Showing posts with label NBC Channel 4 Los Angels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NBC Channel 4 Los Angels. Show all posts

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Business Leader of the Week

John S. Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), discussed the urgent environmental and human rights implications of effective "e-waste" recycling today on "The Alan Autry Show," hosted by Fresno's Mayor Autry.
Shegerian was featured as a guest on the "Business Street: Business Leader of the Week" segment of Autry's show, on Fresno-based KYNO 1300 AM. Autry is a former NFL football player and actor. He achieved success by starring in the TV program "In the Heat of the Night," among other roles in film and television before becoming Fresno's Mayor.

As this week's "Business Leader of the Week," Shegerian shared insights on his personal life and career as a social entrepreneur, launching a number of businesses that benefit society and the environment, including his current venture, ERI, the nation's leading recycler of electronic waste.

"It's a great honor to have been named 'Business Leader of the Week' and to have been asked to guest on our great Mayor Autry's show," said Shegerian. "The Mayor has been very supportive of our environmental mission and of our effort to recycle lives by giving individuals a second chance at making a n honest living. At ERI we tip our hat to the excellent job he has done here in Fresno."

Now the largest recycler of electronic waste in the world, Fresno-headquartered Electronic Recyclers is licensed to de-manufacture and recycle televisions, computer monitors, computers, and other types of electronic equipment. ERI processes more than 140 million pounds of electronic waste annually.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mini nuclear plants

....... to power 20,000 homes£13m shed-size reactors will be delivered by lorryJohn Vidal and Nick Rosen guardian.co.uk, Sunday November 9 2008 00.01 GMT The Observer, Sunday November 9 2008 Article historyNuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.'

Deal claims to have more than 100 firm orders, largely from the oil and electricity industries, but says the company is also targeting developing countries and isolated communities. 'It's leapfrog technology,' he said.

The company plans to set up three factories to produce 4,000 plants between 2013 and 2023. 'We already have a pipeline for 100 reactors, and we are taking our time to tool up to mass-produce this reactor.'

The first confirmed order came from TES, a Czech infrastructure company specialising in water plants and power plants. 'They ordered six units and optioned a further 12. We are very sure of their capability to purchase,' said Deal. The first one, he said, would be installed in Romania. 'We now have a six-year waiting list. We are in talks with developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Bahamas.'

The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory. An application to build the plants will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year.

'You could never have a Chernobyl-type event - there are no moving parts,' said Deal. 'You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it's too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.'

Other companies are known to be designing micro-reactors. Toshiba has been testing 200KW reactors measuring roughly six metres by two metres. Designed to fuel smaller numbers of homes for longer, they could power a single building for up to 40 years.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Best US Green Places to Live?

Country Home magazine, in conjunction with Sperling's BestPlaces, reveals that Burlington, Vermont is the 2007 Best Green Place to live in America.

Burlington is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain between the Adirondack and Green Mountains in northwest Vermont and has a population of 40,000. With programs like Burlington Eco Info Project, the community of Burlington, including the residents, businesses and government, values a green lifestyle and makes it a priority.

"We are seeing a real interest, by both our readers and the marketplace, in exploring a green lifestyle," said Editor-in-Chief Carol Sheehan. "We wanted to find out who in America is actually taking action, where they are, and what they are doing."


Best Green Places
Burlington, VT
Ithaca, NY
Corvallis, OR
Springfield, MA
Wenatchee, WA
Charlottesville, VA
Boulder, CO
Madison, WI
Binghamton, NY
Champaign-Urbana, IL
Ann Arbor, MI
San Diego, CA
La Crosse, WI
Pittsfield, MA
Eau Claire, WI
Durham, NC
Norwich-New London, CT
Eugene, OR
San Francisco, CA
Chico, CA
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA
Barnstable Town, MA
Utica-Rome, NY
Missoula, MT
Asheville, NC

The Best Green Places study, which is based on data discovered by Sperling's BestPlaces, examines 24 data metrics in 5 major categories -- including air and watershed quality, mass transit usage, power usage, farmers markets, organic producers, and number of green-certified buildings -- to determine which metro areas are the best places to live a green life. Sperling's BestPlaces ranked the 379 major metropolitan areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Over 80 percent of all U.S. residents live in these 379 metro areas.

