Thursday, April 29, 2010


India Plans Laws on E-waste Management
New draft rules by the Indian government aim to make vendors responsible for recycling end-of-life products
John Ribeiro, IDG News Service
Thursday, April 29, 2010 04:30 AM PDT
The Indian government plans to enact new rules that makes a producer of electrical and electronic equipment responsible for the collection and appropriate disposal of e-waste generated at the end of life of its products.

The draft of the new rules, called the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2010, was made available for public comment on the Web site of the Ministry of Environment and Forests on Wednesday.

Under the draft rules, producers include manufacturers of products under their own brand, as well as those who sell under their brand products that are manufactured by contractors. Importers of products for sale in India are also included under the classification.

The proposed rules will also ban the import of used electrical and electronic equipment for charity in the country.

A lot of e-waste is brought into India under the pretext of being reused and donated to local charities, as the import of e-waste is otherwise restricted, Greenpeace campaigner Ramapati Kumar said on Thursday.

A number of social organizations and environmentalists have expressed concern that developed countries are dumping their e-waste in India, where it is recycled under hazardous and unregulated conditions.

The management and handling of waste in India is currently governed by legislation such as the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, and Hazardous Material (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules of 2008.

Current rules address mainly the handling and disposal of industrial waste generated in manufacturing, and do not take into account the e-waste generated by products like computers at the end of their lifecycle, said Vinnie Mehta, executive director of Manufacturers Association of Information Technology (MAIT), a trade body of the IT industry.

MAIT, Greenpeace, and other organizations have been pushing the government for the adoption of better e-waste rules.

The new rules proposed by the government attempt to regulate not only producers, but also recyclers and intermediaries such as operators of collection centers. Consumers are also required under the proposed rules to turn in end-of-life products for recycling.

MAIT is hoping the Indian government will subsidize some of the operations required to recycle products, in line with similar government incentives for environment-friendly programs.

The government may also have to pick up the cost for recycling of unbranded products which account for about 40 percent to 50 percent of electronics products sold in the country, Mehta said.

There will also be a lot of e-waste already in the market on the date the new rules come into force. The government calls it "historical waste", and MAIT expects that the government will help finance that part of the clean-up operation as well.

1998-2010, PCWorld Communications, Inc.


The Greening of Silicon Valley:
It Looks Like the Next Big Thing
California’s high-tech giants have long used renewable energy to help power their Silicon Valley headquarters. Now, companies such as Google, Adobe Systems, and eBay are preparing for the next step — investing in off-site solar and wind installations and innovative technologies that will supply their offices and data centers with green electricity.
by todd woody

From the street, Adobe Systems’ San Jose headquarters looks like any other collection of skyscrapers that dot the downtown of the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley.

But ascend to a skyway that connects two of the software company’s towers and you’ll find a wind farm. Twenty vertical turbines that resemble a modern art installation slowly rotate in the breeze that blows through a six-floor plaza. Down in the parking garage, a dozen electric car-charging stations have been set up. Adobe, which makes the ubiquitous Flash player software, will install 18 more chargers this year to accommodate workers expected to be first in line when the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and other battery-powered vehicles roll into Silicon Valley showrooms later this year.

Adobe also plans to install fuel cells — possibly using carbon neutral biogas made from cow manure — to generate the three megawatts of electricity consumed by its downtown data centers. And since the company has limited roof space to install solar panels, it is considering joining a co-op that would purchase land outside the city for a solar farm, according to Randy Kennedy, senior director for global workplace solutions for Adobe.

“Once you’ve got your buildings running pretty energy efficient, you start to look at the source of your energy, and that’s where we are now,” says Kennedy, as the wind turbines slowly spin in the winter wind, generating about 24 kilowatts of electricity. “We’re a technology company and people have to step up and be early adopters in the green area or it won’t go anywhere.”

Silicon Valley companies have long gone green — racking up LEED points by installing everything from solar arrays to waterless urinals to demonstrate their environmental street cred to customers, shareholders, Corporate campuses are laboratories to test new technologies to cut carbon footprints. and their young, climate-change-aware workforces.

But for companies in the environmental vanguard, their corporate campuses are laboratories to test new technologies to cut their carbon footprints and improve the bottom line. As climate change legislation remains stalled in Congress, and California struggles through the regulatory complexities of implementing its own global warming law, much of the action has shifted to the private sector.

Case in point: The unveiling of Bloom Energy’s breakthrough fuel cell technology in February. (Fuel cells generate energy without combustion by turning hydrogen, natural gas, biogas or other fuels into electricity through an electrochemical process.)

The Silicon Valley fuel cell manufacturer had spent eight years quietly developing a solid oxide fuel cell to deliver electricity at competitive prices while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. When Bloom finally lifted the curtain on its 100-kilowatt Bloom Energy Server in February, it revealed that Google, eBay, Wal-Mart, Federal Express, and other Fortune 500 heavyweights had already installed cube-shaped, SUV-sized devices at their Bay Area outposts.

“I’d love to see us have a whole data center running on this at some point when they’re ready,” Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, said at a press conference introducing the Bloom Energy Server. “Moving production of energy closer to where it’s used has a lot of environmental benefits and a lot of commercial benefits. It lets you choose your fuel source.”

In 2007, Google added a 1.6-megawatt solar array to the roofs of its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters.
The Bloom Energy Server’s ability to deliver electricity at prices competitive with traditional fossil fuels currently depends on significant state and federal subsidies. The long-term durability of the devices also remains to be proven. But the fact that some of the world’s largest corporations have embraced the Bloom Box could be the key to giving the company and its competitors the scale to drive down costs and continue innovating.

No surprise that the first Bloom Box — which sells for $700,000 to $800,000 — was secretly plugged in at the Googleplex more than a year ago and hidden behind a fence. Bloom kept the development of its energy server shielded from public view, and Google did not want it known that it would be the first to use the Bloom Box.

The search giant’s interest in green technologies is pragmatically experimental. Back in June 2007, Google flipped the switch on what was then the world’s largest corporate solar array, a 1.6-megawatt solar system that covered the roofs of its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. When I climbed the roof to take a look a few months later, I remarked to a Google executive that the panels were covered in dust.

The dirt was deliberate, she said. Google didn’t just want to draw electricity from the panels, it wanted to test how they performed under different conditions, including how often they would need to be washed to maximize energy production.

Likewise, Google’s fleet of converted plug-in hybrid Toyota Priuses – the campus features some 100 charging stations – have been deployed as rolling laboratories for how electric cars perform.

While other Silicon Valley companies have moved to secure renewable sources of energy, Google has created, in effect, its own utility company, Google Energy, to procure electricity for its massive data centers and other Google’s interest in green technologies is pragmatically experimental. facilities. On Feb. 18, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Google Energy’s request to become, as it stated in its license application, “a power marketer, purchasing electricity and reselling it to wholesale customers.” The company has said little about its plans for Google Energy. In it regulatory filings, Google stated that Google Energy “was formed to identify and develop opportunities to contain and manage the cost of energy for Google.”

Safeway, Wal-Mart, and scores of other big corporations have also been licensed to act as in-house utilities for their operations. But Google Energy has prompted much speculation about whether the company had greater ambitions in the energy field, given its big investments in solar power plant builders like BrightSource Energy and eSolar by, its philanthropic arm. It’s all part of’s ambition to make renewable energy competitive with coal.

“We’re looking to make investments in clean energy projects and to procure green energy,” Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy programs, told me recently as Googlers bicycled by a conference room at the Googleplex, while other employees drove plug-in hybrid Priuses into solar panel-covered carports.

Reicher said that one way to do that would be as an equity investment in a generating plant somewhere. Another, he noted, is to become a big buyer of green electricity, especially for Google data centers around the U.S. “This interest in procuring green electrons is part of what’s driven Google Energy,” said Reicher.

Thus one could imagine a scenario where or Google Venture, its venture capital subsidiary, buys a solar power plant and signs a deal with Google Energy to supply the electricity to Google data centers and sell any surplus to other buyers, as is permitted by its government license. Silicon Valley companies are interested in embracing cutting-edge technology that offers big potential payoffs.

Though not as large as Google, other Silicon Valley companies are moving quickly to adopt renewable sources of energy. Applied Materials, which makes solar cell manufacturing equipment, installed a massive solar array at its Silicon Valley headquarters, while Yahoo for years operated a biodiesel-powered shuttle bus for its employees. Some Silicon Valley companies have offered workers subsidies for the purchase of Toyota Priuses and other hybrid cars.

At eBay’s sprawling San Jose headquarters, five Bloom Energy Servers sit outside a LEED Gold certified building. The Bloom Boxes are providing about 15 percent of the eBay campus’ electricity, or about five times as much energy as generated by its 3,248 solar panels, according to Amy Skoczlas Cole, director of the company’s Green Team.

And since the Bloom Energy Servers operate off the grid and supply electricity directly to the eBay campus, they reduce the load on the regional transmission system. (The energy servers presently run on natural gas, but eBay is working on a deal to purchase biogas generated from cow manure.) Install enough Bloom Boxes and utilities could forgo building expensive and polluting power plants that they fire up when demand spikes on a hot day when everyone runs their air conditioners. Such “peaker” plants usually sit idle but for a couple days of the year, utility executives say.


It’s Green Against Green
In Mojave Solar Battle

Few places are as well suited for large-scale solar projects as California’s Mojave Desert. But as mainstream environmental organizations push plans to turn the desert into a center for renewable energy, some green groups are standing up to oppose them. READ MORE EBay’s LEED building sports the de rigueur green bells and whistles, such as recycled materials and energy efficient lighting. But it’s the “bioswale” adjacent to the Bloom Boxes that is one of the most notable features. Designed to filter rainwater runoff from the buildings and reduce the burden on the public sewage system, the bioswale resembles a wide sloping culvert where native grasses and layers of dirt and sand enable rain to percolate into the ground.

Skoczlas Cole says innovations such as the Bloom Energy Servers and the bioswale fit the “disruptive DNA” of Silicon Valley companies like eBay’s, which are interested in embracing cutting-edge technology that offers big potential payoffs.

“This new disruptive technology made sense because the economics made sense, frankly,” she says, noting that state and federal incentives mean that eBay’s multi million-dollar investment in Bloom Boxes is expected to pay for itself in three years.

And that may be the greenest innovation of all to come out of Silicon Valley companies’ embrace of cutting-edge green technology.

Todd Woody is an environmental and technology journalist based in California who writes for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Grist and other publications. He previously was a senior editor at Fortune magazine, the assistant managing editor of Business 2.0 magazine and the business editor of the San Jose Mercury News. In an earlier article for Yale Environment 360, he wrote about a battle unfolding in California over plans to build dozens of multi billion-dollar solar power plants in the Mojave Desert.

Yale Environment 360

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Sony launches electronics 'scrappage scheme'
Sony will offer customers discounts of up to £150 for trading in old electronic equipment when they buy new models
Rebecca Smithers, Consumer affairs correspondent, Wednesday 28 April 2010 10.26 BST

Sony's 'scrappage scheme' offers up to £150 off new purchases. Photograph: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

Electronics manufacturer Sony is to introduce a "scrappage" scheme to encourage customers to upgrade their TV and other equipment before the World Cup this summer.

The scheme applies to TV, DVD-R, Blu-ray, home theatre, camera and other ranges, and offers a discount of up to £150 when old products are exchanged for selected new Sony models.

It aims to help reduce the mounting problem of TVs and other large electrical equipment being dumped by consumers in landfill.

Old items do not have to have been made by Sony and a spokeswoman said that even equipment in a poor state of repair would be accepted – and consumers struggling to deliver old equipment to retail outlets might be entitled to assistance.

The scheme starts tomorrow and runs until 11 July, the day of the World Cup final.

Sony ran a similar scheme last year, as did rivals Panasonic and Samsung. This time they have not announced a rival to Sony's offer.

Participating stockists include Sony Centres, Comet, Curry's, John Lewis, Tesco Extra and some approved independent stores.

The discounts include £30-£50 off Blu-ray players and DVD recorders, £50-£150 off the Bravia Essentials and Bravia Network TV range, £100-£150 off the Bravia Cinematic TV range, £30-£50 off home theatre systems, and various discounts from £5-£60 off Cybershot cameras, Handycam camcorders, headphones, Walkmans and pocket readers.

Andy Benson, commercial director of Sony UK, said: "We understand that consumers will undoubtedly want to upgrade their kit as they gear up for the World Cup this summer, but cost is still an issue for most of us coming out of recession.

"This campaign is not only timely in helping people take their entertainment to the next level, it is also a good way to encourage the responsible disposal of old technology."

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Recyclable Material: The U.S.'s Most Controversial Export?

Posted 5:40 PM 04/22/10 Green
Has our recyclable waste become one of the U.S.'s biggest exports?

It's definitely starting to seem that way. About 25% of all scrap material collected in the U.S. is exported, according to Jerry Powell, who owns three recycling publications including Resource Recycling. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce show that U.S. companies exported $6.8 billion worth of waste, scrap paper and paperboard in 2009, up from $5.2 billion in 2005. Scrap plastics rose from $452.6 million to $827.6 million, while sales of aluminum rose to $2.02 billion from $1.36 billion. One of the U.S.'s biggest customers for recyclable material is China.

"The vast majority of the worth in recycling has been offshore," Powell says, adding that many ships that ship goods to the U.S. return to China with recyclables in their hulls. "They need our raw materials. Huge volumes go to China."

The Environmental Protection Agency seems happy to offload America's recyclable refuse. The agency says it supports legitimate, environmentally-sound recycling practices regardless of where they take place. "Whether materials are recycled domestically or abroad is primarily a function of market demand for specific materials and the existence of recycling operations that are capable of handling specific materials," the agency said in a statement.


