Posts filed under ‘Green Recycling’

Motorola Launches Its First Carbon Neutral Phone

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…)

January 29, 2009 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

Fridges Can Cut Energy Usage By Half If Alloy Based Chemicals Are Used

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.
(more…)

June 19, 2008 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

Nine Welsh Families To Create UK’s First Mini Eco Village

lammas2.jpgA 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.

lammas.jpg“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.

March 18, 2008 at 10:15 am 1 comment

PC Magazine Says Next Climate Deal Should Include Rules On Tech Equipment

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.

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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.

March 17, 2008 at 9:30 am 1 comment

Vatican: Failing To Recycle Is A Mortal Sin From Now On

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.

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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

genetic modification
carrying out experiments on humans
polluting the environment
causing social injustice
causing poverty
becoming obscenely wealthy
taking drugs

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);

sloth
envy
gluttony
greed
lust
wrath
pride

March 12, 2008 at 9:32 am Leave a comment

Guide To Recycling Your Rainwater By Building A Pump Driven Irrigation System

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!

March 11, 2008 at 10:27 am 2 comments

Have Your Company Post Scanned Online And Boost Recycling By 500%

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.

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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!

March 4, 2008 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

Make Your House A Resource – Live In A Box

If your future is as bleak as the planet’s, you will have had visions of a cardboard box existence. Lighten up, cardboard boxes can be fun! If they come blessed with a designer’s touch, that is.

Australian architects Stutchbury and Pape have designed a cardboard box for you that takes no more skill to put together than an average Ikea wardrobe. The house is extremely low cost in terms of daily living. For energy usage, it relies only on 12-volt batteries or photovoltaic cells. And there’s a composting system which ingeniously produces nutrient-rich water for gardening.

What’s more, the box house is fully transportable! It’s made of 85% recycled materials and the entire thing when put together, itself will be 100% recycleable. By using paper as the main resource, people that opt to live in this prefab save 12 cubic metres of landfill, 39 trees and 30 000 litres of water.

cardboard21.jpgStutchbury and Pape have built various similar houses in Australia and abroad, ranging from residential to institutional and public buildings. The elimination of waste in all its forms is a primary design guide for Stutchbury and Pape. The architects approach materials from the inside out and model them to suit their use. They focus particularly on ease, cost and duration of replacement materials. They assemble buildings for flexibility, disassembly, reuse and predetermined lifecycles, so that a building is always seen as a resource.

The price of the box house? $35,000. Sold internationally.

March 3, 2008 at 9:59 am Leave a comment

HP Finally Brings Recycled Plastics Cartridges On The Market

Printer cartridge giant Hewlet Packard has begun manufacturing cartridges from recycled water bottles and old cartridges. The ‘closed loops plastic recycled’ cartridges won’t be any pricier, HP assures its clients.

Recycled plastics mainly consist of printer cartridges made of PET polyethylene terephthalate). During the recycling process, additives including fibers and resins are mixed with the old cartridges to strengthen and regenerate the material. Around 70 to 100 percent recycled materials are incorporated in HP’s products from now on. HP asked its customers to recycle cartridges in 2005. Under the Planet Partners Return And Recycling Program individuals and businesses can participate. The project is live in 45 countries and more are added.

Since 2005, printer users have handed in over 200 tractor trailer loads of ink cartridges. Enough to create more than 200 million new ones.

February 12, 2008 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

Office Retailer Staples Sees The Wood For The Trees

The paper sector is an obvious a target for green activism, so this weekend’s breaking news that office supplies retailer Staples severed all ties with its Singaporean paper supplier because of environmental concerns shouldn’t be that surprising. But the events that led to Staples’ move are an eye opener; a Wall Street Street Journal reporter discovered that the company was going to use its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo and tipped off the FSC about the environmental policies of APP.

APP’s paper producing methods incited environmental concerns first in 2004 when Greenpeace pointed out that it in part relies on natural rainforests for its production of paper. A hoist of US, Asian and European companies terminated their contracts with APP, one after the other in recent years. All cited environmental concerns as their reason. The giant retailer Office Depot Inc. is also in the list.

The WSJ reporter’s action resulted in the FSC’s objection to Staples’ use of its label. The certification is considered the world’s most stringent, and ensures responsible management of the world’s forests at miller level. A Staples spokesman last weekend told the Wall Street Journal “We decided engagement was not possible anymore. We haven’t seen any indication that APP has been making any positive strides [to protect the environment.]”. He added that staying in business with APP would come “at great peril to our brand.”

It’s obvious; Staples is concerned that its customers won’t be enamored with forest destructive paper production methods. APP has a policy of producing paper from newly planted forests but says that due to huge demand, it needs to cut trees from mature rainforests as well. This practice is, in the Wall Street’s Journal’s terms, ‘having an impact on big U.S. paper buyers’.

The big question now of course is whether APP, one of the world’s largest paper manufacturers, will stop its destruction. Its policy thus far has been to deny that it’s doing anything wrong. The incentive is rather limited; Staples purchased only around 9% of its total paper supplies from APP and roughly 5% of this concerned paper. The WSJ didn’t manage to get a reply from APP immediately, but perhaps later this week, when Staples officially announces its decision, there will be more information. Stay posted by subscribing to this feed.

The energy and pollution factors of various differing paper types can be calculated down to the amount of trees via a model devised by Environmental Defense. The calculator lists all the main paper types and enables you to compare them on energy usage, waste production, trees chopped down, greenhouse gases produced and waste water. For instance, the difference between 100 tonnes of normal copy paper compared to 100 tonnes of glossy magazine paper is a whopping 509 trees and 34,943 lbs of greenhouse gases, not to speak of the other measures.

calcu.jpg

Despite these stunning numbers, the alternative to wood-sourced paper is recycling, but this is not entirely eco friendly either. Recycling paper involves use of chemicals like sodium hydroxide (for de-inking) and hydrogen peroxide (for bleaching). The ensuing pulping process also involves plenty of chemicals.

For a detailed guide on various virgin and recycled papers’ production methods, check out CeleryDesign. The breakdown is by papers’ fiber content, chlorine and weight:

paperman.jpg

There are three types of FSC certified papers, including a recently introduced ‘recycled’ label. To carry this label a material must be made from 100% recycled paper. To see which papers come with what kind of certification, visit the UK recycling debunker site LovelyAsATree.

February 11, 2008 at 11:26 am Leave a comment

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