Showing posts with label e-waste. Show all posts
Showing posts with label e-waste. Show all posts

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nascar green flags 'e-scrap' recycling program


Nascar green flags 'e-scrap' recycling program

The sophisticated electronic components in race cars, fleet vehicles and the big rigs used for NASCAR are expected to be fodder for an e-waste program the racing organization is starting this season.

NASCAR plans to work on the initiative with Creative Recycling Systems, based Tampa, Fla., in the latest addition to the racing organization's recycling program, which already claims bragging rights as the largest and most diverse in pro sports.

NASCAR and CRS recently announced that the recycling firm has become one of the racing group's Official Green Partners. The company was introduced as a new green partner Friday in Daytona as fans and drivers prepared for the first race of the 2012 season in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.

The new relationship has huge potential for expanding the scope and volume of recycling by NASCAR and its business-to-business partners, said Mike Lynch, the managing director of NASCAR Green Innovation. "The real impact of these folks is pretty cool," he said.

Creative Recycling provides collection, recycling and recovery solutions for e-waste -- typically business equipment, personal gadgets and household electronics. The firm also contends with banking, financial and medical technology that has reached the end of its useful life in its original state.

Now, Creative Recycling will also recycle office equipment from NASCAR and its many business partners, including venues and race teams, said Lynch.

CRS also is to become the go-to firm for recycling electronic components in all the vehicles that make NASCAR possible, Lynch said. That ranges from the showpieces of the industry that speed around the tracks to the workaday vehicles -- the business cars used in fleets as well as the caravans of semis that haul NASCAR's portable media operations center, race cars, and driver and team equipment from venue to venue.

And CRS will work with NASCAR on fan engagement events, including collection drives, to promote the idea of e-waste recycling.

CRS will start with recycling the organization's business electronics and computer equipment, and then will expand the program to other materials and the promotions for fans as the two green partners develop their new relationship, Lynch said. He said he anticipates further news on the initiative, along with details on some activities for fans, this spring in time for Earth Day.

Boosting E-Scrap Recycling

The likely tonnage of e-scrap from NASCAR and its business partners can help expand the scope and reach of CRS's services, and NASCAR's broader recycling program, said the recycling company and the racing organization. And promoting the concept to the audience of America's No. 1 spectator sport, whose following is estimated at 75 million, is expected to raise the awareness of recycling personal and household electronics, computers and gadgets -- items that range from cell phones and laptops to TVs and stereo systems.

In business, e-cycling has become an expectation, Lynch said. "Companies are realizing that it is no longer acceptable for this material to go into landfill," he said.

More and more consumers are realizing it as well but are often stymied because it's not as easy to deal with e-waste as it is to recycle a newspaper or a bottle. Users have to find a place that accepts e-scrap and, often, must bring their material to a collection site. Bigger items, like televisions, can be problematic. And it's not always clear whether the items will be processed responsibly or domestically.

"And so, people will often just put their items into the trash and cringe," said Lynch. NASCAR focused on CRS because of its credibility as a responsible recycler, he said.

 http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/02/25/nascar-gives-green-flag-e-scrap-recycling-program

Friday, December 26, 2008

Full of powerful wind? Bury it in the ground for later

By Glenn Fleishman

A not-so-new notion is gaining traction for storing power generated at nonpeak times: compress regular air into underground chambers, then retrieve it later to spin turbines.

Wind power can be generated any time the wind is blowing at the same cost day and night. Because there's no efficient way to store power when it's generated but not needed, utilities and wind-power farms around the world are already having to slough off power as wind-based generation scales to something beyond scattered projects.

The New York Times blogs about a variety of efforts focused on using the excess electricity from some wind systems to compress air into sealed underground chambers, such as those left behind from various kinds of pumping and mining operations. The compressed air has potential energy that can be released later.

The current generation of compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems have to burn natural gas to heat the compressed air before the air can be used to turn turbines and recapture a good fraction of the energy used in compression. Future CAES plants are planned that skip the natural-gas input, shunting waste head from compression into the decompression process.

Certain parts of the world are better suited to using CAES for energy storage. In Ontario, the Toronto Star reported a few days ago that there are 50,000 wells in the province of which just 2,000 are still in use. Some of these wells are used for a different kind of stored energy: compressed natural gas, pumped and held until demand requires its release. Others could be used to store compressed air.

The comments on the Times blog entry are particularly interesting, with the author of a significant paper on the technology chiming in, along with a wind industry representative named Michael Goggin. Goggin wrote that storage is unnecessary because other types of generation can be shut down on demand in favor of wind—water can be held behind a dam for later release or natural gas held in pipes for later burning.

But that's surprisingly idealistic. In the real world, the cheapest power is used first. If wind power is generated during nonpeak times, less money is paid for it, even with the subsidies in effect in many countries to encourage wind generation. Goggin's scenario works only if the costs are the same among different forms of generation, or a single utility owns the various forms of generation and chooses a more-expensive method to obtain carbon credits or meet greenhouse gas emission goals.

This view also requires that transmission systems are capable of moving wind power at nonpeak times precisely to where it's best needed. As Sandia National Laboratories researcher Georgianne Peek said (in a press release about an Iowa CAES project) in June 2008, "The wind blows in some areas when electricity is not needed or where the transmission system can't accept all of the energy."

If wind power can be offset from nonpeak to peak times, then it becomes more viable, and thus sees greater use. This could balance green-power principles (more wind generation) with market motivations (lowest cost).

While batteries can also be used to store energy, they are expensive to make, use hazardous and toxic metals and compounds, and can't hold energy for very long. They're useful in specific situations, like home storage and backup with solar systems. Peak shifting, in which power generation is used during off hours to be reclaimed in some form during more expensive daytime uses, involves everything from next-generation flywheels to making ice power air conditioning during the day to providing incentives and for future electric-car owners to charge their cars primarily overnight

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A quicker, easier way to make coal cleaner

Construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States is in danger of coming to a standstill, partly due to the high cost of the requirement -- whether existing or anticipated -- to capture all emissions of carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas. But an MIT analysis suggests an intermediate step that could get construction moving again, allowing the nation to fend off growing electricity shortages using our most-abundant, least-expensive fuel while also reducing emissions.

Instead of capturing all of its CO2 emissions, plants could capture a significant fraction of those emissions with less costly changes in plant design and operation, the MIT analysis shows.

"Our approach -- 'partial capture' -- can get CO2 emissions from coal-burning plants down to emissions levels of natural gas power plants," said Ashleigh Hildebrand, a graduate student in chemical engineering and the Technology and Policy Program. "Policies such as California's Emissions Performance Standards could be met by coal plants using partial capture rather than having to rely solely on natural gas, which is increasingly imported and subject to high and volatile prices."

Hildebrand will present her findings on Nov. 18 at the 9th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies in Washington. Her co-author is Howard J. Herzog, principal research engineer at the MIT Energy Initiative and chair of the conference organizing committee.

The United States is facing a pressing need for more power plants that run essentially all the time. Renewable sources aren't suited to the task, nuclear plants can't be built quickly enough, and expanded reliance on natural gas raises price and energy-security concerns. Coal, which now supplies more than half of all U.S. electricity, seems the best option.

But as several states have started to regulate CO2 emissions, and others are expected to follow suit, some of the luster has come off coal. Amid the uncertainty, no one wants to be the "first mover" on building a new coal plant incorporating carbon capture and storage (CCS). Depending on the type of plant, carbon capture alone can increase the initial capital cost by 30 to 60 percent and decrease plant efficiency so that the cost per kilowatt-hour rises. That high cost would reduce a plant's economic competitiveness, meaning it might be called on to run on a limited basis, or not at all. Plus, CCS hasn't been proved at full scale, so no one knows exactly what to expect.

In Herzog's view, the call for full carbon capture is "a policy of inaction, a policy that won't move forward either new coal plants or the CCS technology." Partial capture could be a viable intermediate step.

The push for full capture (defined as 90 percent of the total) is in part economic: everyone assumed that 90 percent capture would -- due to economies of scale -- yield the lowest cost per ton of CO2 removed. Anything less than 90 percent would mean a higher per-ton cost.

To investigate that assumption, Hildebrand and Herzog modeled the technological changes and costs involved in capturing fractions ranging from zero to 90 percent. The model takes into account technological breakpoints. For example, carbon capture is achieved by a series of devices that absorb CO2, release it and compress it. Full capture may require two or more parallel series.

The model confirms that the cost per ton of CO2 removed declines as the number of captured tons increases. Not surprisingly, when the second series is added, cost per ton goes up, but it then quickly levels off. Cost per ton is thus roughly the same at, say, 60 percent capture as it is at 90 percent capture. Since there are no economies of scale to be gained by going to 90 percent, companies can remove less -- and significantly reduce their initial capital investment as well as the drop in efficiency once the plant is running.

The researchers conclude that as a near-term measure, partial capture looks promising. New coal plants with lower CO2 emissions would generate much-needed electricity while also demonstrating carbon capture and providing a setting for testing CO2 storage -- steps that will accelerate the large-scale deployment of full capture in the future.

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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

7 Environmental Problems That Are Worse Than We Thought


With as much attention as the environment has been getting lately, you’d think that we’d be further along in our fight to preserve the world’s species, resources and the beautiful diversity of nature. Unfortunately, things aren’t nearly that rosy. In fact, many of the environmental problems that have received the most public attention are even worse than we thought – from destruction in the rain forest to melting glaciers in the Arctic. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

7. Mammal Extinction


One in four mammals is threatened with extinction. That’s 25%, a huge number that will totally change the ecology of every corner of the earth. We could see thousands of species die out in our lifetime, and the rate of habitat loss and hunting in crucial areas like Southeast Asia, Central Africa and Central and South America is growing so rapidly, these animals barely have a chance.

If you think the extinction of an animal like the beautiful Iberian Lynx is no big deal, and wouldn’t have that much of an effect on the planet, think again. Not only would we be losing – mostly due to our own disregard for our surroundings – so much of the awe-inspiring diversity of nature, mass extinctions like this would cause a serious imbalance in the world’s food chain. When a predator disappears, the prey will multiply. When prey dies out, the predator will see its ranks decrease as well. Many people fail to realize just how interconnected all species on this planet really are.

6. The Ocean Dead Zones


In oceans around the world, there are eerie areas that are devoid of nearly all life. These ‘dead zones’ are characterized by a lack of oxygen, and they’re caused by excess nitrogen from farm fertilizers, emissions from vehicles and factories, and sewage. The number of dead zones has been growing fast - since the 1960’s, the number of dead zones has doubled every 10 years. They range in size from under a square mile to 45,000 square miles, and the most infamous one of all is in the Gulf of Mexico, a product of toxic sludge that flows down the Mississippi from farms in the Midwest. These ‘hypoxic’ zones now cover an area roughly the size of Oregon.

Spanish researches recently found that many species die off at oxygen levels well above the current definition of ‘uninhabitable’, suggesting that the extent of dead zones in coastal areas that support fishing is much worse than previously thought. Robert Diaz, a Virginia Institute of Marine Science biologist, said “Everything is pointing towards a more desperate situation in all aquatic systems, freshwater and marine. That’s pretty clear. People should be worried, all over the world.”

As if that weren’t bad enough, global warming will likely aggravate the problem. A rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will change rainfall patterns, which could create an increase in runoff from rivers into the seas in many areas.

5. Collapsing Fish Stock


Millions of people across the world depend upon fish as a major staple in their diet. As such, commercial fishermen have been pulling such a huge quantity of fish from the oceans that we’re heading toward a global collapse of all species currently fished – possibly as soon as the year 2048. Like large-scale mammal extinction, the collapse of fish species would have a major impact on the world’s ecosystems.

It’s not too late – yet – if overfishing and other threats to fish populations are reduced as soon as possible. Marine systems are still biologically diverse, but catastrophic loss of fish species is close at hand. 29 percent of species have been fished so heavily or have been so affected by pollution that they’re down to 10 percent of their previous population levels. If we continue the way we are fishing today, there will be a 100 percent collapse by mid-century, so we’ve got to turn this around fast.

4. Destruction of the Rain Forest


Saving the rain forest’ has been at the forefront of the environmental movement for decades, yet here we are facing huge losses in the Amazon all the same. You might have thought that, with all the attention the rain forest has gotten, it wouldn’t need so much saving anymore – but unfortunately, global warming and deforestation mean that half of the Amazon rain forest will likely be destroyed or severely damaged by 2030.

The World Wildlife Fund concluded this summer that agriculture, drought, fire, logging and livestock ranching will cause major damage to 55 percent of the Amazon rain forest in the next 22 years. Another 4 percent will see damage due to reduced rainfall, courtesy of global warming. These factors will destroy up to 80 percent of the rain forest’s wildlife. Losing 60 percent of the rain forest would accelerate global warming and affect rainfall in places as far away as India. Massive destruction to the rain forest would have a domino effect on the rest of the world.

The WWF says that the ‘point of no return’, from which recovery will be impossible, is only 15 to 25 years away.

3. Polar Sea Ice Loss


Polar sea ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. It’s perhaps the most dramatic, startling visual evidence of global warming, and it’s got scientists rushing to figure out just how big of an effect the melting is going to have on the rest of the world.

British researchers said last week that the thickness of sea ice in the Arctic decreased dramatically last winter for the first time since records began in the early 1990s. The research showed a significant loss in thickness on the northern ice cap after the record loss of ice during the summer of 2007.

Scientific American warns that “human fingerprints have been detected” on both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Antarctica had previously appeared to be the only continent on the planet where humanity’s impact on climate change hadn’t been observed. The collapse of the Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula shows just how fast the region is warming.

2. CO2 Levels in the Atmosphere


The aforementioned polar sea ice loss is yet another sinister sign of carbon dioxide levels building up in the atmosphere – the main force behind global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by our modern way of life – vehicles, power plants, factories, giant livestock farms – will bring devastating climate change within decades if they stay at today’s levels.

Average temperatures could increase by as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century if emissions continue to rise, a figure that would easily make the world virtually uninhabitable for humans. A global temperature rise of just 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit would cause a catastrophic domino effect, bringing weather extremes that would result in food and water shortages and destructive floods.

The most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change represents “the final nail in the coffin” of climate change denial, representing the most authoritative picture to date that global warming is caused by human activity. According to the panel, we must make a swift and significant switch to clean, efficient and renewable energy technologies in order to prevent the worst-case scenario.

1. Population Explosion


Whether we like to admit it or not, our very own rapidly multiplying presence on this planet is the biggest environmental problem there is, and it’s getting bigger by the minute. We voraciously consume resources, pollute the air and water, tear down natural habitats, introduce species into areas where they don’t belong and destroy ecosystems to the point of causing millions of species to become endangered and, all too often, go extinct.

It took nearly all of human history – from the first days of man on earth until the early 1800’s – to reach a global population of 1 billion. In just 200 years, we’ve managed to reach 6.5 billion. That means the population has grown more since 1950 than in the previous four million years. We’re adding roughly 74 million people to the planet every year, a scary figure that will probably continue to increase. All of those mouths will need to be fed. All of those bodies will need clean water and a place to sleep. All of the new communities created to house those people will continue to encroach upon the natural world.

All seven environmental problems detailed above are very serious, and we’ve got to start treating them that way. We may not have easy solutions, but the fact is, we simply can’t continue living our lives as if everything is peachy. These problems aren’t going to magically solve themselves. We should have begun acting generations ago, but we can’t go back in time, and that means we have to step up our efforts. If we want to keep this planet a healthy place for humans to live – for our grandchildren to enjoy – it’s time to buckle down and do everything in our power to reverse the damage we’ve done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get Schooled

We go through 380 billion plastic bags a year and only five percent are recycled. Recycling plastic bags produces lumber that can be used to build patios and frames, so find out what types are recyclable and where/how to recycle plastic bags near you.
Get Movin'

Ask your favorite bar or restaurant whether it recycles bottles and cans at the end of the night. Businesses can recycle containers just like residents, and knowing this is the first step. Aluminum and glass containers can be recycled infinitely with no loss of purity.
Get More

Being more eco-friendly is as simple as counting to eight. Check out Earth911.com's Green Eight archive, guides that provide eight simple ways to green many areas of your life.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

8 Ways to Green Your Home

8 Ways to Green Your Home


1. Clean Out Your Storage
We all have a closet or garage full of items that aren’t used anymore. An easy way to organize these areas is to group the products and decide what to do with them accordingly. Some sample groups could include electronics, household waste (paint, pesticides, motor oil) and scrap metal.

2. Recycle Smarter
Once you’ve grouped out what you want to get rid of, figure out how and where to recycle these products or donate them for reuse. Earth 911’s recycling locator at the top of this page can help. Another way to recycle smart is by closing the loop; buy items made from recycled content and with limited packaging.


3. Use Energy More Wisely
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use 20 percent of the energy of incandescent bulb, and they also last 10 times as long. Keeping your thermostat at reasonable temperatures in both the winter and the summer is also a good energy saver. Finally, read your energy bill and check for trends from month to month, and ask your energy company about renewable alternatives.

4. Use Less Water
Whether it’s taking shorter showers or putting a bottle in your toilet tank, saving water is important because it is a limited resource. You can also reuse water around the house, such as using cooking water for plants (the nutrients from the food will benefit the plant).

5. Start Composting
Composting is hip again, and it’s a great way to reduce your waste and help your garden at the same time. You can include most food scraps and material like cardboard, which will biodegrade in your yard and produce nutrient-rich fertilizer. A cubic yard of compost is worth $80 in dirt costs.

6. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you can afford it, start replacing older appliances in your home with more energy-efficient ones. These products will reduce your energy output and save money on your electricity bill. Buying a hybrid car is also an eco-friendly investment.

Start a Green Group
Plenty of green activities are meant to be a shared experience, such as carpooling. Talk to your friends about the importance of conserving, and develop programs and activities in your neighborhood for others to get involved. Students can also start a Club Earth 911 at their school.

Plant a Tree
It may seem cliché, but planting trees was the original carbon offset. Not only do they reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, but they can provide shade for your home (reducing energy costs) and produce fruits that you won’t have to buy at the store.

Share your own green tips with others by commenting below. Print the list to post on your refrigerator!

This story is part of Earth 911’s “Green Eight” series, where we showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas. Click here to see Earth 911’s “Green Eight” archive.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

top The Ten Most Important Satellites Orbiting Earth Now

Today, a satellite was involved in your life. Whether you checked a weather report, watched SportsCenter or looked for your mom's house on Google Maps, you did something that would have been impossible without an automated spacecraft orbiting hundreds of miles above your head. But how many of these satellites do you know by name? Here are the ten you need to know, because they make modern life possible.



First, two caveats: most of these satellites are representative of an entire class of satellites. There may be others that serve similar functions, but the satellites listed are exemplars. Also, the list is obviously U.S.-centric. If you live in Europe or Asia, there are likely different satellites that fill the roles of these all-star orbiters.

Hubble Space Telescope - By taking thousands of breathtaking photos unhindered by the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere, the Hubble has brought the beauty and mystery of space to more people than any other observatory, not to mention the massive amount of scientific research accomplished with it.

Galaxy 14 - This communications relay carries digital TV signals for much of the east coast, including ESPN, Lifetime, Sci-Fi, CNN, A&E and my personal favorite, the History Channel.

GOES-12 - From its high-altitude geosynchronous orbit, GOES-12 keeps a constant watch on weather conditions in most of North America.

The Moon - Tides, werewolves, the Apollo Program: without our natural satellite, we'd have none of these things.

KH-13 - This U.S. spy satellite is so secret, even the name is probably wrong (the government started giving them random names after people caught onto to the KH numbering system). Who knows what black budget, cutting edge satellite intelligence gathering devices are capable of these days?

GPS IIR11 - The U.S. government's NAVSTAR program brought global positioning abilities first to the military, then to the general public. It takes a constellation of these things for the system to work, so IIR11 is just one cog among many. Without it, there'd be no geocaching!

GoldenEye - With the ability to fire an EM pulse that could have wiped out an entire nation's financial records, GoldenEye is typical of fictional satellites and representative of our fears of orbiting weapons.

International Space Station - It's a symbol of international cooperation and a frontier outpost in the quest to colonize space. The low orbit maintained by the ISS makes it one of the easiest satellites to spot with the naked eye.

NOAA 17 - Unlike the GOES satellites, the NOAA satellites have asynchronous orbits, spinning around the globe to spot developing weather patterns that affect billions of people.

LANDSAT 7 - NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey teamed up in the 1970s to create a catalogue of Earth images shot from space. Since then, not only has the data improved with huge advances in digital photography, but numerous companies (including Google) have licensed the images for their mapping software.


Huh, I didn't realize Hubble was so close. I expected it to be much further out.



I'll admit it. I laughed at the GoldenEye joke. It brings up an interesting question though: Is James Bond sci-fi? Daniel Craig version not so much, but Roger Moore version yes.



The Moon is also where the alien civilization that built Stonehenge and colonized Atlantis keeps their robotic heads full of secret alien information about the crystal skulls and the Mayan apocalypse.




I feel like the Moon should get double booking, and not just because of all the reasons Braak listed. Tides are really damn important. Werewolves, less so, though they do form a vital part of the pet shampoo industry.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Illinois Comittment

Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has issued an executive order instructing state agencies to recycle electronic equipment at the end of its useful life. The order, signed today, applies to all state agencies, boards and commissions under the governor's control. According to the publication Government Technology, the order was precipitated by research and recommendations from the Computer Equipment Disposal and Recycling Commission, established in 2005.

"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."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Climate Update

World's big polluters meet in Hawaii over climate

January 27, 2008 07:39 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The world's biggest greenhouse gas-polluting countries are sending delegates to Hawaii this week for a U.S.-hosted meeting aimed at curbing climate change without stalling economic growth. The two-day gathering, which starts on Wednesday in Honolulu, is meant to spur U.N. negotiations for an international climate agreement by 2009, so a pact will be ready when the current carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Battle Between the Bottle and the Faucet

By BILL MARSH
THOSE eight daily glasses of water you’re supposed to drink for good health? They will cost you $0.00135 — about 49 cents a year — if you take it from a New York City tap.
Or, city officials suggest, you could spend 2,900 times as much, roughly $1,400 yearly, by drinking bottled water. For the extra money, they say, you get the added responsibility for piling on to the nation’s waste heap and encouraging more of the industrial emissions that are heating up the planet.
But trends in American thirst quenching favor the 2,900-fold premium, as the overflowing trash cans of Central Park attest. In fact, bottled water is growing at the expense of every other beverage category except sports drinks. It has overtaken coffee and milk, and it is closing in on beer. Tap, if trends continue, would be next.
Now New York City officials — like the mayors of Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and San Francisco — are campaigning to get people to reverse course and open their faucets instead of their wallets. The city Health Department, mindful of high obesity rates, says water is more healthful than many other, sugar-filled drinks. The city’s Department of Environmental Protection touts its low environmental impact. Both note that it’s practically free (leaving aside those New Yorkers for whom paying extra is a lifestyle choice).
New York’s water is the envy of municipalities everywhere. It is one of just five major American systems whose water is so good it needs little or no filtration, saving energy and chemicals. (The others are Boston, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Seattle.)
The system is self-sustaining from rainwater stored in reservoirs. Gravity takes it downhill to the city, where pumps are unnecessary in all but a few neighborhoods.
New York water is quite pure, requiring little chlorine, and low in minerals, giving it a clean taste.
Sounds like an ad for bottled water.
But beverage industry representatives say their version is not just about health and taste — its plastic container, scorned by environmentalists, is actually a plus for consumers.
“The tap water quality is fine in most of the United States,” said John D. Sicher Jr., editor and publisher at Beverage Digest, a trade publication. “The issue is convenience and shifting consumer preference. It’s not so easy, walking down Third Avenue on a hot day, to get a glass of tap water.”
Bottled water has profited from the sagging image of soft drinks, a category in decline for nearly a decade (but still the most consumed of beverages, by far). Preferences evolve — could it be tap’s turn?
“Through education and motivation you can get people to change their habits,” said Emily Lloyd, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, citing smoking, recycling and wearing seat belts. Convenience comes in different forms, she added: “It’s easy to fill a bottle of water and stick it in your backpack.”
With surveys showing climate change a growing concern, officials and advocates say they hope people will consider the implications of billions of bottles.
“More than 90 percent of the environmental impacts from a plastic bottle happen before the consumer opens it,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Oil for plastic, oil for shipping, oil for refrigeration — and in the end, most of the effort goes to landfills.
“The bottle is going to have to change,” he said, noting research in plastics made from plants. “I’m seeing more interest in this than any time in 30 years.”

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

http://www.ewastedisposal.net