Data was collected from sources which include the Census Bureau, the U.S. Green Building Council, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the GreenPeople.org online directory.

Among its unique green attributes, Burlington has developed a compost facility that collects food scraps from restaurants, supermarkets, institutions and food manufacturers, and the yard clippings and leaves from local residents and landscapers. Once finished composting, local farmers, gardeners and landscapers purchase this nutrient rich soil to use.

Over 16 percent of Ithaca residents (or 5,000 people) walk to work -- the highest percentage in the nation. Combine that with bike riders, mass transit users and home office workers and Ithaca has the greenest commuters.

In Corvallis, over 15 percent residents, as well as the city government, purchase renewable energy. Corvallis was the first city on the West Coast to achieve the Green Power Community designation from the U.S. EPA. The achievement was met after the Corvallis City Council passed a resolution encouraging residents to switch to 'green power.'

Springfield's ReStore accepts donations home improvement materials and sells them to the public at low prices in a convenient retail setting. Inventory includes used and salvaged materials and surplus stock from the building industry.

Wentachee is dedicated to teaching young people about alternative energy resources. Each year at the world's only Solar Drag Race, high school and college students, build and race battery-less, sunlight-propelled dragsters for a chance to win scholarships.

The Charlottesville community puts a value on trees, parks, greenspace, streams and biodiversity. In an effort to balance the natural and built environment and practice sustainability, Charlottesville encourages the use of green roofs, rainwater harvesting, porous paving and rain gardens. These concepts are being demonstrated by the city to encourage adoption in parks and public spaces.

Boulder has the country's best organic food supply. The state's largest farmers' market is in Boulder and runs from April to November and is backed by Whole Foods and a network of co-ops and local producers.

In Madison, the Eco-Fruit project, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has both policy and field components that enable Wisconsin fruit growers to reduce pesticide use without sacrificing fruit quality. In the Eco-Fruit project's first two years, growers reduced pesticide risk by 58 percent and increased their reliance on Integrated Pest Management strategies by 13 percent.

Binghamton nonprofit organizations extensively promote healthy and organic eating habits. One volunteer group, Club VEG reaches out to educate the public, health care professionals, and health organizations about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Renewable Energy Initiative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is working to meet the state's renewable portfolio standard which requires that, by 2006, at least 2% of the electricity sold to Illinois customers be generated from renewable resources. The amount of electricity from renewable resources is required to increase at least by 1% annually, reaching at least 8% in 2012 and 16% in 2020.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

ID Theft

Notification Laws Doesn't Slow Identity Theft


In 2003, California's SB 1386 went into law. The law required businesses that suffered data breaches to disclose the breach to all those exposed. The idea was that notifying people would reduce identity theft. Over the last five years, 42 other states had enacted similar laws. But have these laws had an impact on the rates of identity theft?

According to a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University the answer is no. Researches could find not statistical link between the breach notification laws and rates of identity theft.

The conclusion matches what I would expect. Data breaches are not the same as data thefts. A data breach is most likely just an error and the data usually ends up in the trash. A data theft is the result of a deliberate act where the data is most likely being used for nefarious purposes.

Laws should allow some flexibility for a business to alert consumers when a real theft occurs but doesn't raise an undue scare for a lost tape that can only be read by a few machines.

Read More.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In a Landfill, How Long Does Trash Really Last?

By: Brie Cadman (View Profile)


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.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Sahara

Sahara made slow transition from green to desert

A picture taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Terra satelliteon shows dust blowing northward out of the Sahara Desert and over the Mediterranean Sea. The Sahara became the world's biggest hot desert some 2,700 years ago after a very slow fade from green, according to a new study which clashes with the theory that desertification came abruptly.


The Sahara became the world's biggest hot desert some 2,700 years ago after a very slow fade from green, according to a new study which clashes with the theory that desertification came abruptly.

Six thousand years ago, the massive arid region dominating northern Africa was quite green, a patchwork of trees and savannas as well as many sparkling lakes.

The region, larger than Australia, also was inhabited, according to the European-US-Canadian team of scientists behind a study in Science dated May 9.