Environmentalists, however, aren't so accepting of the U.S.'s willingness to ship its discarded goods to shady companies overseas. The recycling of electronics, in particular, has become a problem of growing proportions. About 80% of electronics that Americans send off to recycling plants (known as e-waste) is processed overseas. In 2008, the Government Accountability Office scolded the EPA for allowing the export of discarded electronics to developing countries "where unsafe recycling practices can cause health and environmental problems."

Last month, the watchdog group Basel Action Network accused a Massachusetts company of illegally sending a shipload of computer monitors and other toxic materials to Indonesia. And, in one part of Ghana, hundreds of millions of tons of e-waste is dumped each year. The area has become the world's biggest e-waste dump and has been nicknamed "Sodom and Gomorrah" because the water is among the most polluted on the globe, according to PBS's Frontline.

The e-waste situation is only getting worse as consumer electronic devices become obsolete as quickly as they get introduced to the market. About 400 million devices are discarded annually in the U.S., according to environmental experts. Many devices are just too difficult to re-purpose because they were never designed to be recycled. The glass used in monitors contains lead, while the plastics contain chemicals such as flame retardants that make them too contaminated to be reused.

"Certainly, the amount of e-waste is increasing," says Lauren Roman of the Basel Action Network. "It is the fastest-growing part of the solid waste stream."

The Business of Recycling

Recycling isn't all bad, of course. After all, it is a much more environmentally-friendly approach than just trashing everything. It also helps local governments and taxpayers save money. Trash disposal costs towns money because of tipping fees, which average $35 a ton, that are assessed by landfill operators. And thanks to recycling efforts, those fees are down. The amount of municipal solid waste going to landfills dropped by about 7 million tons from 1990 to 2008.

Meanwhile, local governments actually earn money from recycled goods. After the newspapers and plastic bottles that you've separated and put on the curb are collected, they are sent to a material handling center. These facilities are owned by private haulers such as Waste Management or the local governments themselves. They then sell the materials they collect to customers in both the U.S. and overseas who use it to make new materials that may be recycled many more times.

For some companies, buying the U.S.'s unwanted paper, scraps and other goods has translated into big profits. Take Nine Dragons Paper, the largest container-board maker in China. Its founder, Zhang Yin, got her start shipping waste paper from Los Angeles to China in 1990 and is now one of the wealthiest people in that country.

"It's driven by economics," says Bob Garino, the director of commodities at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). "[Scrap] is a raw material. It's a commodity. It's a resource ... It saves a lot of money and it's cheaper than virgin material."

"There is a real competition for resources out there," says Ed Skernolis, vice president of recycling at Keep America Beautiful. "The markets have become more sophisticated over the past."

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The Independent

April 23, 2010
Study to examine cancer risk in mobile phone use
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Thousands of people are to be studied over the course of 20 or 30 years to see if the long-term use of mobile phones increases the risk of developing brain tumours and other medical disorders, as part of the largest ever study into the subject.

At least 250,000 mobile phone users will be monitored as part of the multi-million-pound Cohort Study on Mobile Communications (Cosmos), which aims to settle the debate over whether there are any serious health risks from using the devices once and for all.

Previous research has relied on studying people who have already developed illnesses, which has led to suggestions that they suffered from an inherent "recall" bias, such as people having more vivid memories of holding their mobile phones to the side of their head which developed a brain tumour. Cosmos will pick up diseases and symptoms as they arise and changes in people's health will be compared with their usage of mobile phones, taking into account both the number and duration of calls and the positioning of handsets.

Volunteers taking part in the study will be aged 18 to 69 and recruited through co-operating network operators. Between 90,000 and 100,000 people are expected to participate in the UK, with others joining from Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. The total cost of the study for the first five years is estimated at £5-7 million. The UK arm alone will cost £3.1m, jointly funded by the Government and industry.

Dr Mireille Toledano, one of the principal investigators from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said that Cosmos is the largest study of its kind to date and has the power to detect illnesses linked to mobile phone radiation or usage.

"Previous studies have looked at usage for less than 10 years and focused mainly on retrospective use. They've had a short observation period from the start and only been able to focus on brain cancers. We'll be prospectively monitoring mobile phone use and prospectively looking at any health developments," Dr Toledano said.

The scientists will be analysing trends for brain, head and neck cancers, but also multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Motor Neurone Disease, as well as strokes and heart conditions. They will be watching out for less serious problems such as sleep disorders, headaches, tinnitus and depression.

Data on fertility will not be included since this is one aspect of health that does not lend itself to a long-term prospective study. Findings will be released at periodic intervals. A report focusing on cancer will be published after 10 years

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

H'Wood Congratulates Itself, thanks to Ecorazzi

Hollywood Studios’ Recycling And Reusing At All-Time High
Filed under: business, film-tv, movies, television — Michael d'Estries @ 8:32 pm

Hollywood is producing less trash — at least when it comes to the stuff that hits the landfill. As for what end up in the theater, well…(I’m looking at you Paul Blart: Mall Cop)

Just in time for Earth Day, the Solid Waste Task Force announced that last year major movie studios collectively diverted more than 40 million pounds — or 66 percent — of their studio sets and other solid waste from landfills. According to the report, that’s three percent more than they diverted from landfills last year, and 23 percent more than was diverted just 15 years ago.

“This marks an all-time high for the studios in reusing and recycling,” said MPAA President and Interim CEO Bob Pisano. “On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, I want to commend the studios for their dedication to environmentally responsible practices and for their commitment to combating global climate change. Their enthusiasm for going green sets a great example for other businesses and for individuals everywhere.”

Obviously, Hollywood is still considered a major polluter — but reports like this one show that, while change is slow, it is indeed taking hold at major studios. Let’s hope 2010 extends that commitment to recycling and reusing even further.

why is india always right on this?--from :the hindu:

Published: April 21, 2010 19:41 IST | Updated: April 21, 2010 19:43 IST
Watch the waste


THE HINDU TOUGH ON TRASH Greenpeace activists clearing hazardous electronic waste. Photo: V.V. Krishnan
Discarded computers, printers, copiers, mobiles… are we building e-mountains? How do we handle toxic tech trash? GEETA PADMANABHAN raises some serious questions

Citizens at Risk tells a chilling story about e-waste. Made by Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Chintan Environment and Action Group and Arjun Bhagat/IMAK, the short film details what happens when computers from “US, Malaysia” come to the bylanes of Delhi to “die”. In the middle of mountains of e-scrap, barefoot children, standing on a street of lead-coated broken glass, perform the last rites. Covered in toxic dust, they smash screens with hammers, while women tear apart electronic components, boil and wash them in acid with bare hands, for money-earning metals. Acid pools are everywhere. The commentator talks of toxic hydrogen chloride fumes.

An elegant word, but there's nothing refined about e-waste. We generate it when we casually throw out computers, monitors, TVs, printers, copiers, fax machines, phones, keyboards, mouses, mobiles, laptops, projectors, cameras, audio equipment, toys, games and household appliances — e-waste is anything with a main plug or battery.

A billion dollar industry

Breaking computers is a billion dollar industry. The Printed Circuit Board has minute amounts of gold, silver, copper, palladium, aluminium and platinum. On its flip-side, e-waste contains toxic chemicals zinc, lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PVC and arsenic compounds. When the waste is burned, heavy metals are released. With water and acids, they seep into groundwater. The complex, informal system of recycling is peopled by rag pickers who know no techniques, have no protective gear.

“Our raddiwalas are smart guys,” says Prabhu Srinivasan, country manager, SIMS-Trishyiraya Recycling Solutions at MEPZ, Tambaram. “They'll pluck out the valuable parts such as aluminium in the condenser from your tube-light. The question is, where do the remnants go?” The garbage dump, of course. “Brominated flame-retardants (BFR) and poly vinyl chloride (PVC) in most mobiles and IT equipment are highly toxic,” says Arun Senthil Ram of Toxics Link. “When burnt, they release furans, dioxins and neuro toxins.”

The MAIT-GTZ e-Waste Assessment Study says we'll be creating 4.7 lakh tonnes of this special waste this year. Add to this 50,000 tonnes coming from abroad (“Not allowed,” says Prabhu) and those dumped in the name of charity/reuse from the West, you can visualise the e-mountains we build. What gives the issue urgency is the speed of discarding — e-gadgets get obsolete before you have completely unpacked them.

Licensed first-stage companies such as SIMS say they strip and segregate through clean practices. Phosphorous is sucked out of cathode ray tubes and disposed of safely. Glass is smelted to be made into picture tubes again. “We spend $4 million for safety training with Dupont,” says Prabhu. “Workers are insured and undergo a medical check-up every six months.” He makes presentations at IT hubs, asking for discarded e-appliances, lead batteries, cells and CDs. Weekly collections are his business capital, but he sees this as an opportunity to educate people about e-waste hazards. “The white goods boom that drives the flooding of e-waste must be controlled now,” he says. The radiation incident in Delhi is a wake-up call, a classic case of e-waste (from scanners, x-ray and other machines) going to unauthorised, ill-informed recyclers.

Three solutions

The film recommends three solutions: The government shuts down the lethal, illegal, backyard industry, throwing thousands of self-employed out of work; manufacturers upgrade this industry making it safe and profitable under Extended Producer Responsibility; or take the ideal road to make goods less toxic. “All manufacturers charge you for disposal, the environmental cost,” says Prabhu. “Only one promises to plant a tree if you recycle their gadget.”

Residential associations could collect e-waste and call Prabhu. “We'll give you a green certificate for that,” he says, dangling a carrot.

Garbage/landfill mining can be a clean, profitable business, says Mehul Kamdar, who works in this field. “With a well-written set of laws and a properly thought-out policy, reprocessing entrepreneurs can keep the environment clean and generate employment.”

Tamil Nadu has drafted an e-waste policy, says Arun.

Household users, bulk IT users and manufacturers never question what happens to our deadly waste. Some are repaired. Others are dismantled and the parts cannibalised in weekly markets (try Pallavaram on Fridays). As we proudly switch on a slim new desktop, the air outside gets thick with harmful gases from the old one, the ground is drenched in leached toxins. They'll come back to us as carcinogenic air, water and food.


It’s energy efficient to rebuild old computers.

Recycling just a million cell phones would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Flat panel computer monitors/notebooks contain small amounts of mercury.

Cathode ray tubes in older TVs/computers have lead.


Twentieth Century Fox To Install 158 kW Solar Photovoltaic System
Filed under: film-tv — Daelyn Fortney @ 7:53 pm

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation has selected Solar Power, Inc to install a 158 kW DC solar photovoltaic system at the Fox Studios Lot located in Century City, California. The solar system will be mounted on the roof of Fox’s Building 99.

Solar Power, in a collaborative effort with Pacific Edison, will install a SkyMount commercial rooftop system which uses its dynamic structure, tilt angle, and unique mounting capabilities to optimize the performance of the system’s solar modules.

“This project is an important addition to Fox’s ongoing sustainability initiative and we are very happy to be getting it started,” said Hal Haenal, Senior Vice President of Fox Studios Operations. “This marks our first venture into on-site renewable energy and the teams at Solar Power, Inc. and Pacific Edison have helped to make the decision a very easy one for us.”

The SkyMount installation is scheduled to be completed this summer and could be the first of many solar projects across the Fox Studio Lot in the future.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY
More companies and recyclers are taking steps to ensure that old electronic devices such as TVs and computers aren't dumped in poor countries.
The Basel Action Network, a Seattle-based non-profit that largely exposed the overseas dumping of U.S. electronic waste, on Thursday launched a program to use third-party auditors to certify recyclers who don't export hazardous electronic waste.

The so-called eSteward recyclers will also agree not to dump the waste in U.S. landfills and agree to meet other criteria.

The certification is intended to provide companies and consumers with some assurance that the waste, which can include toxins such as lead and mercury, is disposed of safely.

The Government Accountability Office, in a 2008 report, declared that U.S. electronic waste was often disposed of unsafely in such countries as China and India. There, workers reclaim gold, silver and copper from the waste, often in open-air acid baths that leave a toxic sludge.

The Basel network also says it won assurances from 13 organizations, including Samsung, Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), Capitol One Financial (COF) and the Natural Resources Defense Council, that they'll use eSteward recyclers whenever possible.

Wells Fargo had already been using recyclers who pledged not to export. The eSteward pledge led to changes for others, says Jim Puckett, Basel's executive director. The Natural Resources Defense Council, for one, had not adequately tracked its e-waste, says the council's senior scientist, Allen Hershkowitz.

So far, Basel has certified three recyclers and seven sites.

Before eStewards, even companies that wanted to avoid export of electronic waste had to "hope for the best," when they handed their waste to recyclers, says Robert Houghton, president of Ohio-based recycler Redemtech. It is an eSteward and counts major companies among its customers. Now, "They can get some proof," Houghton says.

Basel's standards compete with another set launched in January. It was crafted by industry and backed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

That standard, dubbed R-2, doesn't ban the export of hazardous electronic waste but requires that it be handled safely. Instead of a ban, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries says, efforts should be made to help poor countries develop safe recycling.

