Showing posts with label cadium battery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cadium battery. Show all posts

Monday, July 28, 2008

An “Apple” a Day, Keeps Emissions at Bay

by Thomas Ward

If it hasn’t been made apparent by now that I am somewhat of a “computer geek” (see “Go, Go, Green Gadgets” and “Geeks Can Be Green, Too“). However, I have always found myself wondering just how “green” some of these computer companies really are. With this in mind, I began researching different computer companies and their environmental habits. First on my list, came Apple Computers. According to their Web site:

Apple takes pride in its history of innovation and thoughtful design. But technological leadership goes beyond what’s in the box. How we impact the environment is also important to us, and environmental considerations are an integral part of Apple’s business practices. From the earliest stages of product design through manufacturing, use, and recycling, we take care to keep our activities and our products environmentally sound.

At first glance, it would seem as though Apple was doing what is known as “greenwashing”, or claiming that a product is environmentally friendly (even if the production process is not). After taking a look at their A Greener Apple Web site, however, one will notice the many environmental actions that Apple has taken over the last few years. According to their site:

Apple became the first company in the computer industry to completely eliminate CRTs. The effect has been stunning — our first CRT-based iMac contained 484 grams of lead; our current third-generation LCD-based iMac contains less than 1 gram of lead.

As you may or may not know, lead is contained in most older cathode-ray tube computer monitors (the large, bulky kind). What you may not know, however, is that lead, is a poisonous metal that can damage nerve connections and cause blood and brain disorders. By eliminating lead from their products, Apple has been keeping this poisonous element out of or landfills and out of our homes.

What really impresses me, however, is the future plans that Apple has to further reduce their impact on the environment. Their products already meet the Restriction of Hazardous Substances restrictions on cadmium, hexavalent chromium and brominated flame retardants, and they have plans to completely eliminate the use of arsenic in all of its displays by the end of 2008. In addition, Apple plans to eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays.

In addition to the large number of chemicals Apple has eliminated from their products through the years, they have also implemented a recycling program for e-waste. According to the Web site:

Apple started recycling in 1994 and today we operate recycling programs in countries where more than 82% of all Macs and iPods are sold. By the end of this year, that figure will increase to 93%.

The best part of Apple’s recycling program is that none of the e-waste that is collected by Apple goes overseas for disposal. All of the waste that is collected is processed here in the United States, which cuts down on transportation costs, and lowers the company’s overall carbon footprint, making them an environmental leader in the computer industry.

I do not own an Apple computer, but I am highly impressed by even the small steps that Apple Computers have taken to make our planet a little greener. From designing their products under the requirements of programs such as Energy Star, to placing an emphasis on energy efficiency, Apple has set a good example that all computer companies should follow.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Plastic recycling affects a range of products, from drink containers to shopping bags to pipes. Plastic is almost always the product of petroleum, a non-renewable resource. This makes recycling plastic even more important.

Curbside programs often make recycling plastic containers easier than other plastic products. You’ll likely be unable to recycle plastic bags, packaging and Styrofoam at the curb. This material is very recyclable at a qualified center; use Earth 911’s recycling locator to find one.

Some plastics are part of our daily lives whether we realize it or not.

To know the best way to recycle these products, let’s learn more about their lifecycles including where they are used, tips to recycle them and what happens to them next.

Plastic Bottles
Facts • Benefits of recycling • Tips on recycling • How it gets recycled • What’s next?

Plastic Bags
Facts • Benefits of recycling • Tips on recycling • How it gets recycled • What’s next?

Facts • Benefits of recycling • Tips on recycling • How it gets recycled • What’s next?

Plastic Packaging
Facts • Benefits of recycling • Tips on recycling • How it gets recycled • What’s next?

Plastic Casing
Facts • Benefits of recycling • Tips on recycling • How it gets recycled • What’s next?

Facts • Benefits of recycling • Tips on recycling • How it gets recycled • What’s next

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Greenpeace intercepts Hong Kong e-scrap shipment

Members of environmental watchdog group Greenpeace (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) recently boarded a cargo ship at a Hong Kong port claiming the ship was carrying e-scrap illegally exported from the U.S.
The activists boarded the vessel and unfurled a banner reading "Toxic waste not welcome here." Camping out on the containers, the Greenpeace activists demanded, in their words, that Hong Kong's "Environmental Protection Department (Hong Kong) amend their toxic waste regulations."
Greenpeace claims that it tracked three containers of printed circuit boards from the Port of Oakland, California on May 30th.
The group was able to get a verbal promise from the DEP to detain the containers, to "announce to the public their decision to detain the containers and at the soonest available time, they will begin discussions with Greenpeace to figure out the best way to tighten up Hong Kong’s toxic waste disposal regulations."

Friday, April 4, 2008

Facts & Figures

The rapidly growing quantities of e-waste make for some astonishing facts. Did you know that the annual amount of e-waste generated from end-of-life electrical and electronic products (WEEE) is estimated to be a two digit amount, in million tons! And this is predicted to double in the coming decades. Explore further statistical data showing global comparisons and country specific factsheets on quantities of e-waste, per capita e-waste generation, composition of different appliances in the waste pile etc.

Valuable Materials
Electronic appliances are composed of hundreds of different materials that can be both toxic but also of high value. Gold, silver, copper, platinum etc. are valuable materials which recyclers recover from e-waste.

Hazardous Material
Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) are made of a multitude of components which contain toxic / hazardous substances, e.g. carcinogens such as lead and arsenic. The recycling processes and disposal of these components, while being a lucrative business proposition for some, poses serious health risks and environment dangers.

Monday, March 24, 2008


E-waste is growing by more than bits and bytes as outdated stereos, TV sets and VCRs make way for newer technology. As these products pile up in garages, attics and basements, electronic waste (e-waste) recycling efforts have become a priority for businesses and municipalities.

To take action on burgeoning e-waste, Houston-based Waste Management Inc., began to offer e-waste recycling several years ago under its Phoenix, Ariz.-based Recycling America subsidiary. Simultaneously, the company has focused on large commercial accounts, such as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other commercial businesses, to expand its electronics recycling.

Services now are provided to public, private and nonprofit customers in 20 states through a network of more than 50 collection depots and four regional processing centers. Recycle America's electronics recycling program, branded eCycling in March 2002, is expected to recycle more than 40 million pounds of e-waste by the end of the year.

Recycling America's collection services include curbside collection, typically through bulky goods and drop-off programs for electronics. The company also has hosted than more 40 special collection events this year in California, Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota and several other states.
Processing costs range from $0.15 per pound to $0.35 per pound, depending on the commodity, customer needs (e.g., product identification, proprietary destruction, ability to resell) and material quantities. Rebates also are offered for precious metals, working and resalable equipment and components, and other select e-waste streams.

Recycle America faces challenges with electronics recycling. Even with the economies of scale and strong commodity marketing capabilities, the company has difficulty with certain markets that change frequently or are underdeveloped.

“The U.S. electronics recycling industry must overcome immature markets for materials such as cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and plastics,” the company says.

Despite the challenges, Recycle America encourages other businesses and municipalities to develop their own e-waste recycling programs. Doing so will help reduce a city's or company's disposal costs, better manage resources and minimize future liabilities from storing potentially hazardous products, according to the company.

The eCycling program, which began in 1996, has grown three-fold this year compared to 2001 and nearly eight-fold since 2000, particularly with municipal and government contracts, according to the company. Recycle America expects high growth from municipalities and limited commercial growth until an economic recovery is in full swing.

To prepare for growth, Recycle America is adding to its number of existing e-depots and e-waste consolidation facilities. Also, the company has focused on developing partnerships with other recyclers to deliver service through an integrated network of local and regional facilities.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Assault and Battery

Chinese workers pay for our cadmium-battery habit

Posted by Tom Philpott at 8:01 AM on 16 Jan 2008

Read more about: China United States toxics business consumerism climate greenhouse-gas emissions environmental justice

In the last 20 years, the United States has essentially dismantled its industrial base, moving production of consumer goods south to Mexico and east to Asia.

This has not only dramatically lowered the cost of goods, fueling a consumer boom; it has also helped make our economy less energy-intensive, and lowered our exposure to industrial waste.
But net gains for the environment and worker health have been imaginary. We've merely shifted the burdens of industrial production onto other lands and other people -- most recently, China.

Don't be a Cad.

I think this is the most important political-ecological story of our time -- made even more urgent by the specter of climate change (since for the climate, greenhouse-gas emissions from Huizhou, China, are just as damaging as those from Pittsburgh, Penn.). And I don't know of any other publication covering it with more rigor than the Wall Street Journal.

It has been running great articles on how U.S. demand for cheap goods is triggering a surge in consumption of Chinese coal. And on Tuesday, it ran a great piece on how U.S. industry responded to the well-documented hazards of cadmium-battery manufacturing by simply moving production to China, creating a nightmare for workers there.

Here is the Journal:

Once widely manufactured in the West, [cadmium] batteries are now largely made in China, where the industry is sickening workers and poisoning the soil and water.
Europe has banned most cadmium batteries. Not so the U.S., where they're "still widely used in toys, power tools, cordless phones and other gadgets." The article is worth reading in its entirety.

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles