Sunday, November 30, 2008


Communities awarded for getting their hands dirty

City News - Monday, December 01, 2008

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Five community units in Jakarta have been named "environment heroes" for their efforts in tackling Jakarta's waste management problem.

In presenting awards to the five communities Sunday, Governor Fauzi Bowo said his office would pay more attention to people's environmental initiatives.

"Each of us, whether ordinary people or high-ranking officials, should promote efforts to save the environment," he said.

"There will be no more policies issued that could have an adverse impact on the public and the environment."

In the third Jakarta Green and Clean competition, community unit (RW) 07 in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, was named the winner for a waste separation program, followed by RW 13 Cipinang Melayu in East Jakarta, South Jakarta's RW 06 Pesanggerahan and RW 02 Pasar Minggu, and RW 03 Semper Barat in North Jakarta.

The program was initiated by the Unilever Foundation with support from Republika daily newspaper, Delta FM radio and NGO Aksi Cepat Tanggap, as well as the City Environment Management Board (BPLHD).

"Although it was our first time in the competition, the win doesn't surprise me because we have been doing community empowerment programs for waste management for the past seven years," a representative from Kebayoran Lama, Fajarini Indasih, told The Jakarta Post.

About 300 community units took part in the competition for the Rp 20 million (US$1,700) first place prize money.

The Jakarta Green and Clean program also seeks to increase communities' awareness of waste management through training programs.

BPLHD head Budirama Natakusumah said more than 60 percent of the 6,000 tons of waste the city produced every day was organic household waste.

This calls for proper education so each household in each community has the knowledge to manage and utilize the organic waste, he added.

"The program aims to change communities' attitude toward waste management in their areas. We want them to have a sense of belonging to the management process," he said.

"We taught them to process organic waste into something beneficial that can they can reuse such as compost. We also trained them in making biopore holes. Our target is that at the end of 2008 there will be 5 million biopores available in Jakarta."

Communities who took part in the program were also trained to recycle plastic waste into profitable products, such as bags, pencil cases and umbrellas.

"In the future, we plan to teach people about electronic waste management and to empower and educate trash pickers to participate in the program," Budirama said.

The benefits turned out to be more than environmental.

"We actually made pretty decent money with this recycled plastic waste. We also managed to employ several young men and women in our community for this small cottage industry," Tia from Warakas, North Jakarta, said.

The ceremony, at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, Central Jakarta, was held in conjunction with Car Free Day.

No vehicle was allowed to enter Jl. Jend. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where usually the road is thick with traffic, people were riding bicycles, jogging and playing futsal.

Also featured at the Jakarta Green and Clean event were a tanjidor (traditional Jakarta music group) concert, theatrical performances from the communities, exhibitions and stands displaying the communities' recycled products.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Thanks to Rick Maxwell for drawing my attention to this important NRDC expose on why e-games are e-dangerous

Monday, November 24, 2008


This story appeared on Network World at

Fighting e-waste one cell phone at a time
ReCellular handles thousands of unwanted handsets every day, fixing them up for resale or sending them to be melted down and recycled
By Brad Reed , Network World , 11/24/2008
Sponsored by:

With most Americans switching their mobile handsets once every 18 months, the need to find safe ways to dispose of old cell phones has only grown. ReCellular, a self-described "electronics-sustainability" firm based in Dexter, Mich., has spent the past two decades working with the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) to become a major recycler and reseller of mobile handsets and accessories. Every day, ReCellular processes thousands of unwanted handsets and either fixes them for resale or sends them off to be melted down and recycled. ReCellular Vice President Mike Newman spoke with Network World senior writer Brad Reed about how his company is helping to reduce e-waste, as well as how enterprises can benefit from donating their mobile devices for reuse and recycling.

When did ReCellular come into existence?

We've been around since 1991, which means that we've been around long enough to be called an overnight success. [laughs] Initially, our business revolved around leasing cell phones to users back when a handset would cost thousands of dollars. But when carriers started subsidizing their phones at dramatically lower costs, we were stuck with a lot of old phones. It was then that we transitioned from a leasing company to a used phone sales company.

What is the need that you're trying to meet?

Related Content

As cell phones have become more ubiquitous, we estimate that there are between 100 million and 130 million phones that are thrown away every year. That's a tremendous glut and it poses questions on what we should do with tech we no longer want or need. What we do is run the cell phone industry's program for Verizon, AT&T, Motorola and other major industry players. They use us to handle their recycling program.

How big of a problem is electronic waste?

One phone on its own is pretty small, but when you do the math on the millions of phones discarded every year, it's quite dramatic. And if you include the batteries and all the different components within the phones, then in the aggregate it's pretty big. E-waste is seen as an up and coming issue, and government and interest groups are only starting to see how big of a problem it is.

What parts of cell phones can actually be recycled and what parts still have to be thrown out?

We have "zero landfill" policy, which means that we don't just recycle handsets, but also batteries and chargers. Even the leather holsters that people use as cell phone cases can be ground up and used as carpet backing material. When a cell phone is sent to a recycling center, its electronic components are first ground up inside massive shredders and are then smelted -- that is, they heated up at high temperatures so their base metals are separated from one another and are able to be reused.

Do you do the recycling at your Michigan headquarters or do you send the phones elsewhere for that?

Our specialty is reuse and collection. We receive between 20,000 and 25,000 phones every day, and we sort them into two major categories: the reusable products and the products that are obsolete. The obsolete handsets go to a recycling plant in Chicago, while the reusable phones go through testing and have personal content removed before they are resold as used handsets.

25,000 handsets every day is a lot. How do you process them?

We have more than 400 employees here that use an automated processing system to test which phones are still usable and which ones aren't. It's definitely an improvement from when I started working here five years ago when we literally just had a big table where phones would get dumped on and sorted manually.

What is your primary target market for selling used phones?

There is a surprisingly large market for used phones domestically. A lot of consumers don't want to sign two-year contracts with carriers and this is a great alternative to having to pay hundreds of dollars for new phones. We also have significant markets around the world, including Asia and Latin America.

Can you talk a bit about the program you've developed to help enterprise users safely dispose of their mobile devices?

A lot of companies have started to wake up to the potential impact of what could happen when their employees are done using their BlackBerries and they have company-sensitive information on them. We've designed solutions to help make sure they aren't at risk from a data security standpoint. We will work with companies to get phones out of employees' hands and into safe recycling centers. Companies have traditionally not done much to collect phones when employees are done with them, so we'll customize our solutions to make sure they are collecting them up and to make sure that when they are done using them that all sensitive data is destroyed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More trouble with fat-screen TVs

Bulky pick-up is only option to dump TVs

By June Watanabe

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 19, 2008
Question: My TV broke just a couple of days after the October e-waste recycling drive at the University of Hawaii-Manoa ended. Can you please tell me when and where will the next e-waste recycling collection will be?

Answer: The five-day Hawaii's Education & Government eWaste Disposal Days 2008, which included one day for private households to dispose of computers and other electronics, isn't going to be repeated anytime soon.

We don't know of any other recycling event that will accept TV sets.

The state Legislature this year passed a law, overriding a veto by Gov. Linda Lingle, that will require manufacturers to collect and recycle electronic devices, mainly computer devices, beginning in 2010.

TV sets are not included.

However, the new law also establishes a working group, to include TV manufacturers, to develop a plan to recycle TVs.

For now, you can put your broken TV out for bulky item pickup, said Markus Owens, spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Services.

The city does not have an e-waste recycling program for TVs or other electronics.

For electronic recycling options, Owens suggested checking on manufacturer take-back programs or retailer programs.

"These have been growing in recent months with the likes of Costco and Sam's Club promoting take-backs that include financial incentives for the customer," he said.

Individual manufacturers, such as Dell, Sony and Hewlett-Packard also offer recycling options on their Web sites.

Monthly "Aloha Aina" recycling events do accept electronics (not TVs), but in limited quantities only from households, Owens said.

Bikers' rights
In your Nov. 11 column about the Paki Avenue bike path, Honolulu police Capt. Jeff Richards said bikers should use bike paths for their own safety, especially along Paki Avenue. His statement, I suspect, is based more on his own personal feelings and not those of an experienced bicyclist. Bicyclists on Oahu do have the right to ride in the roadway, as allowed in state and county laws. Our bikes are considered vehicles and we have most of the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Capt. Richards' comment at face value may appear to be true but in many cases riding a bicycle on a crowded path, regardless of what it is called, where bicyclists and pedestrians are mixed can be more hazardous than riding in the road. Unfortunately, with the abysmal state of roadways and bike paths, each brings its own set of challenges. -- Bike Commuter/Racer for 20 years

You're correct that bikers are allowed to use the roadways, but are also subject to vehicular traffic laws, including stopping for red lights and stop signs, said Capt. Richards.