Most of the physical elements that could tell the tale of the Sahara's geographic evolution have been lost. The scientists studied layers of sediment in one of the largest remaining Sahara lakes, Yoa, in a remote spot in northern Chad, which took them back through six millennia of climate history.

They looked at sediments, did soil tests and reviewed biological indicators such as plant and tree pollen and spores that were present before the desert encroached. They also studied the remains of aquatic microorganisms.

Their findings contradicted previous modeling that indicated a rapid collapse of vegetation in the region in a sudden end to the African Humid Period, about 5,500 years ago, said Stefan Kropelin, a geologist at the Prehistoric Archaeology Institute of the University of Cologne who took part in the new study.

In 2000, a study by Peter de Menocal of Columbia University of sediments in the west of Mauritania found a sudden increase in wind-carried dust blown off the Sahara region, suggesting swift climate change.

But data from Lake Yoa shows the opposite, and the transition to desert took its time, said Kropelin. He said he believed de Menocal's data were not wrong but misinterpreted.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

DURING THE PAST two years, numerous newspapers and television stories have focused on the management of electronic waste (e-waste), such as personal computers, televisions and cell phones. Usually, e-waste is considered a problem because ever-increasing amounts will be thrown away in the next few years. Additionally, many types of e-waste fail the toxic characteristic leachate procedure (TCLP) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's (RCRA) Subtitle C regulations.

Two states have banned e-waste disposal in Subtitle D landfills. Massachusetts has a wide-ranging ban, for which it created a grant fund for e-waste materials recycling. California bans cathode ray tubes (CRTs) from Subtitle D landfills. But the problem with California's restriction is that waste haulers and local governments are responsible for e-waste recycling costs.
Last year, California tried to add financial viability to its program through a $10 point-of-purchase recycling fee on certain electronic products, but the legislation was vetoed by Gov. Gray Davis.

To help offset recycling's cost, Congress introduced legislation requiring a similar $10 fee when purchasing a laptop computer, notebook or monitor (H.R. 1165). However, most state and federal legislation dies without a hearing.

A decade ago, when states passed significant legislation requiring recycling, few states included financial support for their programs.

As a result, maintaining recycling programs and encouraging entrepreneurship for new recycling markets has been a continual struggle. The industry is hopeful that the knowledge gained from this experience will help to develop e-waste programs.

At the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), members and staff recently approved an industry policy about e-waste disposal and recycling to help direct decisionmakers. The policy emphasizes that the waste industry supports mandated e-waste recycling, but only when the mandate is backed by sound financing.

NSWMA's policy discussed two ways that already exist to recycle e-waste. The first approach is called “take-back” legislation, through which product manufacturers are responsible for receiving used electronic products and guaranteeing their safe recycling or disposal. The second method uses an “advance recycling fee,” which consumers pay at purchase time, to fund the recycling of electronic products. The key to these programs is that recycling becomes financially viable, the cost is distributed fairly to the users of the products and the entities that know best how to re-use such materials are the ones who receive them.

The four components of developing good e-waste and recycling programs are outlined in NSWMA's policy:

Build upon existing solid waste and recycling infrastructure for e-waste collection and processing.

Provide financial support for e-waste recycling through advance recycling fees or take-back provisions.

Ensure environmental, health and safety standards for the proper management of collected materials, including reporting and documentation procedures for end-markets.
Support programs that develop new processing technologies and new markets, including those that use recycled content in new electronic products. Also, in the case of take-back programs, support those that rate and date e-waste to ensure accountability.

Eventually, e-waste recycling will be the subject of national legislation, allowing manufacturers and distributors to create more financially viable programs as opposed to separate plans for individual states. And to the extent that states decide to move forward with their individual e-waste recycling programs, the waste industry will continue to work with decision-makers in understanding how to make sense of the options.

For more information on NSWMA's policy and recycling efforts, contact Chaz Miller, director of state programs toll-free at (800) 424-2869 or e-mail cmiller@envasns.org.
Alice P. Jacobsohn is the EIA's manager of public affairs and industry research.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Does recycling pay?

In the early 1980s, New Jersey environmental officials adopted a slogan: "Recycling Pays." They now regret that choice of words.

Recycling managers in New Jersey and throughout the nation are in-creasingly under scrutiny to justify the costs and benefits of their operations. Many managers feel that they are fighting against the unrealistic expectations of residents and elected officials, who want to see profits from the sale of recycled materials.

As providers of public services, recycling managers should be able to quantify the costs and benefits of their programs, but the programs should not be judged against a profit goal. Because recycling is a solid waste management option, it should be judged against competing options such as source reduction, landfilling, incineration and composting.

The critical question is not, "Did your recycling program cost the residents money?" Cost is unavoidable and must be expected. Instead, ask, "Do the recycling costs reduce the total cost of disposing your community's solid waste?" Residents expect to pay for garbage disposal, and recycling is simply an alternative method for disposing of their household waste.

To answer these cost-benefit questions, first identify the community's or organization's total cost of recycling. Then, compare that figure to costs that would have been incurred without recycling. The calculation is built around the following formula: Net costs or savings of recycling is equal to total recycling collection and processing costs plus or minus recycling disposal costs minus avoided costs of garbage collection and disposal.

For managers at public agencies, some relevant costs may be difficult to quantify. For example, private firms must account for the cost of renting or acquiring property and facilities such as garages or administrative office space. Public operations often do not have comparable costs on their ledgers, but the costs can be estimated using average local rental rates for office and garage space. Total costs also must include direct and overhead costs of employees whose functions are not directly related to recycling programs, such as receptionists, lawyers, custodians and auditors.

Many publicly run programs have never had to consider such items, but they must be included to determine the full cost of providing a public service.

Next, add these costs to any additional charges required to dispose the recyclables. If you are able to sell your materials rather than pay to dispose them, sales revenue should be subtracted from program costs to determine the total cost of recycling. Regional price differences, transportation costs, quality factors and volatility in market prices may dictate that some operations receive money for their materials while others pay markets to accept them.
Finally, the total costs of recycling must be compared with any reduced garbage collection and disposal costs to determine the net costs or savings of recycling.

Figuring It Out To illustrate the point, consider an example in which a municipal recycling program identifies $147,810 in direct and overhead expenses to provide curbside commingled recycling to a community of 15,000 residents. The program collected 1,950 tons of recyclables, and it paid an average of $10 per ton to send its recyclables to a privately operated material recovery facility.

In one year, the community contracted with a private hauler to collect solid waste at a fixed cost of $357,000 for the year, paid a garbage tipping fee of $100 per ton at a transfer station and disposed 9,440 tons of garbage.

The calculations for net cost or savings of recycling are:

* The cost of recycling collection ($147,810) plus the cost of disposing recyclables (1,950 tons at $10 per ton) equals the total cost of recycling ($167,310).

Does recycling pay?

In the early 1980s, New Jersey environmental officials adopted a slogan: "Recycling Pays." They now regret that choice of words.


Recycling managers in New Jersey and throughout the nation are in-creasingly under scrutiny to justify the costs and benefits of their operations. Many managers feel that they are fighting against the unrealistic expectations of residents and elected officials, who want to see profits from the sale of recycled materials.


As providers of public services, recycling managers should be able to quantify the costs and benefits of their programs, but the programs should not be judged against a profit goal. Because recycling is a solid waste management option, it should be judged against competing options such as source reduction, landfilling, incineration and composting.


The critical question is not, "Did your recycling program cost the residents money?" Cost is unavoidable and must be expected. Instead, ask, "Do the recycling costs reduce the total cost of disposing your community's solid waste?" Residents expect to pay for garbage disposal, and recycling is simply an alternative method for disposing of their household waste.


To answer these cost-benefit questions, first identify the community's or organization's total cost of recycling. Then, compare that figure to costs that would have been incurred without recycling. The calculation is built around the following formula: Net costs or savings of recycling is equal to total recycling collection and processing costs plus or minus recycling disposal costs minus avoided costs of garbage collection and disposal.


For managers at public agencies, some relevant costs may be difficult to quantify. For example, private firms must account for the cost of renting or acquiring property and facilities such as garages or administrative office space. Public operations often do not have comparable costs on their ledgers, but the costs can be estimated using average local rental rates for office and garage space. Total costs also must include direct and overhead costs of employees whose functions are not directly related to recycling programs, such as receptionists, lawyers, custodians and auditors.


Many publicly run programs have never had to consider such items, but they must be included to determine the full cost of providing a public service.


Next, add these costs to any additional charges required to dispose the recyclables. If you are able to sell your materials rather than pay to dispose them, sales revenue should be subtracted from program costs to determine the total cost of recycling. Regional price differences, transportation costs, quality factors and volatility in market prices may dictate that some operations receive money for their materials while others pay markets to accept them.
Finally, the total costs of recycling must be compared with any reduced garbage collection and disposal costs to determine the net costs or savings of recycling.


Figuring It Out To illustrate the point, consider an example in which a municipal recycling program identifies $147,810 in direct and overhead expenses to provide curbside commingled recycling to a community of 15,000 residents. The program collected 1,950 tons of recyclables, and it paid an average of $10 per ton to send its recyclables to a privately operated material recovery facility.


In one year, the community contracted with a private hauler to collect solid waste at a fixed cost of $357,000 for the year, paid a garbage tipping fee of $100 per ton at a transfer station and disposed 9,440 tons of garbage.


The calculations for net cost or savings of recycling are:


* The cost of recycling collection ($147,810) plus the cost of disposing recyclables (1,950 tons at $10 per ton) equals the total cost of recycling ($167,310).

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Digital

There are computers in the Himalayas, the Andes and the Arctic, and hardly a place left on earth to which someone has not brought a laptop or cell phone. High-tech electronics have transformed the world in ways that benefit us all. But in the 40-plus years since commercial semiconductor and computer manufacturing began, we have paid relatively little attention to the environmental and health impacts of producing and disposing of the microchip-powered devices that propel the Information Age. With 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste discarded annually worldwide, some 2 million tons of e-waste — laden with lead and other heavy metals — going to U.S. landfills each year and environmentally risky recycling procedures overseas, the problems have become urgent.

When it can no longer be made to work, computer and other electronic equipment begins its circuitous return journey to smelters, refineries and plastics factories. In the United States, 90 percent of our discarded electronics are placed in landfills to slowly degrade, are liquefied in municipal incinerators or are stored away in basements and closets. In the absence of any federal regulation of e-waste, what we do with our electronic discards currently depends on laws enacted by state and local governments.

In recent years, state legislatures throughout the country have introduced dozens of e-waste bills, and a handful of substantive laws have now been passed. Many more are on the way. The impetus for this flurry of activity comes from several sources — primarily from overseas — that have awakened communities to the liabilities posed by improper disposal of e-waste.
Asked what spurred them to action, a number of government officials I have interviewed cited shocking photographs of e-waste exported to China, India and Africa for primitive recycling. The pictures — many taken by the Basel Action Network for its “Exporting Harm” and “Digital Dumps” documentaries — vividly show the health hazards posed by such practices. They also reveal identification tags linking the equipment to businesses, schools, governments and hospitals in the United States and other countries.

At the same time, the European Union (EU) has enacted legislation that makes electronics recycling mandatory and restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in new electronic s. Given the global nature of the high tech industry, these materials restrictions will effectively become international standards. They're already having an impact in the United States.
For example, Maine, Maryland and, most recently, Washington, have passed state e-waste bills that, like the EU's recycling law, require manufacturers to participate financially in the recycling process. Electronics recycling in the EU and in Japan carries no overt cost to the consumer, also a feature of the Washington law. The EU directive also requires manufacturers to provide materials listings to recyclers, a process in which U.S. electronics manufacturers already are involved.

Meanwhile, manufacturers have started expanding their U.S.-based take-back and recycling programs. In addition, several states — including California, Illinois, Michigan and New York — have restricted the use of substances included in the EU's legislation.

This proliferation of e-waste recycling options and requirements — confusing to consumers, recyclers and manufacturers — may prompt substantive action at the federal level. Furthermore, many changes in the design of high tech electronics to reduce their environmental impacts and health hazards are already underway. If the trend toward manufacturer participation in e-waste recycling continues, so should additional progress toward more ecologically sound products. Solving the problems posed by e-waste will require continued action, involving both consumer and industry responsibility, as well as regulation, both local and global.

Elizabeth Grossman is the Portland, Ore.-based author of High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, published by Island Press.

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

http://www.ewastedisposal.net