Showing posts with label Show all posts
Showing posts with label Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2014

CEA Reports Growing Trends in Electronics Recycling

Ringing in the new year with some good news, our friends at Earth 911 in coalition with the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) came out with some research that the goal to recycle 1 Billion Pounds of Electronics by 2016 is actually closer than we thought.

The picture below shows that in 2012, the amount of recycling locations as well as the percentage of recycling that occurred at third-party certified recycling facilities was at 99%. These statistics mean that companies like Cleanlites are doing their job, and truly starting to solve a global problem.

CEAs Infographic for 2012 Data. Read the full Earth 911 E-Recycling Report here

2014 Recycling Resolutions

Cleanlites is proud not only to see such improvement but also to be a direct contributor to the solution of this problem. With the new introduction of our SSI Industrial Shredder at our E-Waste Recycling Facility, we are ready to take on the challenge in 2014.
Together with other recycling facilities and our friends at places like Earth 911, Cleanlites hopes to work in 2014 to push us even closer to the goal. In 2012, Cleanlites was able to recycling nearly 500,000 pounds of electronic waste. This number grew in 2013 (metrics out soon!). We hope to continue to stay part of this growing industry and continue to help solve a growing problem.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste

(CBS)  This story was first published on Nov. 9, 2008. It was updated on Aug. 27, 2009.

60 Minutes is going to take you to one of the most toxic places on Earth -- a place that government officials and gangsters don't want you to see. It's a town in China where you can't breathe the air or drink the water, a town where the blood of the children is laced with lead. It's worth risking a visit because, as correspondent Scott Pelley first reported last November, much of the poison is coming out of the homes, schools and offices of America.

This is a story about recycling - about how your best intentions to be green can be channeled into an underground sewer that flows from the United States and into the wasteland.

That wasteland is piled with the burning remains of some of the most expensive, sophisticated stuff that consumers crave. And 60 Minutes and correspondent Scott Pelley discovered that the gangs who run this place wanted to keep it a secret.

What are they hiding? The answer lies in the first law of the digital age: newer is better. In with the next thing, and out with the old TV, phone or computer. All of this becomes obsolete, electronic garbage called "e-waste."

Computers may seem like sleek, high-tech marvels. But what's inside them?

"Lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, polyvinyl chlorides. All of these materials have known toxicological effects that range from brain damage to kidney disease to mutations, cancers," Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and authority on waste management at the Natural Resources Defense Council, explained.

"The problem with e-waste is that it is the fastest-growing component of the municipal waste stream worldwide," he said.

Asked what he meant by "fastest-growing," Hershkowitz said. "Well, we throw out about 130,000 computers every day in the United States."

And he said over 100 million cell phones are thrown out annually.

At a recycling event in Denver, 60 Minutes found cars bumper-to-bumper for blocks, in a line that lasted for hours. They were there to drop off their computers, PDAs, TVs and other electronic waste.

Asked what he thought happens once his e-waste goes into recycling, one man told Pelley, "Well my assumption is they break it apart and take all the heavy metals and out and then try to recycle some of the stuff that's bad."

Most folks in line were hoping to do the right thing, expecting that their waste would be recycled in state-of-the-art facilities that exist here in America. But really, there's no way for them to know where all of this is going. The recycling industry is exploding and, as it turns out, some so-called recyclers are shipping the waste overseas, where it's broken down for the precious metals inside.

Executive Recycling, of Englewood, Colo., which ran the Denver event, promised the public on its Web site: "Your e-waste is recycled properly, right here in the U.S. - not simply dumped on somebody else."

That policy helped Brandon Richter, the CEO of Executive Recycling, win a contract with the city of Denver and expand operations into three western states.

Asked what the problem is with shipping this waste overseas, Richter told Pelley, "Well, you know, they've got low-income labor over there. So obviously they don't have all of the right materials, the safety equipment to handle some of this material."

Executive does recycling in-house, but 60 Minutes was curious about shipping containers that were leaving its Colorado yard. 60 Minutes found one container filled with monitors. They're especially hazardous because each picture tube, called a cathode ray tube or CRT, contains several pounds of lead. It's against U.S. law to ship them overseas without special permission. 60 Minutes took down the container's number and followed it to Tacoma, Wash., where it was loaded on a ship.

When the container left Tacoma, 60 Minutes followed it for 7,459 miles to Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong.