Under Section 291C-145 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, bikers traveling slower than "the normal speed of traffic" on a roadway "shall ride as near to the right-hand curb, on the edge of the roadway, or on the shoulder off of the roadway as practicable ... "

When there is "a usable bicycle lane," the law only says they have to be in that lane if they are traveling less than the normal speed of traffic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Appalling report on e-waste in Cali "under" that smirking R-Worder Schwarzenegger

Monday, November 17, 2008



In a number of recent client interactions with both enterprise IT end users and vendors, the question of “Is the ‘green’ in Green IT dead?” has come up. Primarily driven by the current economic climate, IT end users want to understand how relevant the environmental benefits of Green IT should be to their strategic planning; likewise, vendors want to know how palatable green messaging of their products and services is to their customers.First and foremost, technology is not green and never will be. The design, manufacture, operation and disposal of IT equipment generates tremendous upfront and ongoing environmental impact (read more about this in my “Is Green IT Your Emperor With No Clothes?” research). A recent – and very primetime – example of this is the 60 Minutes “The Electronic Wasteland” segment. David Berlind from InformationWeek offers a great follow on to this in his “An E-Waste Story That’ll Make You Want To Quit Tech” story.

Secondly, the ecological benefits of Green IT take a backseat to the business benefits – namely cost reduction. In other words, IT leadership’s driving motivation for Green IT is financial, not environmental. This shouldn’t be a surprise. At the end of the day, corporations – even those with the greenest of intentions – make decisions to effectively manage risk, costs and revenues to deliver profits which ultimately drive shareholder value.

While corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability is on the rise, these practices are being employed to ultimately achieve an economic goal. And a green strategy can be an effective means to this financial end. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Doing Good: Business And The Sustainability Challenge” identifies a positive correlation between green efforts and financial performance: “companies that rated their [green] efforts most highly over this time period [the past three years] saw annual profit increases of 16% and share price growth of 45%, whereas those that ranked themselves worst reported growth of 7% and 12% respectively.”

The key takeaway is that Green IT is no different. Because corporate IT operates within the realm of the corporation, financial obligations come first. While Forrester’s own research from April 2008 shows that “doing the right thing for the environment” is a top driver for IT professionals pursuing Green IT, these motivations must also deliver tangible business value – from reducing IT’s energy-related operating expenses to mitigating data center out-of-space or out-of-power concerns. So when setting Green IT strategy – especially in volatile economic times – I suggest IT leadership take a similar approach to Google’s Commitment to Sustainable Computing which explains: “Sustainability is good for the environment, but it makes good business sense too… It is this economic advantage that makes our efforts truly sustainable.”


High-Definition Power Hogs
November 2008
Read this issue of Greentips online

Most people shopping for a high-definition television (HDTV) consider screen size, resolution, and auxiliary connections—but what about energy use? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the more than 275 million TVs in this country consume over 50 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the output of more than 10 coal-fired power plants, according to researchers at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

While display technology has become more efficient over the years—liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology uses less energy per square inch than older cathode-ray tube (CRT) technology—energy use increases with screen size regardless of the technology. Some of today’s HDTVs, as a matter of fact, can consume more electricity in a year than a refrigerator.

Energy consumption varies widely between HDTVs, even between models of similar size. There are ways to ensure your new TV is as efficient as possible:

Choose the most efficient technology. There are three HDTV technologies on the market today: plasma, LCD, and rear-projection microdisplay (commonly known as DLP, or digital light processing). A study by technology reviewer CNET found that, on average, plasma TVs are the least efficient, consuming 0.33 watt of electricity per square inch of screen, while LCD TVs are slightly better at 0.28 watt per inch. Your best choice to save energy is DLP, which consumes only 0.13 watt per inch.

Choose Energy Star-rated models. On November 1, 2008, the EPA released new Energy Star specifications that now set maximum energy consumption limits for TVs in both standby and active modes (previous specifications applied only to standby mode). TVs that meet these new requirements (see the Related Resources) will be up to 30 percent more efficient than non-qualified models.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new TV, there are ways to reduce the energy being consumed by your current TV:

Unplug the TV when it is not in use. TVs that have a standby mode continue to draw power even when turned “off.”

Turn off the “quick start” option (if applicable). Just by waiting a few more seconds for the TV to warm up, you can significantly reduce standby power consumption.

Turn down the brightness settings. Many LCD TVs also have a backlight setting that is often set in stores to be brighter than necessary for most home environments.

Buy an Energy Star-rated digital-to-analog (DTA) converter box if you own an analog TV and do not plan to upgrade to digital by February 2009. According to the EPA, if all analog TV owners used Energy Star converter boxes, global warming pollution would be lowered by an amount equivalent to taking a million cars off the road.


Sunday, November 16, 2008


Have a peek at this


November 13, 2008
For the Digitally Deceased, a Profitable Graveyard

HARD DRIVES, printers, fax machines and cellphones move along a conveyor belt at the rate of six tons an hour into the gaping maw of a 16-foot-tall, 60-foot-long shredder at e-Scrap Destruction, in Islandia, N.Y.

Inside a chamber covered to prevent flying debris, the machine’s steel blades noisily chew through the components, reducing them to shards no more than four inches long. The shredded material goes back on the belt, where an overhead electromagnet removes material containing iron as the waste moves along.

There is something poignant about the process, the systematic destruction of these unwanted, in some cases never used, components. One more reminder of our disposable society.

This detritus of the digital age spells profit for Trace Feinstein, who founded e-Scrap Destruction two years ago.

“I saw computer recycling as the next big wave,” said Mr. Feinstein, 37, who previously ran a paper-shredding business with his father, Bob. “We did some research and found that not too many companies were doing it the right way.”

Finding ways to dispose of America’s increasingly large stream of e-waste is difficult: an estimated 133,000 computers are discarded by homes and businesses every day. In a 2006 report, the International Association of Electronics Recyclers estimated that about 400 million pieces of e-waste are scrapped each year. And while some prominent manufacturers, like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, have agreed to recycle their own equipment, such programs have so far made only a modest difference.

“It’s a huge problem, and it’s growing,” said Barbara Kyle, national coordinator of the San Francisco-based Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a group that promotes recycling of consumer electronics. “Think about how many gadgets you have now and didn’t have five years ago. We’re buying more and more things with shorter and shorter life spans.”

Ms. Kyle’s organization estimates that there are roughly 1,100 businesses in the United States and Canada that dispose of used electronic equipment, but that only a small percentage try to do it in an environmentally friendly way.

Many recycling companies, Mr. Feinstein said, “dismantle the equipment by hand, ship it overseas, sell it on eBay.” Anything with no value — for instance, the glass on computer monitors and central processing unit frames — often ends up in a landfill.” He and his father, the vice president of e-Scrap, decided that they wanted to handle the scrap more responsibly.

First, though, they had to show clients they could dispose of e-trash thoroughly. Enter the shredder: Mr. Feinstein hired Allegheny Paper Shredders in Delmont, Pa., a company he knew from his work in paper shredding, to build a machine capable of demolishing electronic components, for about $500,000.

“No way you can rescue any data from this,” Mr. Feinstein said, poking with a shovel at some shredded material.

Protecting customers’ privacy — ensuring that no personal or confidential data can be recovered from hard drives or memory — is a crucial selling point for e-Scrap.

That was the case with an important early client, the Town of Hempstead, also on Long Island. With 800,000 residents, Hempstead is one of the largest townships in the United States, and it has an extensive recycling program.

The town’s recycling coordinator, Sal Saia, said many residents were concerned about data security.

In fact, some people who brought their computers to the town’s recycling centers “would actually take the circuit boards out and start smashing them with a hammer,” he said. When he saw e-Scrap’s shredder in action in 2006, Mr. Saia said, he “was completely taken with their whole operation.” Since then, Hempstead has delivered all its electronics recyclables — about 12 tons a month — to e-Scrap.

The company’s pledge to recycle with minimal environmental impact was another reason Hempstead was sold on e-Scrap. That impact could be enormous — for instance, the picture tubes in computer monitors and television sets can contain up to 10 pounds of lead, a toxic substance.

From e-Scrap, the material is sent to MaSeR (Materials Selection and Recycling), a business in Barrie, Ontario, near Toronto, where it is reduced to base materials — glass, plastic, copper and steel — that are then sold. “We have a zero landfill policy,” Mr. Feinstein said, “and so do all our vendors.” He said he visited MaSeR periodically to ensure that the material was fully recycled.

At the end of the shredding process, the e-scrap — remnants of once dazzlingly sophisticated machines — is shipped in 2,000-pound storage containers to the refinery in Canada, where it is ground and pulverized into its very low-tech, base components: small particles of copper, plastic, steel, silver, gold, platinum. This material is then sold to companies that use it in other products.

Mr. Feinstein said his company’s revenues had increased 40 percent annually in each of the last two years, to about $1.4 million.

E-Scrap’s staff has grown to 10 from 6 the year before. And Mr. Feinstein said he expected such growth to continue, aided by a flurry of discarded television sets that is expected when the government-mandated switch to digital broadcasting occurs in February.

“We’re going to have to hire more people, more equipment,” Mr. Feinstein said. “Absolutely, I’m going to be working longer hours.”

So is that shredder.


Recession Drives the Greening of the Electronics Industry
By Brian X. Chen EmailNovember 14, 2008 | 5:16:57 PMCategories: Environment

Recycled There's gold in them thar PCs -- not to mention silver, copper, aluminum and other valuable recyclables.

That fact, not a desire to save the planet, is now pushing the tech industry toward "greener" manufacturing and recycling practices. It could mean that there's an environmental silver lining to the mounting economic crisis: Tough times are forcing companies to resort to recycling as a means of recouping costs. These recycling measures are also good public relations in a time when consumers are increasingly eco-conscious -- and they might even be good for the planet.

"We view this waste as a valuable resource, and recycling it is a far better use of it," said Wes Muir, director of communications at Waste Communication Recycle America, which is handling Sony and LG's recycling programs.

Several electronics manufacturers, such as Dell, LG and Sony recently partnered with recycling facilities to offer take-back programs for consumers to freely dispose of their gadgets.

Apple is particularly aggressive with its green message. The company tags its latest line of MacBooks as "The greenest MacBook ever." While Steve Jobs sounds awfully humanitarian, his move toward greener tech is as much for Apple as it is for the environment, said Casey Harrell, a toxics campaigner with environmental group Greenpeace. By making these gadgets safer to recycle, Apple, and other companies making similar decisions, is saving money by reducing the costs of recycling while benefiting from reusing old materials.

Recycling facilities disassemble old gadgets into different parts and sell salvageable materials to brokers, according to Muir. Then, the brokers sell the recycled materials, such as plastics, gold and copper, to tech manufacturers to reuse in new gadgets. Manufacturers are preferring this method because it's substantially less expensive than purchasing newly mined materials.

Just how much a company saves varies depending on the type of gadget being recycled, but Harrell estimates that recycling old electronics could result in up to 4-to-1 cost savings.

"I don't think these companies would be lobbying [greener tech] unless there was a financial incentive," Harrell said. "It's not altruistic, and ultimately we don't care. We want the [cleaner] results, so if they're able to make money off of this ... it's a win-win."

Other than saving money, the industry-wide shift toward cleaner tech is also being driven by new laws regarding electronic waste. In 2003, the European Union passed the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive Act, which requires manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling their products after consumers discard them. In other words, if Sony sells a TV to a European customer, Sony has to take the TV back and recycle it at the end of the device's life. While the directive is only directly affecting Europe, it's spreading to the United States and Asia, too: Many big tech manufacturers operate internationally, and it'd be both inefficient and costly to make an eco-friendly product for Europe and a dirtier version of the same gadget for another country.

New rules regarding hazardous waste have also emerged in the United States -- although they're a bit less demanding than the EU's. In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule probibiting the United States from exporting used televisions and computer monitors. This is a small but important step: Older displays contain high amounts of toxics, such as lead contained in cathode ray tubes (CRTs) -- as much as several pounds per TV or monitor.

Tech companies are also marketing cleaner tech to retain positive public relations, as they're feeling the heat from widespread, global concern over the disposal of electronics waste. Currently, environmental groups are still fighting to eliminate e-waste exports to Asian countries. The environmental group Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) claims the majority of U.S. e-waste -- an estimated 20 million pounds -- is collected for recycling and shipped to China, India, South Korea, Nigeria, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam and Brazil. The problem? Many of the recycling organizations in these countries are in the "informal sector" -- essentially junk dealers with very little money and few resources. Illustrating the issue, a recent documentary by Current shows recycling workers in China disassembling old gadgets on top of piles of waste.

"We've kind of won the overall war on the direction of chemical phase-out and waste collection," Harrell said. "Now we're bickering about how much and how fast."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Interesting expo on in the Yookay

Good program on it here

Sunday, November 9, 2008


CBS offers proper totpic on 60 Minutes: