Monday, September 29, 2008

WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE newspaper and e-waste

eDay Wairarapa co-ordinator Di Batchelor and helpful volunteers Michael Rigg, left, and Jack Barlow. Photo: Lynda Feringa

12 tonnes of e-waste expected


Nathan Crombie

Over 12 tonnes of old computer bits and bytes is expected to pour from Wairarapa homes during the inaugural eDay for the region next month.

Wairarapa eDay co-ordinator Di Batchelor said residents have the opportunity to dispose of their old PCs, computer peripherals and mobile phones on eDay, to be held at Elder's Woolstore, on Ngaumutawa Road, in Masterton, on October 4.

eDay is a free computer recycling event being held in 32 centres throughout New Zealand, she said, and it is expected to divert 1000 tonnes of e-waste from landfills.

"The drive-through event will enable residents in Wairarapa to recycle their old computer equipment and mobile phones in an environmentally-friendly way, and is aimed at raising awareness about the environmental and health dangers of dumping electronic waste (e-waste) in landfills," Ms Batchelor said.

"We're excited to be involved in the event and provide Wairarapa's residents with the opportunity to safely recycle their old computer equipment and mobile phones," she said.

Laurence Zwimpfer, Computer Access New Zealand Trust national organiser and chairman, said e-waste and its toxic materials  including lead and mercury from old computers  is the fastest-growing type of waste being sent to landfills globally and poses a potentially-toxic hazard for people, animals and the environment.

"Our aim with eDay is to educate New Zealanders of the dangers of dumping e-waste in landfills while giving them the opportunity to dispose of unwanted computer items in a safe way," Mr Zwimpfer said.

New Zealand's first national eDay was held last year and diverted 415 tonnes of e-waste from landfills. The 2008 Wairarapa event is expected to divert over 12 tonnes of toxic waste from landfill, Ms Batchelor said.

"The annual eDay event is the only community-driven e-waste recycling event for dropping off computer items such as monitors, CPUs and printers, at no cost to the public."

Organisers expect a two-to-three-year lifespan for the event until legislative change is implemented and industry product stewardship schemes take effect, she said.

Only computers, computer peripherals such as printers and scanners, gaming consoles and mobile phones can be recycled in the eDay collection.

Other electronic equipment including televisions and stereos will not be accepted, Ms Batchelor said.

"We know that TVs and other electronic equipment pose similar threats to our environment, but because of the huge variety in size and weight of this equipment, we don't think it is fair to ask volunteers to handle TVs," Mr Zwimpfer said.

"The best advice we can give is for the public to hold on to their old TVs until sustainable solutions are available."

CANZ advises people to wipe all data from computer hard drives as well as removable media such as floppy disks and PC cards before handing them over for collection on eDay, he said.

The event is supported nationally by the Ministry for the Environment, 2020 Communications Trust, KiwiRail, Pub Charity, Computer Recycling Limited, the NZ Lotteries Commission, Dell, Toshiba, Trade Me, The Laptop Company and the Ministry of Education, which funds the Computer Access NZ Trust.

The Wairarapa event is also being supported locally by Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils, Sustainable Wairarapa and REAP, Ms Batchelor said.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Landmark New Report Says Emerging Green Economy Could Create Tens of Millions of New "Green Jobs"

New York,24 Septembre 2008 (ILO/UNEP)-A new, landmark study on the impact of an emerging global "green economy" on the world of work says efforts to tackle climate change could result in the creation of millions of new "green jobs" in the coming decades.

The new report entitled Green Jobs: Towards Decent work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World, says changing patterns of employment and investment resulting from efforts to reduce climate change and its effects are already generating new jobs in many sectors and economies, and could create millions more in both developed and developing countries.

However, the report also finds that the process of climate change, already underway, will continue to have negative effects on workers and their families, especially those whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and tourism. Action to tackle climate change as well as to cope with its effects is therefore urgent and should be designed to generate decent jobs.

Though the report is generally optimistic about the creation of new jobs to address climate change, it also warns that many of these new jobs can be "dirty, dangerous and difficult". Sectors of concern, especially but not exclusively in developing economies, include agriculture and recycling where all too often low pay, insecure employment contracts and exposure to health hazardous materials needs to change fast.

What's more, it says too few green jobs are being created for the most vulnerable: the 1.3 billion working poor (43 per cent of the global workforce) in the world with earnings too low to lift them and their dependants above the poverty threshold of US$2 per person, per day, or for the estimated 500 million youth who will be seeking work over the next 10 years.

Green jobs reduce the environmental impact of enterprises and economic sectors, ultimately to levels that are sustainable. The report focuses on "green jobs" in agriculture, industry, services and administration that contribute to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment. It also calls for measures to ensure that they constitute "decent work" that helps reduce poverty while protecting the environment.

The report says that climate change itself, adaptation to it and efforts to arrest it by reducing emissions have far-reaching implications for economic and social development, for production and consumption patterns and thus for employment, incomes and poverty reduction. These implications harbour both major risks and opportunities for working people in all countries, but particularly for the most vulnerable in the least developed countries and in small island States.

The report calls for "just transitions" for those affected by transformation to a green economy and for those who must also adapt to climate change with access to alternative economic and employment opportunities for enterprises and workers. According to the report, meaningful social dialogue between government, workers and employers will be essential not only to ease tensions and support better informed and more coherent environmental, economic and social policies, but for all social partners to be involved in the development of such policies.

Among other key findings in the report:

- The global market for environmental products and services is projected to double from US$1,370 billion per year at present to US$2,740 billion by 2020, according to a study cited in the report.

- Half of this market is in energy efficiency and the balance in sustainable transport, water supply, sanitation and waste management. In Germany for example, environmental technology is to grow fourfold to 16 per cent of industrial output by 2030, with employment in this sector surpassing that in the country's big machine tool and automotive industries.

- Sectors that will be particularly important in terms of their environmental, economic and employment impact are energy supply, in particular renewable energy, buildings and construction, transportation,basic industries, agriculture and forestry.

- Clean technologies are already the third largest sector for venture capital after information and biotechnology in the United States, while green venture capital in China more than doubled to 19 per cent of total investment in recent years.

- 2.3 million people have in recent years found new jobs in the renewable energy sector alone, and the potential for job growth in the sector is huge. Employment in alternative energies may rise to 2.1 million in wind and 6.3 million in solar power by 2030.

- Renewable energy generates more jobs than employment in fossil fuels. Projected investments of US$630 billion by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs in the renewable energy sector.

- In agriculture, 12 million could be employed in biomass for energy and related industries. In a country like Venezuela, an ethanol blend of 10 per cent in fuels might provide one million jobs in the sugar cane sector by 2012.

- A worldwide transition to energy-efficient buildings would create millions of jobs, as well as "greening" existing employment for many of the estimated 111 million people already working in the construction sector.

- Investments in improved energy efficiency in buildings could generate an additional 2-3.5 million green jobs in Europe and the United States alone, with the potential much higher in developing countries.

- Recycling and waste management employs an estimated 10 million in China and 500,000 in Brazil today. This sector is expected to grow rapidly in many countries in the face of escalating commodity prices.

The report provides examples of massive green jobs creation, throughout the world, such as: 600,000 people in China who are already employed in solar thermal making and installing products such as solar water heaters; in Nigeria, a bio fuels industry based on cassava and sugar cane crops might sustain an industry employing 200,000 people; India could generate 900,000 jobs by 2025 in biomass gasification of which 300,000 would be in the manufacturing of stoves and 600,000 in areas such as processing into briquettes and pellets and the fuel supply chain; and in South Africa, 25,000 previously unemployed people are now employed in conservation as part of the 'Working for Water' initiative.

Pathways to green jobs and decent work

"A sustainable economy can no longer externalize environmental and social costs. The price society pays for the consequences of pollution or ill health for example, must be reflected in the prices paid in the marketplace. Green jobs therefore need to be decent work", the report says.

The report recommends a number of pathways to a more sustainable future directing investment to low-cost measures that should be taken immediately including: assessing the potential for green jobs and monitoring progress to provide a framework for policy and investment; addressing the current skills bottleneck by meeting skill requirements because available technology and resources for investments can only be deployed effectively with qualified entrepreneurs and skilled workers; and ensuring individual enterprises' and economic sectors' contribution to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases with labour-management initiatives to green workplaces.

The report finds that green markets have thrived and transformation has advanced most where there has been strong and consistent political support at the highest level, including targets, penalties and incentives such as feed-in laws and efficiency standards for buildings and appliances as well as proactive research and development.

The report says that delivery of a deep and decisive new climate agreement when countries meet for the crucial UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in late 2009 will be vital for accelerating green job growth.

The report was funded and commissioned by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) under a joint Green Jobs Initiative with the International Labour Office (ILO), and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), which together represent millions of workers and employers worldwide 2/. It was produced by the Worldwatch Institute, with technical assistance from the Cornell University Global Labour Institute.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

ILO's Department of Communication: +4122/799-7912,

UNEP: Jim Sniffen, New York: +1212/963-8094, sniffenj@un.orgor Nick Nuttall, Nairobi: +254/733-632755, +4179/596-5737,

ITUC: Mathieu Debroux, +322/22-40204, +324/766-21018,

IOE: Peter Glynn +4122/929-2000,

The Green Jobs Initiative is a partnership established in 2007 between UNEP, the ILO and the ITUC, joined by the IOE in 2008. The Initiative was launched in order to promote opportunity, equity and just transitions, to mobilize governments, employers and workers to engage in dialogue on coherent policies and effective programs leading to a green economy with green jobs and decent work for all. The ILO is a tripartite UN agency that brings together governments, employers and workers of its member states in common action to promote decent work throughout the world. IOE is recognized as the only organization at the international level that represents the interests of business in the labor and social policy fields. Today, it consists of 146 national employer organizations from 138 countries from all over the world. ITUC is the International Trade Union Confederation. Its primary mission is the promotion and defense of workers' rights and interests, through international cooperation between trade unions, global campaigning and advocacy within the major global institutions. The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates. UNEP is the voice for the environment in the United Nations system. It is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator, promoting the wise use of the planet's natural assets for sustainable development.

For more information on the green job initiative: -

Further Resources

UNEP Green Jobs Report 2008

UNEP- Green jobs initiative

UNEP-Civil Society website

UNEP Labour and the Environment website

The International Labour Organization website

The International Trade Union Confederation website

The International Organisation of Employers website

Green Jobs Press release (Spanish)

Archived Press Conference

Green Jobs report: Facts and figures


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Green Not Consumers GO Button
According to a recent Yankelovich survey, Going Green, of 2,763 consumers and their environmental attitudes, only 34% of consumers feel much more concerned about environmental issues today than a year ago. And less than one-quarter of consumers feel they can make a difference when it comes to the environment.

J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich, concludes that "While (consumers) are highly aware of environmental issues due to the glut of media attention... 'going green' in their everyday life is simply not a big concern or a high priority."

Even though Al Gore's book, An Inconvenient Truth, received widespread acclaim from media and scientists alike, 82% of consumers neither saw the film nor read it, says the study.

Mr. Smith asserts that consumers are far more knowledgeable about green than they're generally given credit for. Al Gore's "10 Myths" in An Inconvenient Truth are not considered myths by consumers at all. According to the Survey:

Only 7% of consumers believe Gore's "Myth" that it's already too late to do something about climate change
Only 4% believe global warming is a good thing
Only 8% agree that the warming that scientists are recording is just the effect of cities trapping heat rather than anything to do with greenhouse gases
Smith says that companies can exploit the "green-ness" of their products since the environment does represent a niche opportunity in the marketplace, with just over 30 million Americans (13% of the 234 million people 16+) "strongly concerned" about it. Smith posits that it makes sense to try and leverage the ‘new and improved' green product to consumers.

The Yankelovich Marketing Action Framework illustrates the degree to which all consumers - from "Green-less" to "Green-Enthusiasts" - are currently likely to buy a product based on its green features.

Green Marketing Action Framework (Yankelovich)

Consumer Category

% of Respondents





Lowest Attitudes & Lowest Behaviors

Unmoved by environmental issues & alarms



Behaviors Higher Than Lower Attitudes

Don't care but doing a few things



Moderate Attitudes & Moderate Behaviors

Aware, concerned, taking steps



Behaviors Lower Than High Attitudes

Talk the talk more than walk the walk



Highest Attitudes & Highest Behaviors

Environment is a passionate concern

Source: Yankelovich Going green, July 2008

Smith suggest that marketers "... employ behavioral tactics that move consumers up the continuum to greater levels of ‘green-ness'... (vs.) focusing on these segments in isolation... "

Monday, September 22, 2008

Computer Aid Makes Great Points

Computer Aid launches campaign for action against toxic trade

* Submitted by: Wildfire PR
* Monday, 22 September 2008

Computer Aid PCs benefit Malawi school

London, 22nd September 2008: The UK government must take action to prevent the UK’s electrical waste (e-waste) being illegally exported and dumped in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and China, according to international development charity Computer Aid International, which today launches a petition calling for the government to provide the Environment Agency with the resources to effectively police the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive.

In a statement issued today, Computer Aid calls on the UK government to tighten up the WEEE directive and highlights why it’s time to take action to prevent the UK’s hazardous waste being exported to the developing world. The charity also hits out at cowboy commercial traders actively abusing re-use and recycling initiatives, as well as the computer manufacturers that shirk responsibility for their equipment dumped in developing countries.

Louise Richards, CEO of Computer Aid, states:

“National newspaper exposes and reports from both Greenpeace and Consumers International clearly demonstrate the extent of the e-waste problem, and serve to highlight the limitations of the current legislative framework for e-waste. According to Consumers International, in Nigeria alone more than half a million second-hand PCs arrive in Lagos every month, yet only one in four works.

“The Environment Agency must be provided with the resources to police e-waste, prosecute anyone involved in a supply chain that results in the dumping of e-waste and remove licences from organisations in breach of the WEEE legislation. It’s imperative that the government clamps down on fraudulent traders posing as legitimate re-use and recycling organisations, who are enticing unwitting UK businesses to use them for disposal of electrical equipment.

These traders do not declare the contents of their shipments as hazardous e-waste, but falsely claim consignments consist entirely of electrical equipment destined for productive re-use. The result? The waste is manually scavenged for metals, then stripped down and incinerated in the open air. The high volume of environmentally unsound e-waste is driven almost exclusively by the motive of profit, but the cost is borne by the environment and the children who disassemble the equipment.”

Computer Aid also highlights how existing legislation is failing to hold manufacturers to account if their products are found dumped in developing countries, as Tony Roberts, Founder and Director of International Programmes, urges producers to take responsibility for the products they are placing into the global market:

“Under the Producer Pays principle of the WEEE directive, producers of electrical equipment are responsible for funding the end of life recycling of equipment within the European Union, but no such legislation exists for the millions of electronic products sold in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Producers should be made to accept the producer pays principle on a global scale, and take responsibility for the safe recycling of products in developing countries. They must also consider the design of their products and reduce their use of hazardous substances in the manufacturing process, so they can be more easily recycled.

“Modern economic development is not possible without information and communication technologies, any more than it is possible without cars or factories, but we must put a stop to this shameful abuse of e-waste in the developing world.”

To date, Computer Aid has refurbished more than 130,000 PCs and laptops, all of which are being used to support e-learning, e-health, e-inclusion and e-agriculture projects in countries such as Kenya, Madagascar and Zambia. Asset tracking ensures all computers can be traced to the exact hospital, school or project they are benefiting.

