Thursday, October 20, 2011
Miami, FL, October 20, 2011—In conjunction with the opening of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Annual Conference in Miami, Florida, SLAB Watchdog released the results of its first national survey on the recycling habits and beliefs of U.S. adults.
The survey, which was conducted online on its behalf by Harris Interactive from October 10-12, 2011, surveyed 2,050 U.S. adults on their views and opinions on the recycling of car batteries and other electronic waste in the form of cell phones, televisions, and computers.
The survey showed that by a margin of three to one, American adults recognize the need to recycle a car battery more than any other form of e-waste. The survey also showed overwhelming strength for the idea that car batteries purchased for use in government vehicles with taxpayer money should be recycled domestically instead of sent to foreign recyclers. Some survey highlights: ·
Ninety-five percent believe recycling car batteries is an important way to protect the environment from potentially hazardous materials like lead and battery acid. ·
Eighty two percent agree the car battery recycling industry provides good jobs for American workers. · Ninety percent believe it makes more sense to recycle batteries domestically where stricter regulations better protect workers and the environment. ·
Ninety-three percent of U.S. adults believe car batteries purchased for use in government vehicles with taxpayer money should be recycled domestically instead of sent to foreign recyclers.
For the complete release please click on this link http://bit.ly/o960h4 or go to the News section of http://www.slabwatchdog.com/
Sunday, May 30, 2010
What are the benefits of recycling?
- Creates jobs
- Saves money
More info from the National Recycling Coalition
- Conserves landfill space
- Reduces air, water and land pollution
- Reduces green house gas emissions
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Conserves energy
- Prevents habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and soil erosion associated with logging and mining
More info from the National Recycling Coalition
- Promotes community pride, awareness and cleanliness
- Is an easy way for people to protect and conserve the environment
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Reduces the need for mining and the demand for virgin resources
What are some key facts about recycling?
There are several organizations that offer information about recycling and waste reduction:
Statistics on commonly recycled items:
- Kansas City, Missouri recycles between 1,200 and 1,500 tons a month through its KC Recycles curbside recycling program.
- The United States currently recycles 28 percent of its waste, a rate that has almost doubled during the past 15 years.
- Twenty years ago, only one curbside recycling program existed in the United States, which collected several materials at the curb. By 1998, 9,000 curbside programs and 12,000 recyclable drop-off centers had sprouted up across the nation.
- In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. This means that each adult will leave a legacy of as much as 100,000 pounds of trash for his or her children.
- Each person generates about 4.5 pounds of waste per day.
- Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water!
- Paper products make up approximately 40 percent of our trash.
- Every day Americans recover about 40 percent of the paper we use.
- Paper products use up at least 35 percent of the world's annual commercial wood harvest.
- More than 1/3 of all fiber used to make paper comes from recycled paper.
- An aluminum can is unique in that in 60 days it is recycled, turned into a new can and back on a store shelf.
- Over 50% of the aluminum cans produced are recycled.
- Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy.
- Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.
- Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can's volume of gasoline.
- Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W bulb for up to six hours.
- It takes about 450 years for one plastic bottle to break down in the ground!
- It takes about 25 recycled plastic drinks bottles to make one fleece jacket.
- Recycling one ton of soda and water bottles saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
- PET bottles are made into fiberfill, carpets, clothing, automotive parts and industrial strapping, sheet and film.
- Every glass bottle recycled saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for four hours.
- Glass never wears out -- it can be recycled forever. We save over one ton of resources for every ton of glass recycled -- 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone and 151 pounds of feldspar.
- Recycled glass saves 50% energy versus virgin glass.
- Recycled glass generates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution.
- One ton of glass made from 50% recycled materials saves 250 pounds of mining waste.
Sources: St. Louis County Department of Health, U.S. EPA, Illinois Recycling Association, Oberlin College Recycling Association, Earth 911, Container Recycling Institute and South Lakeland District Council
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Eco Factor: Net zero-energy home gets powered by rooftop solar panels, harvested rain and gray water.
This year’s Solar Decathlon competition has kept universities craving for the next-gen technology that can be integrated into smart homes of the future. Virginia Tech’s entry to the competition is named Lumenhaus and just like other competitors, the house is designed to sport off-grid sustainable living.
The Lumenhaus home is an 800-square-foot, 1-bedroom residence with an open floor plan that can be extended to the outside decks. The house integrates an innovative Eclipsis System developed by the same institute that uses advanced weather monitoring systems to automatically open or close the shading system.
The Eclipsis System also offers advanced insulation, thanks to the use of aerogel, which allows natural light to illuminate the interiors and stops summer heat or winter cold. The roof of the house is composed of double efficient solar cells, which are bifacial and enhance the energy generated by as much as 15%.
Other green systems that will be introduced in the house include gray water recycling, rainwater harvesting, radiant floors, energy-efficient LED lighting and a home management system. In addition to all this, the house can also be controlled by smart phones to allow the owners to switch off any appliance that has been carelessly left operating even when no one is at home. And did we mention that the car parked outside the house in the top image does seem great?
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The rising sales of consumer electronics in developing countries will have dire consequences on their environment and public health, according to a report from The United Nations Environment Programme, reports GEEP Michigan.
The report finds that over the next decade there will be a significant increase in e-waste created by and sent to developing countries, rising 500 percent in India and increasing between 200 to 400 percent in South Africa and China. Despite these numbers, recyclers in North America continue to beef up their services and grow their recycling rates.
The 120-page report, “Recycling — From E-Waste To Resources” (PDF), indicates that current e-waste in the European Union amounts to 8.3 to 9.1 million tons annually, with global rates around 40 million tons per year.
By properly handling e-waste, developing countries can prevent environmental damage as well as recover valuable resources such as metals. The report segments the recycling chain into three steps — collection, sorting/dismantling and preprocessing (including sorting, dismantling and mechanical treatment) and end processing — and provides recommendations for all three areas.
The report also evaluates the potential introduction of new recycling technologies into 11 developing countries including Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Peru, India, China, South Africa, Morocco, Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. read more; http://bx.businessweek.com/e-waste/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.environmentalleader.com%2F2010%2F03%2F03%2Froom-for-improvement-in-e-waste-recycling%2F
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Feb 23, 2010 9:41 am
The United Nations on Tuesday issued a report on the urgent need for developing countries to prepare for the proper disposal of electronic waste. Developing countries like China and India, as well as Africa and parts of Latin America are about to see an enormous spike in the sales of electronic gadgets in the next ten years. But many developing countries lack the facilities to deal with electronic waste, meaning there is a potential of "hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health," according to the UN.
The UN says global e-waste is growing by about ......http://bx.businessweek.com/e-waste/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffeeds.pcworld.com%2Fclick.phdo%3Fi%3D46623db30e6ffd3ccb6619f32de86157
Friday, February 19, 2010
E-waste (a shortening of electronic waste) includes everything from televisions to iPods. A study published in the journal Sciene last year found that e-waste had become the fastest-growing component of the U.S. solid-waste stream. More than 1.36 million metric tons of discarded cell phones, mp3 players and other electronics site in landfills and elsewhere, the study found.
VANOC decided to use recovered metals from e-waste to make the medals to help their games fulfill one of the three Olympic pillars, sustainability.
The company doing the extractions, Teck Resources, plans to process 15,000 tons of e-waste this year, according to the Mother Jones report.
VANOC also plans to rely on clean energy sources and has built Olympic structures according to green building standards.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
One of the best ways to get clean recycling is simple: just ask questions. A reputable recycler should be able to tell you where hardware is sent, and if the company exports or uses prison labor. The recycler should also be able to tell you how it handles data destruction; you'll want the recycler or reuse organization to wipe the hard drive for you so any personal information doesn't end up where it doesn't belong. If you are donating your equipment to a reuse organization, ask if equipment is tested before it is passed on for donation and if the company only ships working equipment. Ask who their recipient organizations are. If the answer to any of these questions is, "We don't know," or, "We can't tell you," it may be time to send your equipment elsewhere.
One of the easiest options is to use your computer manufacturer's recycling program, though most major manufacturers charge fees and require you to do the packing and shipping. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a good guide to responsible recycling, finds many of the manufacture take-back programs wanting and publishes a report card on the environmental effectiveness of most of them.
The Rethink Program, hosted by eBay has a good computer recycling FAQ section and many useful links to recyclers, as do CompuMentor's Tech Soup site and the EPA's eCycling website. Be aware, though, that the recyclers listed on these sites have not been vetted or approved by these organizations in any way. The Basel Action Network also carries a list of electronics recyclers that have signed their stewardship pledge, under which recyclers agree not to export e-waste or add it to landfill, or use prison labor, and to document where equipment, parts and materials go.
If your machine still functions (and not just as a paperweight), then seeing that it is reused is perhaps the best option. Companies like RetroBox and FreeGeek build computers out of salvaged parts; the latter has a list of like-minded organizations that can be a good starting place for recycling or reusing your machine. For a more complete list of NGOs, government agencies and manufacturers who recycle, check out the article at ::Salon.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
We all knew that when we went digital, we were improving the environment. No chemicals, no film made of gelatin (which is made from cows). But it turns out we still have an environmental challenge. When your computer becomes out of date every 3 years, what to do with the old ones?
A law went into effect today in Texas that requires computer manufacturers to accept and recycle old computers that are of their own brand. “The law requires manufacturers offering to sell new computer equipment in or into Texas to provide a program for collecting and recycling of consumers’ used computer equipment.”
A quick look to Apple shows that they will accept any brand for recycling IF you buy a new Mac. But their website doesn’t mention anything about accepting old Apples.
According to the Texas law, they will have to adapt their policy and begin accepting old Macs (in Texas).
Manufacturers are only required to collect and recycle computer equipment purchased by individuals primarily for personal or home-business use.
Manufacturers are only required to collect and recycle their own brands of computer equipment, not brands owned by other manufacturers.
Aaah, so for the lawyer in all of us, what “is” a computer?
According to the laws, it includes:
a desktop computer or laptop, and
an accompanying keyboard and mouse made by the same manufacturer.
Noticeably absent- cameras and all the computer chips in them.
Also, don’t forget to wipe your computer clean- I mean really clean. A famous basketball player that I photographed told me a story about how he traded in his old computer, and someone called him with the news that all of his personal data was still on the used computer that they bought. Nice that they were honest. I don’t expect all people will be so lucky.
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."
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
For most of the year, it is the duty of the press to scour the known universe looking for ways to ruin your day. The more fear, guilt or angst a news story induces, the better. But with August upon us, perhaps you’re in the mood for a break, so I’ve rounded up a list of 10 things not to worry about on your vacation.
Review of Life Cycle Data Relating to Disposable, Compostable, Biodegradable and Reusable Grocery Bags
Now, I can’t guarantee you that any of these worries is groundless, because I can’t guarantee you that anything is absolutely safe, including the act of reading a newspaper. With enough money, an enterprising researcher could surely identify a chemical in newsprint or keyboards that is dangerously carcinogenic for any rat that reads a trillion science columns every day.
What I can guarantee is that I wouldn’t spend a nanosecond of my vacation worrying about any of these 10 things:
1. Killer hot dogs. What is it about frankfurters? There was the nitrite scare. Then the grilling-creates-carcinogens alarm. And then, when those menaces ebbed, the weenie warriors fell back on that old reliable villain: saturated fat.
But now even saturated fat isn’t looking so bad, thanks to a rigorous experiment in Israel reported this month. The people on a low-carb, unrestricted-calorie diet consumed more saturated fat than another group forced to cut back on both fat and calories, but those fatophiles lost more weight and ended up with a better cholesterol profile. And this was just the latest in a series of studies contradicting the medical establishment’s predictions about saturated fat.
If you must worry, focus on the carbs in the bun. But when it comes to the fatty frank — or the fatty anything else on vacation — I’d relax.
2. Your car’s planet-destroying A/C. No matter how guilty you feel about your carbon footprint, you don’t have to swelter on the highway to the beach. After doing tests at 65 miles per hour, the mileage experts at edmunds.com report that the aerodynamic drag from opening the windows cancels out any fuel savings from turning off the air-conditioner.
3. Forbidden fruits from afar. Do you dare to eat a kiwi? Sure, because more “food miles” do not equal more greenhouse emissions. Food from other countries is often produced and shipped much more efficiently than domestic food, particularly if the local producers are hauling their wares around in small trucks. One study showed that apples shipped from New Zealand to Britain had a smaller carbon footprint than apples grown and sold in Britain.
4. Carcinogenic cellphones. Some prominent brain surgeons made news on Larry King’s show this year with their fears of cellphones, thereby establishing once and for all that epidemiology is not brain surgery — it’s more complicated.
As my colleague Tara Parker-Pope has noted, there is no known biological mechanism for the phones’ non-ionizing radiation to cause cancer, and epidemiological studies have failed to find consistent links between cancer and cellphones.
It’s always possible today’s worried doctors will be vindicated, but I’d bet they’ll be remembered more like the promoters of the old cancer-from-power-lines menace — or like James Thurber’s grandmother, who covered up her wall outlets to stop electricity from leaking.
Driving while talking on a phone is a definite risk, but you’re better off worrying about other cars rather than cancer.
5. Evil plastic bags. Take it from the Environmental Protection Agency : paper bags are not better for the environment than plastic bags. If anything, the evidence from life-cycle analyses favors plastic bags. They require much less energy — and greenhouse emissions — to manufacture, ship and recycle. They generate less air and water pollution. And they take up much less space in landfills.
6. Toxic plastic bottles. For years panels of experts repeatedly approved the use of bisphenol-a, or BPA, which is used in polycarbonate bottles and many other plastic products. Yes, it could be harmful if given in huge doses to rodents, but so can the natural chemicals in countless foods we eat every day. Dose makes the poison.
But this year, after a campaign by a few researchers and activists, one federal panel expressed some concern about BPA in baby bottles. Panic ensued. Even though there was zero evidence of harm to humans, Wal-Mart pulled BPA-containing products from its shelves, and politicians began talking about BPA bans. Some experts fear product recalls that could make this the most expensive health scare in history.
Nalgene has already announced that it will take BPA out of its wonderfully sturdy water bottles. Given the publicity, the company probably had no choice. But my old blue-capped Nalgene bottle, the one with BPA that survived glaciers, jungles and deserts, is still sitting right next to me, filled with drinking water. If they ever try recalling it, they’ll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers.
7. Deadly sharks. Throughout the world last year, there was a grand total of one fatal shark attack (in the South Pacific), according to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida.
8. The Arctic’s missing ice. The meltdown in the Arctic last summer was bad enough, but this spring there was worse news. A majority of experts expected even more melting this year, and some scientists created a media sensation by predicting that even the North Pole would be ice-free by the end of summer.
So far, though, there’s more ice than at this time last summer, and most experts are no longer expecting a new record. You can still fret about long-term trends in the Arctic, but you can set aside one worry: This summer it looks as if Santa can still have his drinks on the rocks.
9. The universe’s missing mass. Even if the fate of the universe — steady expansion or cataclysmic collapse — depends on the amount of dark matter that is out there somewhere, you can rest assured that no one blames you for losing it. And most experts doubt this collapse will occur during your vacation.
10. Unmarked wormholes. Could your vacation be interrupted by a sudden plunge into a wormhole? From my limited analysis of space-time theory and the movie “Jumper,” I would have to say that the possibility cannot be eliminated. I would also concede that if the wormhole led to an alternate universe, there’s a good chance your luggage would be lost in transit.
But I still wouldn’t worry about it, In an alternate universe, you might not have to spend the rest of the year fretting about either dark matter or sickly rodents. You might even be able to buy one of those Nalgene bottles.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Watch out for pick pockets and purse thieves. This is the most common way identities are stolen.
Take only the private information you need and leave the extra cards at home.
Keep a photocopy of your identification and travel documents in a safe place. Don't forget the back for the 800 numbers to replace credit cards.
Leave your checkbook locked up at the house.
Use a credit card instead of a debit card.
Use ATM machines you recognize to avoid fraudulent ones set up to steal cards. Also make sure there aren't any funny devices that might "skim" your number.
Stop your mail.
Wear your sunscreen.
Arizona Opts Out of Real ID
Arizona has joined 13 other states that have passed laws prohibiting state compliance with the 2005 federal Real ID law. The law requires states to adopt new procedures by 2010 for making driver's licenses "more secure". However, to opposite is more likely to happen. The new licenses will become de facto national identity cards with unique identifier numbers. Now we will all have two numbers to protect.
Stealing Your Identity and House
In a new scam the FBI is following, an identity thief establishes a line of credit in his name based on the equity in the victims property. He then drains the equity in the house dry. In another scam, the thief changes the title over to his name and then sells it to another owner.
The rightful owners don't end up losing their homes but the burden is on them to prove their ownership. It could cost them countless hours and thousands of dollars.
Friday, July 18, 2008
eWaste Disposal Inc - PCs CRTs TV cell phone printers 501c3 approved non profit
New state rules that took effect Thursday require that residents no longer dispose of printers, videocassette recorders, microwave ovens, fluorescent lighting, glass thermometers and old thermostats in the trash, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported Friday.
Residents must dispose of so-called e-waste at a household hazardous waste collection center where recyclers can pick up the items, according to solid waste officials.
The measure is to reduce the amount of lead, mercury, copper and other heavy metals that can leach out when electronic devices are crushed in landfills and pollute groundwater, streams and wildlife.
The state Department of Toxic Substances Control said it will rely on voluntary compliance, the Mercury News said.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Used electronic devices, known as e-waste, are increasingly becoming a larger part of our waste. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to those who want to recycle their old electronic items.
To address the increasing amount of e-waste, many state and local governments, electronics manufacturers, and non-profit organizations have created comprehensive recycling programs. Several states, including California, Maine, Maryland, Texas and Washington, have even enacted laws requiring the collection of certain electronics.
E-waste recycling options vary across the country. So, the first step to determine what options are available in your area is to review information about your local recycling program. This information is available on Earth 911 (using the recycling locator database at the top of this page), some local government websites and the following websites:
E.P.A. Product Stewartship
National Recycling Coalition
E Recycling Central (includes a list of questions to ask recyclers)
Basel Action Network
Computer Take Back Campaign
In addition to “traditional” recycling programs, some electronics manufacturers and retailers also offer e-waste recycling. Many manufacturer-sponsored programs will accept and process their brand for free. Some accept other brands for a small fee.
After determining what options are available, it is important to determine whether a recycler is operating under strict environmental controls and high worker safety protections. A few general questions to ask include:
Is the recycler certified (such as an ISO 14001 environmental management certification) and does it follow a set of industry recognized guidelines?
Does the recycler actually recycle most of the e-waste materials collected (It is best if the company can recycle 90 percent or more of the materials)?
Does the recycler have written procedures for removing and disposing of mercury lamps in electronic products? Many manufacturer and government sponsored programs have extensive online information detailing the way in which recycling is handled.
In addition to choosing a recycler, it is also important to prepare your e-waste for recycling. For computer recycling, one important concern is to erase all data from the computer before sending it off for recycling.
However, this should be a factor regardless of what one does with an old computer because electronic data can be retrieved from hard drives. There are many options (such as software) to ensure that the data is permanently erased.
In fact, many recycling firms will scrub the hard drive and certify that all data has been erased. Before sending your computer to a recycler, check to verify that this option is available.
Manufacturer Specific Programs
Toshiba Trade-In and Recycling Program
Lenovo/IBM (will also accept other e-waste of other computer manufacturers)
Circuit City (Easy-trade in program)
Staples (accepts computers, monitors, laptops, and desktop printers, faxes and all-in-ones)
EPA Plug-In Partners (lists manufacturers, retailers and service providers that offer recycling of e-waste)
EPA–lists options for donating or recycling e-waste
Techsoup–lists non-profit organizations and recyclers of e-waste
Goodwill (some locations accept computers)–website includes tips on how to donate computers
Cell Phone Recycling/Donation
Motorola (accepts all brands for free)
Nokia (accepts all brands for free)
Call to Recycle
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (donation of cell phones)
Call to Protect
Verizon Wireless (accepts phones at Verizon stores)
AT&T Wireless (accepts phones at AT&T stores)
T-Mobile Wireless (accepts phones in stores and by mail)
Sprint Wireless (accepts phones in stores and by mail; recycling proceeds go to charity)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Mon Jun 16, 12:30 AM ET
Environmental group Greenpeace said it identified three containers of electronic waste as they were about to be unloaded in Hong Kong Port over the weekend.
The group said the three containers were on the "Yang Ming Success" that had sailed to Hong Kong from the U.S. port of Oakland and were destined for the Sanshui district in neighboring Guangdong province. That meant the shipment was illegal under Chinese law, Greenpeace said.
In a video distributed by the group to news organizations, Greenpeace supporters that had boarded the ship can be seen unfurling a banner along the side of containers that read in English and Chinese, "Toxic waste not welcomed here."
In response Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department has ordered the containers be held on the pier until the owner opens them for inspection, said Lo Sze Ping, a campaign director for Greenpeace. The Hong Kong authorities could not be immediately reached for comment.
Greenpeace said that Hong Kong is a major transit point for electronic waste because of several loopholes in the territory's environmental protection regulations. Among them, importers can easily claim the waste is for recycling or reuse to escape the controls, the group said. It also charged the Environmental Protection Department, which issues the import and export permits, with concentrating on waste like old batteries and paying little attention to printed-circuit boards.
The issue of e-waste is one that the Amsterdam-based the toxins found inside, including lead, beryllium, PVC, phthalates and brominated fire retardants can poison the environment and damage human health.
Of particular concern in the region is the Chinese city of Guiyu, which is also in Guangdong province. The city is one of the biggest electronic waste recycling centers on earth but the informal industry is centered around primitive, small-scale factories where products are dismantled by hand. The work is often done with little regard for health of the workers or the environment.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
By Samantha Riepe
Retired electronics or "e-waste," are cluttering dumps and poisoning the environment.
The solution? Donate, recycle or safely dispose of your next out-of-date electronics.
Trash stat: More than 130 million phones enter the U.S. waste stream every year, where they have the potential to leak mercury, cadmium, arsenic and more into water streams. These compounds may also enter the air when municipalities burn the phones. Can you hear me now?
Recycling: • Best Buy and Office Depot stores offer free recycling kiosks near the front door for cell phones, batteries and chargers.
Charity: • Cellular companies have free, charitable drop-off or mail-back programs for recycling old phones. Motorola's program, at www.racetorecycle.com, distributes the proceeds among participating K-12 schools. Nokia and LG also take in used phones, regardless of the manufacturer. Visit www.nokiausa.com/recycle or us.lge.com/recycle to download a postage-paid label to return the device.
• AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have programs where you can drop off your old wireless equipment at their stores to be refurbished for resale and reuse, with proceeds going to charity. Sprint's program donates all proceeds to 4NetSafety children's online safety group; go to www.sprint.com/recycle to see if your model is eligible to be exchanged for an account credit.
• The Wireless Foundation's Call to Protect program collects working cell phones for distribution to victims of domestic violence. Learn more at wirelessfoundation.org.
COMPUTERS AND PERIPHERALS
Trash stat: In the past 10 years, more than 500 million personal computers became obsolete. Older computer monitors use cathode ray tubes that contain two to four pounds of lead, and are even classified as hazardous waste in some states.
Recycling: The manufacturer of your PC or laptop may offer a recycling or trade-in program. Dell offers free recycling for all of its products at any time, and also allows new customers to trade-in old non-Dell computers with purchase. Visit www.dell.com/recycle for more information, and check out a similar program by Hewlett-Packard at www.hp.com.
Charity: The National Cristina Foundation works to provide newer, working computers and peripheral equipment to the disabled or economically disadvantaged. Go to www.cristina.org to determine if your PC is an accepted model. If so, Cristina will work to find an appropriate recipient for your computer in your area.
IPODS AND MP3 PLAYERS
Waste stream: In April 2007, Apple announced the 100 millionth sale of its ubiquitous iPod, which first hit the market in 2001. iPods and other digital music players have spawned an entire industry of related accessories, from cases to speakers to car chargers -- an eventual mother lode of trash.
Recycling: Bring iPods, functioning or not, to any Apple store for recycling and receive a 10 percent discount on your next iPod purchase. Also, Staples stores have recycling bins for any type of MP3 player or handheld electronic.
Charity: • The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation works with flipswap.com to turn donated iPods into a cash contribution. Simply assess your iPod's condition to find out the estimated cash value, then send it in to have that amount donated to the Komen Foundation. Visit www.cellphonetradeins.com (cell phones are accepted as well).
• Donating your working MP3 player to local nonprofits is music to needy ears. List your player on eBay with eBay Giving Works, and designate all or a percentage of the profits from its sale to charities. Go to givingworks.ebay.com.
For profit: iPod has spawned more than 10 generations since its inception, and newer models such as iPod Touch or the most recent iPod Nano have good resale value. On eBay, a used 30 gigabyte video-capable iPod can currently fetch about $150.
TVS, DVD PLAYERS, AND STEREOS
Heavy facts: Analog televisions, VCRs, and bulky stereos -- these retirees can contain the same harmful compounds as smaller gadgets, and then some (a 27-inch TV can contain up to eight pounds of lead).
Recycling: Don't leave these items curbside -- dispose of them responsibly at your local trash and recycling centers.
To find an electronics recycler in your area, visit the My Green Electronics Web site (www.mygreenelectronics.org), sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association. In addition to recyclers, the site also features a database of environmentally friendly gadgets organized by category.
Charity: Find a new home for unwanted electronics by joining a local Freecycle e-mail group. Submit your free item to the group, and a daily e-mail to thousands of members tells what stuff is up for grabs. Go to www.freecycle.org and type in the name of your hometown and state to get started.
More about e-waste
By the numbers
A look at e-waste in the United States
- 80 percent: Estimated percentage of U.S. e-waste exported to impoverished countries
- 10 percent: Estimated percentage of
unwanted and obsolete computers that are recycled
- 70 percent: Estimated percentage of heavy metals in U.S. landfills that comes from e-waste
Besides e-waste, plenty of other toxic household materials require special disposal. Hazardous household trash can include:
- Used motor oil, antifreeze, tires, car batteries
- Fluorescent bulbs
- Paint thinner
- Fertilizer, pesticides, fungicides
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications for people and animals
- Flea repellents and shampoos
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Geo-Engineering is “the deliberate modification of Earth’s environment on a large scale “to suit human needs and promote habitability”‘ (via Wikipedia). Until recently it was the stuff of science fiction, a god-like power regulated to unseen aliens or super-futuristic societies. Occasionally planetary catastrophe also ensued.
Yet with climate change and global warming sparking alarm across the globe, some scientists have started to explore the possibility of altering the natural environment on a global scale. Several strategies are outlined below:
There are other proposed methods, of course, so consider these as an introduction only. It’s important to note that geo-engineering scientists do not propose this as solutions to global warming, but as emergency measures to avert large-scale human suffering. The only reason it has been suggested that we consider implementing these strategies in the near future is because, in the view of Dr. Paul Crutzen, “there is little reason to be optimistic.” He was referring to current international political efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses.
Of course there is controversy and plenty of people who disagree with implementing geo-engineering. Scientifically, there’s the problem of data; we simply don’t know enough about these huge natural systems to safely manipulate them. There’s also the consequences we are certain about: in most cases, the benefits and detrimental effects will be unevenly distributed across the planet. While one part of the world prospers under cooler climes, another would have their problems compounded.
Who can make that decision? What are the ethics? What would be the social, economic, and cultural implications of upheaval, conflict, and/or refugees in the areas that benefit? Even if we do manage to (partially) improve the weather, the social impact across the globe could negate the benefits. Geo-engineering (but not necessarily geo-engineers) assumes that humans being can and should manipulate the planet to improve their lot, but many people have pointed out that we must still change our habits and lifestyles regardless. Whether we attempt geo-engineering or not, we must still invest in renewable resources.
Geo-engineers propose this as an “emergency only” measure, but in my opinion, using it with even the best intentions could set a dangerous precedent. Global warming is an unintended form of geo-engineering; is it wise to fight fire with fire? Is it ethical to combat one “evil” with something slightly “less evil”? Could any nation, organization, or individual with enough money hijack the globe by using, or threatening to use, geo-engineering against the populous?
Technology will play a critical role in combating and adapting to climate change, but at some point we will have to limit ourselves. Where should we draw the line, and who will decide? Many critics of geo-engineering agree that we should spend our energy and resources on a solution to the problem, not just to treat the symptoms. There is no fast or simple fix; if we intend to live well for the long haul, we’ll just have to adapt to the limitation of our planet - or expand onto another.
What do you think? Take part in a discussion on our Green Options forum
(Tropical Storm Nargis courtesy of NASA)
Monday, April 21, 2008
Whether you did your taxes yourself or took them to someone, you probably have a stack of paper for things you were saving but no longer need. This is also a great time to clean out your file cabinets of all the other documents you are needlessly saving. These documents left around pose a threat to your identity from a break-in as well as from people you know.
The IRS can audit your tax returns for three years but that increases to six years if you fail to report 25% of your income and there are no restrictions is you fail to file or file a fraudulent return.
Collect all of this paper and get it shredded to reduce your risk to identity theft.
Full retention schedule.
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