Sian Wu kindly sent this to me

The Basel Action Network (BAN), the group that first discovered the illegal dumping of toxic electronic waste in China and Africa, announced today the official launch of the world’s first global e-Waste Recycler Certification, called e-Stewards. This is the first such program backed by environmental organizations and major corporations alike. The rigorous certification program has not only been endorsed by Greenpeace USA, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) but has also drawn the support of major corporate “e-Stewards Enterprises” including:

Bank of America
Capitol One Financial Corp.
Ind. Distributors of Electronics Assoc.
Nemours Foundation
Premier, Inc.
Premier Farnell
Resource Media
Sprout Creation
Stokes Lawrence
Wells Fargo

For Complete Press Kit:

Quote from Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, NRDC Senior Scientist:
“Old electronics are among the most toxic forms of garbage in American homes – but too often recycling companies claiming to be green dispose of them in a cheap, dirty and unjust way.” “There are safe, better ways to recycle our electronic waste without threatening public health and the environment in developing countries. The e-Stewards seal of approval will help consumers identify good recyclers from the bad.”

Quote from Mick Schum of WeRecycle, one of the first certified e-Stewards Recyclers:
“We are making history here. Today, e-Stewards Recyclers and their customers are taking a significant step forward to achieve the most responsible level of management for electronic equipment. Now we can distinguish ourselves from the exporters and dumpers. As consumers, you can finally say you are doing the right thing with your old electronics and as Certified e-Stewards Recyclers, we can prove it.”

Blogger resources:
View BAN’s video, eStewards: Taking Responsibility in the Digital Age:

View this slideshow of images from BAN’s investigations of digital dumps around the world: If you use any of these images, please credit Basel Action Network and link back to

Fact sheet on e-Stewards announcement:

Find an e-Stewards recycler near you with this map:

Pauline Overeem was kind enough to send this along

To: NLC Key Contacts
From: Charles Kernaghan

RE: Microsoft supplier in China Forces Teenagers to Work 15-hour Shifts Under Sweatshop Conditions

Producing computer mice & webcams for Microsoft, HP and other companies

The National Labor Committee is releasing an in-depth report, "China's Youth Meet Microsoft: KYE factory in China produces for Microsoft and other U.S. Companies."

Over the course of a three-year investigation of the KYE factory in Dongguan, China, unprecedented photos were smuggled out of the factory, of exhausted teenagers, seen slumping over asleep on their assembly line during break time.

* KYE recruits hundreds (up to 1,000) "work-study" students 16 and 17 years of age, who work 15-hour shifts, six and seven days a week making webcams, mice and other computer peripherals. Some of the workers appear to be just 14 or 15 years old. A typical shift is from 7:45 a.m. to 10:55 p.m. Most of the students work for three months, but some stay longer.

* Along with the students, KYE prefers to hire only women 18 to 25 years old, who are considered easier to discipline and control.

* Workers report that before the recession, they were at the factory 97 hours a week, while working 80 ½ hours. In 2009, workers were at the factory 83 hours a week, while toiling 68 hours.

* Workers are paid 65 cents an hour, which falls to a take-home wage of 52 cents an hour after deductions for factory food.

* Workers have to report early, unpaid, for military-like drills. Management controls every second of their lives.

* The work pace is grueling as workers race to complete their mandatory goal of 2000 Microsoft mice per shift. During the long summer, factory temperatures reach 86 degrees and the workers are drenched in sweat.

* Security guards sexually harass the young women. Workers are prohibited from talking, listening to music or going to the bathroom during working hours. Freedom of movement is restricted and workers can only leave the factory compound during regulated hours.

* Fourteen workers share each primitive, dirty dorm room, sleeping on narrow bunk beds. To "shower" workers fetch hot water in a small plastic bucket for a sponge bath. Workers report that the food is awful.

KYE management claims factory conditions are excellent, and that they are in full compliance with China's labor laws. But the young women describe the factory as a prison, where everyone who can flees within six months. It is almost impossible to find a worker who has been at the factory for more than a year or two. As usual, the codes of conduct for Microsoft, HP and the Electronics Industry Council have zero impact.


Pauline Overeem

Network Coordinator


Friday, April 9, 2010

bbc on greenscreen

Colour e-readers shift to video
By Dan Simmons
Reporter, BBC Click
A colour e-reader that supports video and potentially web browsing has been shown off by Dutch researchers.

The prototype uses screen technology - based on century-old science - that its makers say is up to four times more energy efficient than LCD screens.

Once established in the e-reader market, Dutch firm Liquavista hope to see its displays integrated into other devices in the future.

But analysts question whether consumers will be enticed by the greener gadgets.

Liquavista said it expects the first e-readers using the "electrowetting" technology to be available by the middle of 2011 and the technology to then become more widespread.

"You certainly could see this technology in your smartphone, in your mobile phone, in your web tablet, in your PC, in your notebook," said Guy Demuynck, head of the firm.

"But eventually you could see it in your home as your television screen in your living room," he added

Sunshine screen

Electrowetting has been known about for more than a century but is only now being perfected by several companies, for instance, to create auto-focus lenses for cameras.

It involves small electrical charges moving coloured oil within each pixel.

Most current e-readers use e-ink technology - small black and white beads that are manipulated with electrical charges.

Pages on current e-book readers can take up to two seconds to load each page. The new display can change images at a speed of up to 60 times per second, its manufacturers said.

This is fast enough to run video, which typically needs a refresh rate of 50 or 60 frames per second.

Liquavista uses the electrowetting to also add colour to a screen, but unlike liquid crystal displays (LCD) such as those on laptops, it can work without a backlight.

When used in sunlight, the new type of display can bounce the natural light through the oil filters back at the reader.

The brighter the sunshine, the more vivid the screen becomes; when used in a darker environment, the e-reader switches to the backlight automatically.

Johan Feenstra, Liquavista's founder, said the display combines the best of both technologies.

"On the one side there's the LCDs which bring video and colour, as we know from our TV screens. On the other side, there's the electrophoretic displays [e-ink e-readers] which bring low power consumption and readability in all lighting conditions," he said.

The company said the technology is three to four more efficient than LCD screens because of the higher level of backlight passing through each pixel.

James McQuivey, media technology analyst at tech research firm Forrester, agreed electrowetting has the potential to make the transition to devices and public displays such as billboards and bus stop posters.

But, he predicted some obstacles: "The challenge is physics really - it's to get things [oil] to respond quickly enough, and in sunshine - to get enough light to reflect back off the screen."

Green premium?

Despite the novelty of a colour e-readers that play video, the efficiencies of electrowetting may be the factor that holds the greatest potential for this technology.

Eventually, if placed into laptops these screens could deliver battery lives measured in days rather than hours.

"Electricity is not freely available everywhere in developing countries so it means of course if you can run this device for a long time on your batteries," said Mr Demuynck.

He told the BBC that consumers increasingly expect new devices to have low power consumption.

However, Mr McQuivey questions whether people are prepared to pay more for a greener device, where an alternative is readily available.

"Consumers have become spoilt by LCD technology. They are used to charging their devices twice a day and won't pay a huge premium for something that simply doesn't need charging as often," he said.

"So the question is how quickly these new screen technologies can be produced at scale and at what cost," he added.

Liquavista said the manufacturing process is very similar to that for LCDs so existing production lines could be adapted rather than building new facilities.

"That would give it a big advantage over competing new screen technologies like e-ink or OLED which require largely new production processes," Mr McQuivey said.

In the longer-term, Liquavista is exploring other possibilities for the technology with UK e-reader firm Plastic Logic. They hope to produce a flexible colour magazine that can update itself and run video within three years.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2010/04/09 11:09:26 GMT

Monday, April 5, 2010


a gringo college takes things seriously!

useful site from champaign-urbana

Sunday, April 4, 2010

anyone for offsets?

Pearl Jam Seeding the Forest To Offset CO2 From 2009 Tour
Filed under: Eco-Celebs, business, donations, music — Elizah Leigh @ 4:42 pm

A 20 year American rock institution with humble Seattle roots, Pearl Jam has enjoyed longevity in spite of their formerly dubbed grunge sound fading into the sunset. Now, they just play good old fashioned classic rock music which serves as the backdrop for their enduring environmental activism which interested fans can explore at great length right on their website. Mitigating carbon emissions from their global concert tours is nothing new for the quintet who’s been actively making eco-amends since 2003, but compensating for the 5,474 metric tons of CO2 generated from their latest 32 date 2009 tour admittedly seems like a tall order.

Pearl Jam founding member and guitarist Stone Gossard acknowledges that it is an unfortunate cost of doing business, explaining: “A band on tour generates a lot of carbon. We are constantly moving, using carbon-dependent forms of transportation and a great deal of energy.” As always, Pearl Jam is offsetting their tour-generated CO2 by financially supporting yet another eco-organization that works intently to help the environment, this time the Cascade Land Conservancy (CLC). The forest group’s $210,000 Puget Sound urban restoration project – in which 33 acres of land will be purged of invasive plant species and replaced with native botanicals and trees – is currently being bankrolled by the band and with an anticipated completion date of 3 years.

Taking advantage of their inherent carbon sink capabilities, it’s no small task to reforest a vast plot of land but the eco-benefits are many, including restoring the delicate balance of local ecosystems and offsetting “intense human pressures” that have resulted in the decline of this natural resource. This partnership could be considered a reunion of sorts in light of the fact that back in 1997, select members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarten also funded a Cascade foothills forest preservation project with the very same organization. Gossard is hoping that other bands and businesses will follow their lead by taking responsibility for the CO2 they generate – we would all be able to breathe a lot easier, Mother Nature included.