It turns out the container that started in Denver was just one of thousands of containers on an underground, often illegal smuggling route, taking America's electronic trash to the Far East.

Our guide to that route was Jim Puckett, founder of the Basel Action Network, a watchdog group named for the treaty that is supposed to stop rich countries from dumping toxic waste on poor ones. Puckett runs a program to certify ethical recyclers. And he showed 60 Minutes what's piling up in Hong Kong.

"It's literally acres of computer monitors," Pelley commented. "Is it legal to import all of these computer monitors into Hong Kong?"

"No way. It is absolutely illegal, both from the standpoint of Hong Kong law but also U.S. law and Chinese law. But it's happening," Puckett said.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Climbers launch expedition to clear Everest trash

KATMANDU, Nepal – A team of mountaineers led by a veteran Sherpa guide flew Wednesday to Mount Everest on an expedition to clear away tons of trash left on the world's highest peak.

Since Everest was first conquered in 1953, thousands of people have climbed it, leaving behind the empty oxygen bottles, ropes, tents and other garbage that made their journey possible.

Nepal has since required climbers to bring down everything they take up the mountain or lose their deposit, but debris from past climbs still litters the slopes.

The team that left Katmandu on Wednesday — led by Apa, a Sherpa who has climbed Everest a record 20 times — plans to bring down 11,000 pounds (5,000 kilograms) of garbage during the spring climbing season.

"I want to do this for my country, my people and for Everest," said Apa, who uses only one name.

The team hopes to clear 8,800 pounds (4,000 kilograms) of garbage from the lower part of the mountain and another 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) from near the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) summit.

Expedition members, porters and guides of other expeditions will carry the garbage down the mountain, receiving 100 rupees ($1.40) for every kilogram they haul out.

Ang Tshering, organizer of the Eco Everest Expedition, said this is the fourth year a cleaning expedition has been held.

Apa first climbed Everest in 1989 and has repeated the feat almost annually. He has campaigned about the degradation he has seen on the Himalayan peaks due to global warming and other issues.

He said when he first began climbing Everest, the trail to the summit was covered with ice and snow. Now, it is dotted with bare rocks. The melting ice has also exposed deep crevasses, making expeditions more dangerous.

Apa grew up in the foothills of Everest and began carrying equipment and supplies for trekkers and mountaineers at age 12. He moved to the United States in 2006 and lives in the Salt Lake City suburb of Draper.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

E-waste Security Alert: Wipe Those Photocopiers

Gnome and Copier - Flickr - fplgnome

...and not with Windex.

Along the lines of the e-waste and regulatory compliance issues I've posted about in the past, companies would do well to give the same care and attention to their copiers that they devote to their PCs and servers. Copiers, it turns out, do much more than churn out paper copies. They store document images on their internal hard drives to speed up performance, sometimes indefinitely.

The problem is that many organizations aren't taking the time to wipe those hard drives when they dispose of their copiers, many of which end up in the used business equipment market. As you can see in this CBS News video, used copiers can fetch a couple hundred dollars. Now think about all the businesses and government agencies that handle private data (doctor's offices, insurance companies, police stations, and so forth...) and you can see why criminals might think nothing of parting with a few Benjamins for a shot at a treasure trove of personal data that can net them much, much more. Or they can skip the buying a used copier altogether and pry the hard drives of retired copiers sitting in a storage area, or worse, the brazen ones might snatch the drives from actively used models. This data security hole is so potentially damaging that the FTC has now taken an interest.

So a word of advice: treat copiers like other IT equipment (many are sophisticated enough to qualify) and make sure that their hard drives are completely wiped before they're disposed of.

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Friday, May 28, 2010

Click here to set a title.

Metropolitan At Work

Solar Cup
Teams from 36 Southern California high schools competed May 14-16 at the eighth-annual Solar Cup competition held at Lake Skinner near Temecula. The competition was the culmination of a seven-month long program that included about 700 students building and then racing solar-powered boats. The students also learned about conservation of natural resources, electrical and mechanical engineering, problem solving and much more.    Click here for final results. Click here for more information about Solar Cup.


Global Water & Technology Forum
A gathering of about 900 convened May 20 at Diamond Valley Lake to take part in Metropolitan’s first Global Water & Technology Forum. The forum focused attention on the challenges facing society in managing technology, water resources and climate change. The day-long forum brought together a diversity of groups including the business community, investors, innovators, scientists, academicians, public agencies and the public. Click here for more information.
Click here to view a slideshow of the event.


Spring Green Expo â€" June 10, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Attend seminars, visit exhibits of green products and listen to guest speakers at the 3rd annual event. Click here for more information and to register for the event.


The quagga mussel is tiny, but its presence is hugeâ€"and hugely destructive. Quaggas are an invasive species and major problem for Metropolitan and water providers throughout the country. Read the entire story.



At A Glance

Watering Index Widget:
Support Southern California water conservation efforts by adding the Watering Index to your Web site. The index helps residents save water and money on their water bills by having them adjust their sprinkler controllers as the temperature changes.

Weymouth Treatment Plant Turns 70
Completed in 1940, the F.E. Weymouth Water Treatment Plant, one of Metropolitan's five treatment plants, ranks as one of the largest water treatment facilities in the United States, with a design capacity of 520 million gallons per day for distribution to Los Angeles and Orange counties. The plant is currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation with upgrades to various systems, including electrical, and plans are underway for an ozone treatment system and a solar power generation facility. Weymouth has also long served as a visual icon for the Metropolitan Water District, with its Mission Revival style architecture, blue-tiled bell tower, vivid mosaic and colorful tiles.

Read the entire story.

                                                                                       Weymouth Water Treatment Plant

Click here to see the slideshow. -->


Answers to Inquiries
I’ve heard of a “carbon footprint” but what is my “water footprint?”

Your water footprint is the total amount of water you use in your home and/or business on an annual basis. You can make your water footprint smaller by becoming more conscious of your water use and learning what you can do to use water more efficiently. This will help ensure our water supply for the future. To learn more about saving water go to

Do you have a question or concern about water?  Please direct your inquiries to



Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Get your fresh recycling news right here.....

How You Can be more active and responsible with our Oceans

sea nettles, disneynature, oceans, scuba diver

OCEANS was "a magnificent effort from a highly skilled team of fimmakers from all over the world," says Earle.

“Beneath the surface, it all becomes clear that what we put into the ocean doesn’t just go away,” Dr. Sylvia Earle says in an early-morning interview.

Called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and The New York Times and “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, Earle is a world-renowned oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, among many other accolades.

A former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), Earle earned her Ph.D. from Duke and holds 15 honorary degrees.

She has also logged more than 6,000 hours underwater, led the first team of women aquanauts in 1970 and set a record for solo diving to a depth of 3,300 feet. But we don’t list these honors to tout her aqueous accomplishments, but rather to set the tone that Earle knows her stuff.

“We thought of the ocean as the ultimate garbage disposal, but now it’s coming back to haunt us, especially in the fish that are high in the food chain,” she continues. “All of the top predators that are in our menus, they are loaded with the things we put in the sea – mercury, fire retardants, pesticides, herbicides.”

“And in the past 20 years at least, I’ve not done any dive anywhere that I haven’t seen trash that humans have put there.”

Q&A with Sylvia Earle

Among her many accomplishments, Earle was also the scientific advisor and a part of the “cheering squad” for Disneynature’s newest film, OCEANS. Called “a magnificent piece of work” and “a tribute to the ocean,” Earth911 had the opportunity to talk with Earle not only about the film, but about how our everyday decisions are affecting one of our most precious natural resources. Below are a few of the highlights from our conversation.

EARTH911: What is the No. 1 problem that you see affecting our oceans at this moment?

SYLVIA EARLE: I think there are some major issues. What we’re putting into the ocean, the trash, debris, the garbage, and what we’re taking out – too much of the wildlife. By the middle of the 21st century, there really won’t be the large fish that we are accustomed to – the tuna, the grouper, the sharks.

But the biggest problem is getting people to know, to understand, to make the connection back to us. We’ve learned more about the ocean in the past 50 years than in all of history put together. Whole mountain ranges, hydrothermal vents, the fact that there are many thousands more volcanoes underwater than above – these are discoveries that have come about since I was a kid.

But the big discovery is that there are limits to what we can put in and take out, but that we can also make a difference and do something about it. When areas are protected, it’s incredible – they have a chance to recover because the ingredients [the underwater flora and fauna that make up a particular ecosystem] are all still there.

There are only 10 percent of the sharks left in the ocean from when I was a kid. Knowing these things should inspire people to take action. It’s now considered a real gift when you go out in the ocean and see a whale or a turtle or a tuna. Instead of saying ‘I better eat it before it’s gone,’ we should be protecting it before it’s gone.

EARTH911: What can the average person do to make a difference regarding our oceans, even if they’re in a land-locked state?

EARLE: Well, one thing that Pierce Brosnan [narrator of the film] makes clear is that with every breath we take, every drop of water we use, you are connected and dependent on the ocean. The ocean has, over the years, been our life-support system. Now it’s becoming clear that we have to take conscious action to take care of it.

Part of the proceeds of the film will be dedicated to establishing protected areas by the Nature Conservancy. It’s one of the things people can do locally, statewide, nationally, internationally – bring about marine protected areas; that we just choose to embrace them as we do national parks – as a life insurance policy for ourselves.

A fraction – about 1 percent of the ocean worldwide – is in a marine protected area. Much more needs to be done.  [...] This I think will be a revelation to many. A lot is going on underwater that we should know about, think about and care about, and really protect these creatures and not think of them as commodities to be consumed.

EARTH911: As the host of the nation’s largest recycling database, we’re obviously interested in reducing waste output. How integral do you think recycling efforts are to protecting the ocean?

EARLE: Absolutely critical. There are a few scenes [in the film] that show what we’re doing to the ocean, the trash, the debris. A shopping cart underwater that looks so out of place. [...] It’s not just the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but it’s true throughout the ocean. We can’t just be deep sixing things [the practice of throwing garbage into the sea].

Where we go from here

Clownfish in coral reef, disneynature, oceans

"Coral reefs are 50 percent of what they were, and they are affected by the global warming trend, the extraction of the wildlife that makes up the reef system and ocean acidification," according to Earle. Establishing marine protected areas is one way to preserve coral reefs.

A major focus in national media, areas such as garbage patches and waste in the ocean have garnered a great deal of attention lately. But despite this, it’s our own attention to the litter we produce that can have a true impact on the sea.

“Marine debris is a problem that starts with litter,” according Keith Christman, managing director of plastics markets for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), “and we must work together to prevent litter and increase proper waste management such as recycling.”

Indeed, preventing waste from reaching the ocean is a task that belongs to everyone.

“All of us share a responsibility to help reduce litter and prevent our coastlines and oceans from becoming repositories for waste,” according to an ACC press release. “Working together, we can contribute to cleaner oceans, beautiful coastlines, and a better environment for future generations.”

To help with litter prevention, be sure to carry out all trash that you bring when you visit coastlines or waterways, and take advantage of recycling that may be readily available there. Also, learn more about the local and retailer-based recycling opportunities in your area to ensure you recycle as many materials as possible.

Additionally, Earle encourages the establishment and support of underwater preserves and protected areas, as scientists estimate that coral reefs, such as those of the Caribbean, could be gone in 50 years without a network of well-managed marine protected areas.

The Nature Conservancy is an organization that establishes marine protected areas, and worked directly with OCEANS to establish these regions through its “See ‘OCEANS,’ Save Oceans” campaign. More than 35,000 acres of coral reef in The Bahamas will now be protected on behalf of the moviegoers who came out to see the movie during its opening week.

At 55 square miles, this protected area of coral reefs will be almost two-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan – the equivalent of more than 412 Disneylands. But as Earle mentioned earlier, less than 1 percent of our oceans fall under “protected” status.

Perhaps after making a stronger connection between our everyday choices (where our food comes from or where our trash goes, for example) we will all feel a bit more empowered to responsibly manage our waste.

Posted via web from Newport Beach Blog

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ultimate Reuse Challenge 3

Made from plastic drinking straws, Matthew's shade is the perfect way to revamp that hold lamp. Photo: Amanda Wills,

It’s the last week of our Ultimate Reuse Challenge that called on the Earth911 staff to come up with creative ways to reuse common and hard-to-recycle plastics.

Over the past three weeks, we have featured the top designs.

Readers can vote for their favorite design, and the winner will get a donation to his or her favorite charity. Simply post a tweet, share on Facebook or comment at the end of the story to cast your vote.

Last week’s projects were made from yoga mats, plastic bags and bottles caps. Week one featured CD cases, candy wrappers and milk jugs.

Here are this week’s designs:

Drink straw lamp shade

Matthew Kohlbeck – End-User Support Manager

Made of plastic #5 polypropylene, drinking straws are actually the same resin as bottle caps and medicine bottles. But there’s just one catch: Their small size and light weight make them harder to recycle. But as an artist, craft lover and former architecture student, Matthew was up to the challenge.

“My family is really into projects,” he says. “We save and reuse everything we can and use items for cool projects. In fact, every gift I give my wife, I usually make it.”

Matthew, his wife and 3-year-old son collaborated on several design ideas and tried to better understand how the material worked. Matthew even attempted to melt the straws to create a mold – an idea that he says was a disaster.

Matthew chose a globe sketch because "It seemed like the Earth911 thing to do." Photo: Amanda Wills,

“They shriveled into a ball. And when I tried melting them slowly, they gave off a really toxic fume. You’re dealing with a high amount of sensitivity because the straws are thin and hollow, so you have to have high heat,” Matthew explains.

“Think if it like this: It’s the difference between setting a piece of paper on fire and lighting a phone book on fire.”

After a lot of trial and error, Matthew says he began to think of ways to keep the material intact, while reusing it in an eco-friendly way. He wanted something practical that his son could also be a part of, this led to the idea of the lamp shade.

Matthew’s shade was made as a way to revamp an old lamp instead of spending money a new one.

What you’ll need: Approx 150 straws, three CD cases, fabric glue, scissors, marker, tape, small table lamp (Matthew reused this lamp from IKEA), low-heat LED bulb

How to make it:

Step 1: Draw a design concept if you want your straw colors to form shapes.

Step 2: Cut the straws in quarter to half-inch pieces.

"Once I was out of the experimental phase, the actual project it only took two hours at the most, but a lot of this was due to having a 3-year-old cut the straws," Matthew says. Photo: Amanda Wills,

Step 3: Lay the CD cases open and face-down. Break one case in half, as you will only need one side. You will have five sections total.

Step 4: While CD cases are opened flat, glue straws in desired pattern. Set aside about 30 straws, as these will be used later to fill in the seams. Allow to dry for about three hours.

Step 5: Bend one CD case at a 90-degree angle. Fold the second case at a 90-degree angle as well. Snap the two cases into place so that they make a cube. Tape this together to hold while you glue down the edges where the CD cases meet.

Step 7: Apply glue to the edges of your remaining CD case and attach it to the top. Note that you will have a gap. Use your leftover straws in fill in this space.

Step 8: Let it dry overnight.

Step 9: Simply place the shade over your lamp. Make sure your bulb does not touch the shade in order to prevent melting.

Matthew’s bonus tip: Cutting the straws is harder than you may think as the cut pieces will fly off of your scissors. Matthew used a large plastic tub so that the pieces would fall into one concentrated area.

Stacy used an empty detergent bottle and PVC pipe to create a lacrosse stick. Photo: Amanda Wills,

Detergent bottle lacrosse stick

Stacy Boehme – Office Assistant

Made of plastic #2, plastic detergent bottles are commonly recycled in curbside programs. But their thickness makes them a great material for many types of reuse projects.

Plastic #2 is translucent and relatively stiff. These properties create a strong barrier, are suitable for high temperatures, and the material is virtually crack-resistant.

At first, Stacy was not excited at all about this project. But she succumbed to peer pressure.

“OK, I really did end up having fun, and it was a cool team-building exercise,” she admitted.

When thinking of her project, Stacy wanted to do something that could be used outdoors for fun.

“It may not be the sturdiest of projects, but the idea is definitely there,” she says.

To reinforce the durability of the lacrosse stick, Stacy used PVC pipe, which is very strong and and able to withstand high impact.

What you’ll need: One detergent bottle, 1½-inch wide PVC pipe (you may have to get this cut), paint, glue, one bag of rubber bands, scissors

"I didn't want to do the project at first. I was reluctant," Stacy says. "But I ended up having a lot of fun, and I think my project is rad." Photo: Amanda Wills,

How to make it:

Step 1: Turn empty detergent bottle upside-down and measure a half inch from the top and 1 inch from the bottom. Using these two points, cut an oval-shaped hole into the side of the detergent bottle.

Step 2: Remove the outer cap of the bottle and cut out the middle of cap to the edges. Leave the spout on the bottle intact.

Step 3: Apply a thin layer of glue to the inside of PVC pipe. Place PVC pipe over the spout, fitting securely.

Step 4: Apply another layer of glue around the PVC pipe. Place cut-out cap over the PVC pipe. It may take a little elbow grease to push it down.

Step 5: Paint your detergent bottle and with desired design. Let it dry overnight.

Stacy’s bonus tip: Use a package of rubber bands to make your ball. “The rubber band ball was kind of an afterthought. It was another reuse project, perfect!”

Gift/credit card Rolodex

Trey Granger – Operations Assistant

Take a quick look through your wallet. You’ve got ID cards, credit cards, gift cards and maybe even old hotel key cards you kept after check-out.

These cards are made of a plastic resin called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that is infinitely recyclable, but often landfilled.

Trey used hard-to-recycle gift cards to make a Rolodex pyramid. Photo: Amanda Wills,

“I was worried about what I was going to get because I think that certain plastics lend themselves better to creativity, which is why it was nice when I got gift cards because they offered a lot more to me than other products would have,” Trey says.

Trey’s idea came from his fascination with building a house of cards. Since gift cards are the same size, Trey wanted to learn to make a house of cards and somehow incorporate that design into something practical.

“At first I just wanted to make a house of cards. But I knew I would get disqualified because it wasn’t really useful,” Trey jokes. “So I made it into some sort of shelf and thought of what products would fit into it.”

“We get business cards all the time and have no way of filing them,” Trey says. “They’re in an unorganized stack. But this project gives you order so that you can access them easier.”

What you’ll need: 18 cards, tape, one sheet of cardstock or paperboard material, marker, scissors

"I am happy because it was a project that provided a lot of creativity as well as some future use," Trey says. "It also allowed for me keep cards that I wouldn't have known what to do with otherwise." Photo: Amanda Wills,

How to make it:

Step 1: Make individual triangles using three cards each (see photo). You’ll have six triangles total. Tape together the “width” ends of the cards to secure the corners.

Step 2: Use three triangles and tape them together at the base. Stack two more so that outsides line up evenly. Stack the last on top to make a pyramid. You’ll have nine slots total. Tape sides of pyramid.

Step 3: Cut cardstock into triangle shape that is the same area as your pyramid. This will serve as your background. Using tape, attach cardstock to back of pyramid.

Step 4: Using a marker, label each of the nine slots with three-letter categories (A-C, D-F, etc.).

Trey’s tip: Do not use cards with sensitive information, such as expired credit cards. You don’t want to get your identity stolen.

What’s your favorite project? Tell us! The winner will receive a donation to his or her favorite charity. Submit your feedback below, via Facebook or Twitter.

Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. The American Chemistry Council is one of these partners.

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Lazy Environmentalist

"My anger, frustration and fear were alienating me from my family. I thought, 'I don’t want to be this person, and I’m not even affecting any change.' I knew there had to be a way for me to be happier and also affect change in society," says Dorfman of being an activist.

Josh Dorfman has a confession: He likes to take long showers. That’s where he does his best thinking, and he’s got plenty on his mind as a CEO, author and television show host.

The mission of his television show, “The Lazy Environmentalist,” is to make it as easy as possible for a person to reduce his or her environmental impact while maintaining a high quality of life.

This is where the long shower comes back into the story. Rather than stop doing something he truly enjoys, Dorfman mitigates the damage of his longer shower by using an Oxygenics low-flow showerhead that cuts water usage by 40 percent.

“There are product solutions that can help us with our environmental shortcomings,” he says.

Dorfman tries to get the word out about such products, whether they be eco-friendly winter boots, organic crib mattresses, or zero-down home solar panels. He teaches about these options through his books, Web site and television show.

“The lazy environmentalist approach is about determining what will turn Americans on to environmentally smart choices,” Dorfman says. “It’s about appealing to our enlightened self-interest that is very willing to do ‘the right thing’ provided there’s something else in it for us. It may not be laudable, but it’s reality, and I prefer working effectively within reality instead of engaging in a campaign of wishful thinking.”

Dorfman’s television show explores simple, green solutions for a variety of individuals. The second season of “The Lazy Environmentalist” will be debuting on the Sundance Channel on April 20, just in time for Earth Day 2010. Earth911 has a sneak peak of what to expect.

What’s new in season 2

Although the show maintains the same format, which highlights the green transition of an individual or family, the energy level is much higher in the new season, Dorfman says. His goal is to “not sugarcoat green.”

“We show lots of green solutions, but they are constantly being evaluated,” Dorfman says. “We honestly ask, ‘Can green solutions hold up in the real world?’ Sometime they do, and sometimes they don’t. It’s not just green show and tell. We test to see if the products really work.”

He is also excited about green myth busting. For example, the first episode involves greening a Hollywood interior designer, who has admittedly lied about looking into green options in the past. While at the store looking for zero VOC paints, Dorfman educates the store employee and viewers about the need to look closer at the label.

“Zero VOC doesn’t mean zero toxins. You have to check for both,” he says, explaining that sometimes consumers jump to buy the “green” product without verification.

The new season holds many surprises, including unique green candidates, such as a funeral director and an exterminator.

“We had a lot of fun filming, and I hope that translates to viewers,” Dorfman says.

From frustration to inspiration

Dorfman discovered his passion for environmentalism while living in China in 1995. One day in the crowded city, he pondered on how the world would be different when all the millions of Chinese people got cars. “I wasn’t even an environmentalist at that point, I just realized it would be really, really bad,” he remembers.

Dorfman shoots a promo for season 2 of "The Lazy Environmentalist." On the green screen, producers superimpose a scene of China circa 1995 - about the time of his environmental realization that a billion more people are about to ditch their bicycles in favor of cars.

As he began to learn more about unsustainability, Dorfman changed his lifestyle and became a green activist.

“I went through the normal activist stage of being angry for a number of years,” he says. “By 2002, I was just tired of being upset all the time. My anger, frustration and fear were alienating me from my family. I thought, ‘I don’t want to be this person, and I’m not even affecting any change.’ I knew there had to be a way for me to be happier and also affect change in society.”

Dorfman felt inspired to start his own sustainable contemporary furniture company, Vivavi.

He wanted to “help shift the way Americans think about green living and rebrand environmentalism as choices that are desirable and that tangibly improve our quality of life.”

Although Vivavi was a fulfilling venture, Dorfman became increasingly interested in engaging the average American in green living practices. He was invited to host a radio show (which he broadcast from his New York closet), eventually leading to his first book and later, his television show.

Over the years, he has mastered the technique of communicating green to all audiences. Unfortunately, many green organizations and companies do not practice this approach, he says.

Communication gap

“One might argue environmentalists are actually the worst advocates of their own message,” Dorman says. “We don’t have a solution challenge. We have a communication challenge. Until we start talking about green choices in terms of things that matter to all people and not just to other environmentalists, only environmentalists will hear us.”

Dorfman shares a story from the first season of “The Lazy Environmentalist” when he was trying to green a family that produced an enormous amount of trash. The father was hardest to reach. It was only when Dorfman began talking about the possibility that trash pickup prices might increase that the father opened up to his suggestions.

“We’ve got to talk about it in terms of things people are personally invested in and get away from this feel good-ism which the majority of Americans don’t believe in, even if I personally do,” he says. “It doesn’t compromise our integrity to communicate with people on their own level.”

He describes an increasing need for better green marketing,visibility and accessibility.

“I believe that green business ought to do a better job of making their products available where people really shop, make prices comparable, and make quality of products comparable.  The reality is that it is very difficult for people to change their behavior on their own volition, but if the green product is right there on the shelf next to the other product, people will buy it.”


Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Virginia Tech designs zero-energy Lumenhaus home for Solar Decathlon


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?


Via: Inhabitat

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The New Biofuels? Mud and Beef

Two new biofuels are coming from unlikely sources – mud and beef.

The Navy is testing a microbial fuel cell that works by converting decomposing marine organisms buried in mud into electricity, according to PlanetSave.

The fuel cell has been tested, and so far has shown promise in powering sensors. Researchers hold out hope that it could one day power underwater unmanned vehicles and various underwater devices that monitor the ocean environment.

In theory, researchers say the fuel cells could power equipment for years without servicing.

“We are working on a 4-foot long autonomous underwater vehicle that will settle on the seafloor and recharge its batteries using this fuel cell approach,” said researcher Linda Chrisey, in a press release. “We are already able to power many types of sensors using microbial fuel cells.”

Out of the water and onto the prairies, another form of biofuel is coming in the form of a beef byproduct.

An Amtrak train – Heartland Flyer – recently took its first trip using a B20 blend – 20 percent biofuel and 80 percent diesel.

The biofuel comes from beef fat left over from processing, reports Inhabitat.

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles