Posts filed under ‘Green Recycling’
Motorola recently launched what they claim to be first ever carbon neutral phone at the Consumer Electrics Show in Las Vegas. Additionally, the plastics used in the phone’s exterior are made from recycled water bottles. The company signed up with Carbonfund.org to offset the carbon produced during the manufacturing process of the handset. Distribution and operating activities are also offset. Motorola invests in the Carbonfund’s program of renewable energy and reforestation investments.
When you take a close look at the phone you will see that the Carbonfund investment is not a free ticket to environmental utopia because the press buttons and the robust exterior are entirely made of the kinds of metals that still will need recycling at the end of the phone’s life. But, having said that, knowing that the plastics are 100% made of recycled bottles is hopeful, especially when competitors like Nokia and Samsung are using bioplastics made from food crops. The Carbonfund also awarded Motorola with its CarbonFree® Product Certification after an extensive product life-cycle assessment. (more…)
European researchers say they have begun to develop fridges that are powered by a 100% alloy which will reduce their energy usage by 50%. In the last 15 years, fridge technology developers have had to consider what option would be the lesser of two evils. Environmentalists alerted them to the harmful side effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the refrigerant chemical, but alternative refrigerants require a lot more energy.
But now there’s an alternative to both chemicals, a solution that will reduce your fridge’s energy bill by half. Trick is to use electromagnetic fields cleverly. No joking. The scientists work on behalf of BASF, the chemicals company, and a Dutch foundation called Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM). They are pioneering technology based on magnetocaloric materials (again, no joking). These materials are a new class of refrigerants and are set to significantly reduce the negative impact of today’s cooling systems on the environment.
A Welsh eco community have been granted permission to build a settlement of nine eco-smallholdings on a plot of 76 acres close to the village of Glandwr. The community submitted plans for five detached houses as well as a row of four dwellings built from straw bale, mud and timber. Water will be collected from an existing spring and rain captured from turf-made rooftops.
The community, made up of the low-impact lifestyle group calling themselves Lammas will build their off-grid, earthy homes using renewable energy derived in part from a water turbine system. They will also capture bio gas from composting all organic waste through compost toilets, compost heaps and wormeries.
The nine families plan to create fuel from coppiced willow and elephant grass which they are going to grow in the community. For their daily needs they will depend on small scale farming by producing goods such as flax-made linen shawls, compost worms and vegetables and fruits that they will sell on site and via local shops.
“We plan to be largely self-sufficient, growing most of our food. We will keep cows, geese, chickens, ducks and bees. We plan to grow hazelnuts, apples, plums and strawberries as an income. All our fuel will be grown on the plot using a willow short rotation coppice. We intend to supplement our income by continuing to work one day a week,” the village’s co-founder Paul Wimbush, told a Welsh newspaper. He added that the nine families will be 75% self sustainable.
The Lammas’ eco community is the first to be granted official approval in the UK, where thus far only two local authorities have legislation in place that promotes ecological living. After submitting their plans for the first time, the Lammas were rejected because of lack of detail and Pembrokeshire county council planning authorities’ worries that some of the building materials used and the potential graffic generation of the plans were not low impact. The group then took five months to draw up a second batch of plans, which were approved. “We made the whole application electronic and we had the idea of putting it on our website so that people can see what we are talking about,” Wimbush was quoted as saying on NewBuilder.co.uk.
PC Magazine runs an All Green issue this month. The magazine introduces a ‘Green Approved award’ for computers that raise the bar for environmentally friendly technology and calls for the next international deal on climate change to set standards for manufacturing, product life spans, power consumption, and recycling of technical equipment.
“We need a long-term alternative to shipping garbage from one place to another. […] It’s not just about our cars, heating systems, and AC. It’s the products in our hands, in our pockets, on our desktops, and right in front of us”, the magazine opines. The IT sector’s contribution to pollution is certainly a topical but under reported issue. Most of the hype about green IT originates from power savings through clever software, but there’s incredibly little being done about the use of highly toxic physical materials (plastic, LED screens etc).
At the moment the non-biodegradability of electronics products is becoming an issue because of the waste problem that is being created as landfills are overflowing and electronics equipment is being dumped in irresponsible ways in Africa and Asia.
Some recycling efforts are underway in the US. Companies and individuals can depose ethically of PCs and other equipment at various companies. One such company is called Intercon Recycling, which operates throughout the US and Canada and runs under ISO certified guidelines for environmental management businesses. Every item deposed at an Intercon Recycling outlet is broken down into its basic components and not a single item ends up in a landfill.
If you are looking to depose of your still functioning cell phone, pager or PDA, try to cash it in at CellForCash.com or donate it to Call2Recycle.org, CollectiveGood.com, donateaphone.com. Alternatively, you can drop them off at Staples office supply shops or even at the police station.
Just to give you an idea of the value of recycling; one recycled aluminum can saves up to 300 watt-hours. That is enough to run a 100-watt bulb for three hours! Making a new aluminum can from recycled aluminum only takes 5% of the energy it takes to create one from scratch. The same counts for the various materials processed in old PCs and electronics.
As if we didn’t know it already, the Vatican says that not recycling lands us in hell. But yesterday, a close aide to the Pope officially singled out placky bags as items of the Almighty’s discontent if failure to dispose of them ethically has been diagnosed.
This is no joke. The Vatican has officially updated its Seven Deadly Sins to make them compliant with our times, and the list now includes ‘polluting the environment’ as the number three mortal sin. The author of the ranking, Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, is a close ally of the Pope and he also happens to be the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary. That is a main court in Italy, not a prison. But it has an effective eery tone to it nevertheless.
Girotti was quoted by the Vatican’s official newspaper, the Osservatore Romano, as saying that the new seven deadly sins are designed to make worshippers realise that their vices have an effect on others. That means; you’re no longer on the ride all by yourself, a message that resonated from the previous list of seven deadly sins.
These are the new seven deadly, therefore mortal, sins
carrying out experiments on humans
polluting the environment
causing social injustice
becoming obscenely wealthy
The Church suggests you go to confession if you have sinned. But you can of course also put in a ‘good work’ to offset your lethal lifestyle. A word of advice; the more literal you take this message, the better. Look at this trash art of 1,000 statues of human bodies, exhibited until 29 March in the Piazza Del Popolo in Rome (photo). They’re made by a German artist called H.A. Schult of his personal household waste. The idea is ‘we produce trash and we become trash‘. Let’s say it’s the new take on dust.
If you saw the movie Seven you already will be familiar with the sins of yesteryear. (My favorite was the spaghetti inducing idea of gluttony);
This is a 3.5 minute guide to building a pumping system for irrigating your garden by recycling rain water. All you need is an underground tank, a bucket, a drill, a circular electric fan (the people in the video picked it up for $5 second hand), a cone shaped water pump (also very cheap in swap shops), and a punctured garden hose for the irrigation system.
You attach the restyled fan funnels under your roof gutters to catch the water, leading to an underground reservoir. When it’s the dry season, the pump driven irrigation system waters your garden!
On March 6th the first episode of the real life soap StartupJunkies will air in which the protagonists are real entrepreneurs pioneering online delivery of postal mail. The show, shot by hi-def channel Mojo.com, follows Ron Wiener who set up Earthclass Mail on his trail to lure venture capital.
The business pitch is compelling; companies and private persons can reduce their carbon footprint and boost their productivity by having Earthclass Mail scan their mail and put it online. Just like email! This way you can eliminate unwanted mail before it arrives on your desk and clutters up the spare office space.
Wiener’s aim is to achieve a business presence in over 20 U.S. cities and the reality soap is a big part of this effort. In the first episode Wiener is filmed traveling to Seattle’s K4 global network, a fast growing international business angel investor group to secure major cash injection into his business. A group of over 500 investors will examine the opportunity, go through the prospectus and ask some highly critical questions before deciding if Earthclass Mail will receive any investment. “The show illustrates the problems faced by entrepreneurs, and explains the growth process they face as they seek funding to grow their new businesses”, Judith Iglehart and Scott Pacult report on Keiretsu (K4)’s blog.
Wiener has been on the road for a while already, having pitched his business before Californian, Colorado and Barcelona investors members of the K4 investment community. The man’s most luring catch phrase no doubt is “See how easily your organization can witness the biggest boost in productivity and cost savings since the introduction of email.”
Wiener has a point. By aggregating the paper stacks of corporations, the recycling effort could take off in earnest. He’s got my blessing; I have signed up for their referral program. Be sure to click on the link here!