridge and a heat pump, a system of tubes circulates a refrigerant fluid that becomes hot when compressed and cold when expanded.
To heat a home, the hot compressed fluid is typically passed through a heat exchanger that warms the air that feeds into a duct system. This "spent" fluid is then cooled through expansion and brought into contact with a ground source, so it can "recharge" with heat.
Although pumping the fluid requires electricity, a geothermal heat pump is more efficient than any alternative heating system. In fact, current models can produce as much as 4 kilowatts of heat for every 1 kilowatt of electricity. This is because they are not generating heat, but rather moving it from the outside.
And some heat pumps can cool as well as heat a home. A valve controls the direction of the fluid, so that heat can flow in both directions.
Down to earth
Some people are familiar with heat pumps that exchange heat with the air outside. These sometimes get lukewarm reviews because they do not work well when the temperature drops below freezing — just when you need them the most.
Geothermal heat pumps overcome this problem by exchanging heat with the ground, which maintains a constant temperature between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the location.
"You wouldn't notice the difference between a home with a geothermal heat pump and one with a gas furnace," Lund said.
There are a number of ways to pull heat from the ground.
The most popular is a vertical geothermal heat pump, in which holes are drilled 150 to 200 feet below the surface. Pipes installed in these holes circulate water (with a dash of anti-freeze) that brings up heat to warm the refrigerant fluid.
An alternative is the horizontal heat pump, where the water-filled pipes are laid about 6 feet deep over a wide area. Although less expensive, these systems require a lot of land to heat a moderate-size building.
For those who live near a body of water or who have their own water well, it is possible to use that water directly as the outside heat source.
The biggest drawback for geothermal heat pumps is that their initial cost can be several times that of traditional heating and cooling systems. The installation for a typical house can run from $6,000 to $13,000, according to ToolBase Services, a housing industry resource.
However, geothermal heat pumps can pay for themselves over time with reduced energy bills. A homeowner can save 30 to 70 percent on heating and 20 to 50 percent on cooling costs over conventional systems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This may be why their popularity is growing. The United States leads the way with close to a million geothermal heat pumps, mostly in the Midwest and East Coast. Another million units can be found throughout Europe and Canada.
"Maybe in Antarctica it wouldn't work, but everywhere else it does," Lund said.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
According to the agency's 2008 Report on Organized Crime, the illegal trafficking of e-scrap has grown in recent years, and the CISC expects the trade to peak between 2009-2011, due to the switch-over from analog-to-digital television broadcasting in the U.S. and Canada.
The fact that criminals are targeting waste electronics is stark evidence as the scrap's rising value in the global economy. "If it was not lucrative, organized crime groups would not be involved in it," said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner William Elliott.
The report further warns that "incorrect handling of some e-waste, such as obsolete disk drives, could be illicitly obtained by organized crime to collect and exploit government, corporate or personal information."
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
"The certification has been in development for four years and it required an understanding of what the market was requiring on the supply side and what was acceptable on the end-user side," explains IDC research manager David Daoud. "Traditionally, there has not been any standard in the industry … no particular body looking at what the requirements ought to be for asset management. Companies have not had a way to report back to their customers on how products are being recycled."
IDC has reviewed 25 companies in all, and hinted that more recipients of the new GRADE certification could be announced in the future. "My suspicion is that we will see more companies become certified, but they will be much smaller companies," says Daoud. Other firms on the list of 25 companies initially reviewed are continuing to consult with IDC over how to make the improvements necessary to achieve certification. Additionally, IDC expects the requirements for the GRADE certification to grow over time.
For more information on IDC and the GRADE certification, attend David Daouds presentation at E-Scrap 2008, September 17-18 in Glendale, Arizona.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
We’ve all been there—at the beach, empty beer bottle in hand, a trash can, but no recycling bin in sight. So we dump the bottle in the normal trash, perhaps feeling guilty we weren’t able to recycle it, perhaps not. Most likely, we rapidly forget about it—out of sight, out of mind, and onto the next beer.
The bottle, like the rest of our trash, may slip easily from our hands and minds, but it doesn’t leave our collective refuse piles so quickly. Landfills, which are lined with clay and plastic, layered with soil, and capped, are not extremely hospitable when it comes to microbial degradation. The three necessary components for decomposition—sunlight, moisture, oxygen—are hard to come by in a landfill; items are more likely to mummify than to break down.
But how long do things last? These rough estimates, compiled from U.S. National Park Service, United States Composting Council, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Sciences, and the New York City government, give an idea of how long our consumables remain after we’ve kissed them goodbye.
Glass Bottle—One Million Years
Okay, we don’t really know whether a glass bottle takes a million years, two million years, or a million years and one day to degrade since no one has been monitoring them for that long. But suffice it to say, when a glass bottle isn’t recycled, it sticks around for a really, really long time. Glass is primarily of composed of silica—the same material as sand—and doesn’t break down even under the harshest environments. Given the relatively inert conditions of a landfill, it’s likely the bottle of beer our forefathers sipped is still at large.
Plastic Bags—Unknown, Possibly 500+ Years
Plastic bags also have a hard time decomposing; estimates range from ten to twenty years when exposed to air to 500–1,000 years in a landfill. Since microbes don’t recognize polyethylene—the major component of plastic bags—as food, breakdown rates by this means in landfills is virtually nil. Though plastic bags can photodegrade, sunlight in landfills is scarce. Made with petroleum and rarely recycled, many cities have banned them in order to curb consumption and prevent their long-lasting presence in litter (e.g., the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—an island you don’t want to visit).
Plastic Beverage Bottles—Unknown, Possible 500+ years
Bottles face the same problem as plastic bags. Most soda and water bottles are composed of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a petroleum-based product that tends to last a long time in a landfill. Even newer bottles that claim to be biodegradable or photodegradable may take much longer than advertised. According to the Air and Waste Association, biodegradable plastics made with the addition of starch may just simply disintegrate into smaller non-degradable pieces: they don’t break down; they break up.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
The report urges state lawmakers to "follow Maine’s lead in forcing manufacturers of monitors, laptops and TVs to take responsibility for safe recycling of equipment bearing their brand names," the AP says
Monday, February 18, 2008
Simply put, a digital signal is an improvement over analog. Analog signals are susceptible to interference or "noise." Digital signals are more efficient, providing better picture and sound, and the opportunity to broadcast multiple content streams.
How dramatic is the digital transition? Eighteen broadcast channels—52 through 69 on the UHF band—will no longer exist. Since digital delivery frees up space, TV broadcasts along those frequencies will be discontinued. Roughly 145 stations in the US currently use those channels, and nearly all will continue on digital channels.The newly available space won't stay empty for long. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun accepting auction bids on five portions of the 700 MHz frequency (don't bother unless you have a couple billion dollars). Additionally, a small section, 20 MHz in size, has been set aside for public safety communications.
What will it mean to you when stations and providers cease analog signals in February 2009? That depends on the equipment you useto watch television.There's no need to do anything if:
You subscribe to digital cable TV
You subscribe to satellite TV programming, like DirecTV or DISH Network
You receive over-the-air TV signals with an antenna and digital TV, or antenna and digital tuner
You'll want to take action if:
You have an analog TV and receive signals via antenna. In this case, you'll need to purchase a converter box to watch digital programming The good news: The government is offering converter box coupons worth $40 each.
To learn more and see if you're eligible, visit the TV Converter Box Coupon Program website.
Simple facts about digital TVs:
Any TV shipped after March 1, 2007 must include a digital receiver
There may be some new televisions shipped before March 1 that don't include a digital receiver. In that case, the box must have a sticker explicitly saying so
TVs without digital tuners aren't necessarily "old." For instance, some HDTV models from 2006 are "digital ready"—they'll display digital signals, but only when connected to digital cable or a digital receiver. For these, you may see phrases like "digital monitor" or "HDTV monitor" on the box
Our advice: Read carefully and ask questions if you're not sure. Check your TV manual. Call your cable service. Many of you already watch digital television. For you, our advice is simple: Enjoy.
Bose has a variety of home theater audio options to complement your digital TV. From innovative two-speaker setups to premium 5.1-channel surround sound systems, Bose brings more to your home entertainment experience.See home theater systems on Bose.com »
Thursday, February 14, 2008
THE SUBJECT OF BIODIESEL AND LOWER SULFER REGS WERE BEING TALKED ABOUT FOR SEVERAL YEARS. A FEW YEARS AGO WE PURCHASED A NEW DIESEL GENERATOR FOR OUR PLANT. BEFORE IT WAS PURCHASED, THE QUESTION WAS ASKED IF THIS GEN WOULD RUN ON THE LOW SULFER DIESEL BEING REQUIRED OR THE BIODIESEL BEING PROPOSED.
THE ENGINEER SAID IT WOULD, BUT THE OFFROAD ENGINES WOULDN’T HAVE TO RUN ON IT. AS OF DEC, 2007 OFFROAD DIESELS MUST NOW RUN ON THE LOW SULFER HIGHWAY FUEL. A CALL WAS PLACED TO THE MANUFACTURER, AND THEY SAID THE DIESEL WILL RUN FINE ON THE LOW SULFER DIESEL AND UP TO 5% BIODIESEL. ANOTHER TRUCKING OUTFIT SAYS THEY ARE PUTTING AN ADDITIVE IN THEIR TRUCKS THAT CAN’T RUN ON LOW SULFER FUEL.
IF THE REGS GET TO A POINT WHERE THEY FORCE HIGHER BIODIESEL USE, WILL THERE BE AN ADDITIVE TO ALLOW THE OFFROAD DIESELS TO RUN, OR WOULD THEY HAVE TO RETROFITTED , AND WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
It is always the best approach to speak to the manufacturer of the equipment if using fuels that do not comply to the original reccommendations.
Sulfur is a natural lubricant, and reducing the sulfur in fuel can create issue on some older equipment, however if you use a high quality fuel, not the cheapest you can find, it will have suplementary wear additives to compensate for the reduced sulfur.
Bio fuel is another matter all together, and studies are being conducted to establish the effects of using bio fuel with mixed results, however one thing is clear, if using bio fuel ensure it is of a consistant quality, and from a reputable source, as damage from poor fuel can be expensive and irreversible.
Again it is worth checking with the manufacturer of your equipment, but it appears that B5 (5% bio in diesel) can be used on most equipment.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Effective July 1, 2007,
Sales of New or Refurbished
Portable DVD Players with
Liquid Crystal Displays
(measuring more than four inches diagonally)
Are Subject to theElectronic Waste Recycling (Ewaste) Fee
To register and report theEwaste feeor for more information,please contact us at
www.boe.ca.gov/sptaxprog/ewaste.htm or call the Environmental FeesWaste Reduction Section at 916-341-6906 State Board of Equalization , www.boe.ca.gov
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
"By directing state agencies to be more responsible with potentially toxic electronic waste, we can ensure that state government is doing what it can to keep our land and water clean, and people safe," said Blagojevich in a statement, adding, "Industries and households across Illinois also dispose of outdated or broken electronic equipment. We should make sure they are not putting the public in harm's way when they dispose of their electronics. I will urge the General Assembly to build on the efforts of my administration by adopting statewide electronics recycling legislation."
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