Computer Aid is committed to ensuring the application of Information Communications Technology (ICT) is environmentally sustainable and has launched a research programme into low power PCs, as well as offering practical support and advice on capacity building for re-use and end-of-life recycling in Africa.



Media contact:

Kate Solomon / Louise Andrews
Wildfire PR
Tel: 020 8339 4420

About the WEEE directive

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive came into UK law in January 2007, and has been in force since July 2007. It aims to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill. The WEEE Directive also aims to improve the environmental performance of businesses that manufacture, supply, use, recycle and recover electrical and electronic equipment.

The WEEE Directive affects producers, distributors and recyclers of electrical and electronic equipment - including household appliances, IT and telecoms equipment, audiovisual equipment (TV, video, hi-fi), lighting, electrical and electronic tools, toys, leisure and sports equipment.

About Computer Aid International (

Computer Aid International is a registered charity (no. 1069256) and the world’s largest and most experienced not-for-profit supplier of professionally refurbished computers to developing countries.

Since it was founded in 1998, Computer Aid has provided over 130,000 PCs to organisations in more than 100 developing countries. Based in London, Computer Aid International fully tests, professionally refurbishes, upgrades, packs and ships Pentium 3 and Pentium 4 computers donated by UK companies for re-use in schools and not-for-profit organisations overseas.

The charity is committed to providing the highest level decommissioning service to its UK computer donors and to delivering the highest quality refurbished computers to recipient organisations overseas. PC donors in the UK include British Airways, Ford, Virgin, Investec, the National Audit Office, Royal Mint, Packard Bell and Christian Aid. PC distribution in developing countries is achieved through strategic partnerships with partners such as SchoolNet Africa, British Council, UN-Habitat, and the national Computers for Schools programmes of Chile, Kenya, Zambia and other countries.


TOM PULLAR-STRECKER - The Dominion Post | Monday, 22 September 2008
E-waste solution will take till 2012

Computer manufacturers will need to take responsibility for recycling or disposing of unwanted computer equipment after Parliament passes the Waste Minimisation Act, but they may have four years to prepare.

The act, originally a private member's bill sponsored by the Green Party, empowers the Environment Ministry to force manufacturers to take part in industry-run recycling schemes, or to impose mandatory schemes of its own.

The Government said in its updated Digital Strategy, issued last month, that the ministry would put in place two "product stewardship schemes" for electronic waste by 2012.

The schemes are expected to add about $50 to the average cost of a personal computer.

As an interim step, the ministry will release best-practice guidelines for refurbishing recycled computer equipment next year.

Hopes that a working party led by the Consumer Electronics Association could quickly establish an industry-run computer recycling scheme took a step backward last month.

Some multinational PC makers declined to support an arrangement under which they would pay an advance levy on imported computers to pay for recycling.

The multinationals proposed that they be allowed to pay for the cost of recycling IT equipment only after it was dropped off at recycling centres, and that New Zealand PC assemblers pay a deposit in advance when they sold computers. The assemblers argued that this would be unfair.

Some believe the dispute makes it inevitable that a government- designed scheme will be imposed on the industry.

But the long timeframes envisaged in the Digital Strategy mean New Zealanders could be relying on events such as next month's eDay for a few years yet.

Environment Ministry spokeswoman Sophie Lee says the 2012 target was set to allow time for "public consultation, research, and negotiations with industry required to develop a robust product stewardship scheme for priority products".

Households will be able to drop off unwanted computers and peripherals for recycling at no cost at 30 collection points on October 4.

The Computer Access New Zealand Trust is organising the event, details of which are at

It hopes to collect 1000 tonnes of e-waste.

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard says New Zealanders own 825,000 mobile phones that are no longer being used and have more than 250,000 unused computers in their homes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008



EPA Faulted for Failing to Control E-Waste Exports
WASHINGTON, DC, September 18, 2008 (ENS) - U.S. hazardous waste regulations have not stopped exports of toxic used electronics to developing countries, partly because they are not being enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, finds a new report issued Wednesday by the investigative branch of Congress.

In the report commissioned by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Government Accountability Office says that in addition to the EPA's poor enforcement performance, the regulations themselves are too limited to deal with the problem.
Obsolete CRT monitors awaiting export from the United States. (Photo credit unknown)

The rules address only one type of electronics - the old-fashioned rectangular type of monitors called cathode ray tubes. CRTs are particularly harmful because they can contain as much as four pounds of lead, a known toxin.

But exports of other used electronics flow virtually unrestricted, even to countries where unsafe recycling practices can cause health and environmental problems. This happens, the GAO reports, because the existing hazardous waste regulations assess only how products will react in unlined U.S. landfills.

While more Americans are recycling old computers and more companies are taking them back for recycling, there is a "tsunami of CRTs coming that will end up in developing countries contaminating their land and waters," said Jim Puckett of the nonprofit Basel Action Network, who first documented computer breaking in China in 2001.

"Thousands of laborers, former farmers were making $1 a day smashing, melting, cooking our old computers," Puckett told reporters on a teleconference call about the GAO report on Wednesday.

"Whole villages were making their living burning little wires, cooking computer chips, beathing toxic fumes," he said. "Vats of chips were soaked in acid to extract the gold and all the residues were flushed into the river."
Woman cooking circuit boards over pool of molten solder. Taizhou, China 2007. (Photo
© Stuart Isett courtesy Basel Action Network)

When he returned to the same area last year, Puckett said the scene had expanded with many more workers breaking many more electronic devices.

He says that some of the lead recovered from these scrapped computers is returned to the United States in the form of toys and jewelry that can poison kids.

"We are hopeful that the GAO report will help us achieve a full ban on exporting toxic electronic waste to developing countries," he said. "Then we can starting taking back and doing recycling."

Federal legislation is needed, said Puckett, because the current patchwork of state laws and regulations is not effective, and under the Constitution states cannot regulate foreign trade. "They must punt on that and now they're punting into a black hole," he told reporters.

The average useful life of a computer is about two years. Americans dispose of at least 50 million computers a year or 3,000 tons each day, and millions more are stored in homes and corporate warehouses awaiting disposal. Each computer contains toxics such as lead, cadmium and mercury, which if disposed of improperly can harm people and the environment.

In January 2007, the EPA began regulating the export of CRTs under a rule that requires companies to notify the agency before exporting CRTs.

But companies easily circumvent this rule, GAO investigators found when they posed as foreign buyers of broken CRTs in Hong Kong, India and Pakistan, among other countries.

They identified 43 U.S. companies that expressed willingness to export these items. "Some of the companies, including ones that publicly tout their exemplary environmental practices, were willing to export CRTs in apparent violation of the CRT rule," the report states.

Recent surveys made on behalf of the United Nations found that used electronics exported from the United States to many Asian countries are dismantled under unsafe conditions, using methods like open-air incineration and acid baths to extract metals such as copper and gold.
This boy was scavenging on a pile of broken electronics at the Alaba market, Lagos, Nigeria. 2006. (Photo © Basel Action Network)

GAO observed thousands of requests for these items on e-commerce websites during a three month period, mostly from Asian countries such as China and India, but also from some in Africa.

"Some exported used electronics are handled responsibly in countries with effective regulatory controls and by companies with advanced technologies, but a substantial quantity ends up in countries where disposal practices are unsafe to workers and dangerous to the environment," the GAO report states.

EPA officials acknowledged compliance problems with its CRT rule but said that because the rule is new, their focus was on educating the regulated community.

The GAO called this reasoning "misplaced" because investigators found so many exporters willing to engage in apparent violations of the CRT rule, even some who are aware of the rule.

The report faults the EPA for not assessing the extent of noncompliance. EPA officials told investigators they have neither plans nor a timetable to develop an enforcement program.

The GAO says hazardous waste regulations should be enforced and also expanded to include computers, printers, and cell phones.

To help make U.S. export controls more consistent with those of other industrialized countries, the GAO recommends that the United States ratify the Basel Convention, an international treaty governing the import and export of hazardous wastes.

Customs and other agencies need to improve identification and tracking of exported used electronics, the GAO recommends.

Congressman Gene Green, a Texas Democrat who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Environment and Hazardous Materials, told reporters on the teleconference that he considers the current EPA administration intransigent.

"The EPA is not as interested in doing what statutorily they should be on this and lots of other issues," he said.

After the elections in November, said Green, "Whatever happens, we're going to get ourselves a new EPA administrator."

Congressman Mike Thompson, a California Democrat and founding member of the congressional E-Waste Working Group in 2005, said that when Congress reconvenes after the elections, "We'll give a resonable time for a reconstituted working group to put something together, but if nothing emerges, then we'll have to start from scratch."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.


US company’s unsafe waste disposal exposed

18 Sep 2008 | 13:42 BST

By Emma Hughes

Dirty rotten liars

SHOCKINGLY – or not as the case may be – some major US companies have been exposed as filthy fibbers.

That’s right, US companies which claim to be all green by using environmental recycling to get rid of electronic waste – wait for it – actually aren’t.

If that didn’t shock you this certainly will... the company’s in question are actually dumping their waste – which includes mobile phones, old computers and televisions – in other countries such as China and India where disposal in this way is dangerous to people as well as the environment.

This despicable information comes from a report issued by the Government Accountability Office today which claims, among other things, that the US Environmental Protection Agency is doing a rubbish job.

America's harmful waste regulations have not deterred exports of potentially hazardous used electronics according to the GAO which outlines three main reasons for this in the report.

Existing EPA regulations focus specifically on cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) and the safe disposal of these, and companies have found cunning ways to get around the CRT rule and of course, the EPA’s enforcement is lacking any kind of… well, force.

The GAO also found that the dismantling of these electronics was unsafe, using open-air incineration and acid baths to extract valuable metals.

Bad as this is, it seems like little can be done to stop it. The GAO suggests that beyond reinforcing the CRT rule, the EPA should concentrate far more on the safe disposal of the other universe of harmful electronics being dumped all over the Asian countryside.

For the last shocker of the day, we bring you the EPA’s response which claims that a "complete and balanced picture of the agency’s electronic waste program" had not been outlined in the report - although, to be honest, I think we’ve probably heard enough. µ

© 2007 Incisive Media Investments Ltd. 2007


Electronic Recyclers International Addresses E-Scrap 2008 Conference

Last update: 4:12 p.m. EDT Sept. 16, 2008
PHOENIX, Sep 16, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Aaron Blum, Chief Compliance Officer and co-founder of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), served as an expert panelist today at E-Scrap 2008 Conference & Tradeshow in Phoenix. Blum spoke to an audience of recyclers about effective recycling of e-waste in regulated environments and how electronics can be effectively recycled in any US state today.
Blum described ERI's motto that "green is good" by explaining to the crowd that working within the parameters of each state's legislation, electronics can be recycled effectively and lead to both environmental and fiscal benefits.
Blum and ERI were part of a panel also featuring Billy Andrews of Uniwaste Services Corp.; Craig Lorch of Total Reclaim / EcoLights NW; and Toral Jha of Cascade Asset Management. The discussion was moderated by Jason Linnell of NCER.
E-Scrap 2008 is the largest electronics recycling conference in North America and is sponsored by Resource Recycling Inc., publisher of E-Scrap News and Resource Recycling magazine.The conference format and tradeshow provide a collaborative setting where concepts and ideas regarding the management pf electronic waste are shared by the leaders of the sector. The conference attracts hundreds of experts from over a dozen countries.
"It's an honor and privilege to have our own Aaron Blum be asked to speak as an expert on the subject of effectively managing the recycling of electronics in a state by state environment," said Shegerian. "We tip our hats to the event organizers and the reporting team at E-Scrap News, who cover our industry so well and proactively promote the issues most important to our industry -- one of the fastest growing and most environmentally crucial industries in the world today."
Now the largest recycler of electronic waste in the world, Fresno-headquartered Electronic Recyclers is licensed to de-manufacture and recycle televisions, computer monitors, computers, and other types of electronic equipment. ERI processes more than 10 million pounds of electronic waste per month. For more information about e-waste recycling and Electronic Recyclers, call 1-800-RECYCLING or visit

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Do Business Leaches See Opportunity?

Here WEEE go again

David Galton-Fenzi explains the IT waste directive and what it may mean for the channel
David Galton-Fenzi, CRN 10 Sep 2008

The green datacentre has become something of a cause célèbre in the media. However, much of what has been written examines more effective management of power and space in the datacentre while saying little about what to do about IT waste.

Electrical and electronic waste are the fastest growing waste streams in the UK. Around 1.8 million tonnes are generated every year. Electronic waste can be a valuable source for secondary raw materials but if not treated properly can become a major source of toxins and carcinogens.

Rapid technology change, low initial cost and planned obsolescence has resulted in a fast growing problem around the globe.

In Europe, 2003’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, along with the related Directive on Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), agreed to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of IT waste going to landfill.

Equipment covered by WEEE includes:
• Mainframes
• Minicomputers
• Printers
• Personal computers
• Laptop computers
• Notebook computers
• Notepad computers
• Printers
• Copying equipment
• Electrical and electronic typewriters
• Pocket and desk calculators
• User terminals and systems
• Facsimile
• Telephones
• Upgrades

Exemptions from WEEE include:
• Consumables for EEE, such as printer cartridges (unless included in a printer)
• Components that are not finished products and placed on the market as individual items
• Sub assemblies such as:
• Populated mother boards
• Graphics cards

Producers – defined as anyone who manufactures, re-brands or imports Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) – are being made responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment.

Also, distributors – defined as anyone who sells EEE to end users, no matter how it is sold, including retailers, wholesalers, mail order and internet sellers – must allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge.

WEEE entered into force in the UK on 2 January 2007, with amendments applying since 1 January 2008.

For waste equipment purchased before 13 August 2005, the end user is responsible for disposal, unless they are buying replacement products, in which case the producer supplying the new equipment will have these responsibilities.

For equipment put on the market after 13 August 2005, the producer supplying that equipment will have to take responsibility, unless both parties negotiate alternative arrangements.

This last sentence is important for the reseller because the ‘distributor’ has no obligation to take back WEEE from business users to meet the requirements of the directive. The distributor obligation is only to consumers.

However, this leaves businesses with a challenge. What do they do about IT waste? They can’t just toss it in a skip.

Businesses must either return each individual piece of equipment to the ‘producer’ – the original manufacturer or importer – or look for a service which will take it away and guarantee compliant disposal.

This is where the opportunity lies for the reseller who can become that trusted disposal point and charge for the service.

David Galton-Fenzi is group sales director at Zycko

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


September 10, 2008

Television’s vast wasteland

Electronics waste pick-ups boom in Lee County


They're picked up individually. A Curtis Mathes here. A Toshiba there. An RCA someplace else.

Televisions of various sizes. Once, they provided entertainment. Now they're thrown together at the Lee County Electronics Recycling facility on Topaz Court in south Fort Myers.

Their lives are over. This is a way station. They'll be wrapped in plastic and then hauled away by truck to facilities out of town where they're destroyed.

In the first six months of this year, according to the Lee County Solid Waste Division, 11,556 televisions have been discarded. That's a pace that could put the yearly total at about 23,000. In 2007, the county tallied 14,166 televisions going through the recycling system. In 2006, the county had 9,442 televisions recycled.

Why the uptick? America is converting to digital television, which must be completed by Feb. 17, 2009.

"We're probably going to be getting a lot of TVs," plant operations manager Bill Newman said.

Although television stations broadcast in analog and digital, after Feb. 17, stations will broadcast in only digital. Analog televisions will work if consumers have a digital-to-analog converter box, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Most of the televisions that go through the county recycling plan are trucked to an American Electronics Recycling plant in Sarasota where they meet crunchy fates.

"We have a shredder," said Julie Kiger, an officer manager at American Electronics. "Then they get shredded up into little pieces."

Everything. The steel. The glass. The plastic.

"It's very loud when they go through," Kiger said. "It's a like a bomb goes off."

Although more televisions are being recycled, the increase isn't quite as dramatic as expected at American Electronics Recycling.

Kiger believes it's because people realize they can still use analog televisions as long as they get a converter box.

On the other hand, the HD conversion can be an impetus for a purchase.

"It might be a good excuse to get a good TV," Kiger said.

The impending HD revolution isn't the only factor in the increased recycling of televisions, said Erich Tscherteu, a solid waste coordinator for Lee County.

"The price of flat screens has been cut in half and a lot of the newer TV shows are being broadcast in HD," Tscherteu said.

A Samsung 40-inch flat screen TV is listed at $1,100 on Best Buy's Web site, for example.

Televisions aren't the only electronic devices going through the Lee County electronics recycling facility.

The county has sent 49 truckloads of electronics this year to recycling facilities. The program started in 2001, when 31,244 pounds were collected. As of July 1, the most recent total available, the county has collected 1,418,699 pounds of electronics in 2008.

"We really didn't think it would take off like that," said

Brigitte Kantor, spokeswoman for the Lee County Solid Waste

Division. "We knew it would be a successful program. We didn't know people had that many electronics. It seems like people have an awful lot of electronics. There must be a television in each room."

There just might be, based on statistics on the Environmental Protection Agency Web site. Americans, according to the EPA, own almost 3 billion electronics products. Americans are often eager to replace old gadgets to snag the latest gizmo.

So, the old ones flow through facilities such as the one on Topaz Court.

Lee County's electronics recycling program began in 2001 with a $50,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Back then, there was no facility devoted to electronics recycling. The south Fort Myers facility didn't open until April, Kantor said.

The big jump came after the county began curbside pickups in October 2005, Kantor said. The total electronics picked up jumped more than a million pounds in a year, from 359,404 pounds in 2005 to 1,418,337 pounds in 2006.


Mixing e-waste with rubbish could be dangerous: experts
Publish Date: Wednesday,10 September, 2008, at 01:36 AM Doha Time

With no place for e-waste disposal, most service centres dump equipment with rubbish
By Arvind Nair
Where does all the electronic waste generated in Qatar – obsolete computers, condemned mobile phones etc – go? Are they dumped along with other rubbish into the landfill? If so, how dangerous is it?
Gulf Times tried to find out answers to some of these questions from various sources since an official version has not been available.
Qatar does not yet have a place where e-waste can be safely deposited. Nor does it have an official policy on e-waste disposal. When electronic goods dealers and service centres approach the environment ministry, they are told to accumulate the wastes. “But, how much can we go on accumulating,” one of them asked.
Many small-time service centres are suspected to be taking the easy way out – dumping parts along with other rubbish, after removing reusable components.
Environmentalists point out that this could be potentially very dangerous.
Mobile phones, for instance, are made up of many toxic substances. The elements contained in a mobile phone include arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc. These poisonous substances can leach from decomposing waste in landfill and seep into groundwater, contaminate the soil and enter the food chain. However, these substances appear in a relatively small amount in a single mobile phone.
Similarly, the printed circuit boards in computers, tape recorders and similar gadgets too could be lethal if not disposed of properly, an environmentalist said.
Heavy metals like lead, chromium, copper and cadmium from these circuit boards, which are toxic, could leach into the soil, if disposed of haphazardly. Potentially, these could come back to humans through water and food, he said.
Prolonged exposure to such contaminated water and food products could cause untold problems, including brain damage, particularly in children. But the good news for Qatar residents is that chances of that happening here are almost nil since hardly any food is produced locally and our ground water usage is minimal.
However, if heavy metals have contaminated the water, it is difficult to remove, the environmentalist cautioned.
A large company which has a huge turn over of computers said it usually sold its old machines as junk to traders. “We don't know what the trader does with them,” a spokesman said. “This precisely is the problem,” said the environmentalist. “We have no control over the small shops and they do what they like. They might not be aware of the hazards too. They should be banned from dealing with such products.”
Enquiries revealed that most of the junked electronic equipment are exported from Doha to Dubai where they are separated and recycled. “So, I don't think we have a huge problem yet in our hands,” the environmentalist said.
The current landfill of Qatar, at Umm Al Afai, has been in use for several years. Since it is of vintage making, its lining is not designed to prevent leaching onto the ground. However, the new hazardous waste treatment plant at Mesaieed, which is partly commissioned, is modern and sophisticated. Though it can receive hazardous materials, it is not designed to handle e-wastes, it is understood.
Qatar cannot be really faulted for not having a policy on e-wastes yet. The United Nations started considering the safe disposal of old mobile phones and computer equipment only as late as June this year at a waste management meeting in Bali.
The ninth meeting of the parties to the 1989 Basel Convention considered new guidelines for getting rid of phones and other e-waste in a way that protected both the environment and human health.
The use of mobile phones has grown exponentially from the first few users in the 1970s, to 1.76bn in 2004, and more than 3bn in April 2008, according to the UN Environment Programme and the secretariat of the Basel Convention. “Sooner or later, these phones will be discarded, whole or in parts.”
Participants at the five-day meeting looked at guidelines proposed by the Basel Convention Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative, which was launched in 2002 and brings mobile phone manufacturers and service providers together with the Convention.
The Bali meeting also saw the launch of the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE), which provided a forum for governments, industry leaders, non-governmental organisations and academia to tackle the disposal of old computer equipment, including through global recycling schemes.
In the light of the UN decisions, Qatar too would soon have a policy on e-waste disposal, the environmentalist said.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Anti-filesharing deal 'will hit vulnerable'

28 July 2008

The Green Party is warning that the agreement reached this week between the recording industry and six internet service providers (ISPs) is not in the best interests of musicians or music fans, and could have a serious impact on net access for vulnerable people.

The deal, negotiated and approved by the UK government, would allow the six ISPs (BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse) to slow down or cut off internet connections for people suspected of file-sharing.

The Green Party condemns these as 'draconian measures' and warns they would harm the quality of life of vulnerable people who use shared internet connections and are likely to be targeted as suspects.

The party also argues that a healthy music industry, less dependent on corporate power, can continue to thrive without attacking people's rights to share content.

In a statement, Tom Chance, the party's Intellectual Property Spokesperson said:

"Net-users everywhere should be worried by today's Memorandum of Understanding between the BPI and the six largest ISPs in the UK. Faults exist at every level. The first stage gives the BPI the right to track filesharers, and pass their details onto ISPs. That's an attack on civil liberties in itself - but the true folly of the scheme rests in what those ISPs can do next.

"Their new powers run in two halves. Initially, they merely send warning letters to suspected filesharers. If these fail to deter them, the ISPs threaten to to slow or cut off their internet connections. This is a hugely disproportionate response.

"It wouldn't matter who had done the sharing. It wouldn't matter if it was someone else in the building. It wouldn't matter if your machine had been assaulted by malware and used without your knowledge.

"The ISPs will target suspects, which means many people on shared internet connections will be cut off under these rules. These rules risk cutting many vulnerable people off from their livelihoods and their means for engaging as a citizen.

"Geoff Taylor from the BPI says,'there is not an acceptable level of file-sharing. Musicians need to be paid like everyone else,' and Feargal Sharkey, spokesperson for British Music Rights, claims, 'no business can survive after losing as much revenue as the music industry has.' But the fact is that this loss of revenue results from the music industry's failure to move with the times.

"Draconian measures won't stem that loss. The speed and ease of file-transfer makes it an increasingly attractive option compared to conventional shopping. It's the difference between pressing a button and going out to get the bus to the nearest music shop. If the music industry ever hopes to compete with that convenience, it needs to develop both legal and fair means of sharing files.

"Record companies typically want to develop software along the lines of iTunes; a monopoly where individuals sign up and pay to legally share music. That's clearly unsatisfactory. The money collected won't find its way to musicians - the companies' typical charge against filesharing.

"The advent of mass social networking allows developing artists to promote themselves without immediate recourse to studios' PR teams, so whatever deal is produced should help sites that support independent artists, such as Magnatune, not just multinationals that distribute record industry fare.

"The internet offers consumers and artists greater freedom from the strictures of corporate power. This memo attempts to stop that; its assault on filesharing attacks consumers, while its proposals on legal filesharing seek simply to preserve the record industry's cut of musician's profits. Along the way, it makes a flagrant challenge to the liberty of internet users, which must be opposed."

Friday, September 5, 2008


5 september 2008
Going green with IT use
Door: Jonny Evans

If rising food and fuel prices aren't convincing enough, there's a world of good reasons to be a little more conscious of the cost of running your Mac.
Klik Hier!

We know global temperatures have climbed 0.8 degrees Celsius since the start of the industrial revolution. We know the polar ice caps are shrinking and cataclysmic climatic events -- such as Hurricane Katrina, Burma's Cyclone Nargis, and the recent flooding in China that forced a million people from their homes -- are increasing in frequency.

But what's this got to do with you and your Mac? Well, ball-park estimates suggest there are one billion computers in use worldwide, sucking an estimated 2.4 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each day. The average nuclear power station generates about 12.4 billion kilowatt-hours per year. Gartner last year estimated the IT industry accounts for approximately 2 percent of CO2 emissions, making the industry as bad as air travel.

Most power is generated using fossil fuels, which also create CO2 emissions, cause climate change, damage ecosystems and endanger the livelihood of millions.

Former US vice president and Apple board member, Al Gore, said in his film An Inconvenient Truth: "We're facing a global crisis and action is required." What can you, just one Mac user, do? You can think global, but act local.

1. How can I save power?

Keep it simple: switch things off. And take the plug out. Many household appliances continue to consume energy when they're turned off: TVs, Macs, and mobile phone, iPod and camera chargers cost the average household an extra £50 (US$87) per year in electricity by being plugged in, but not used. And such waste pushes around 18 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

One solution is a multi-socket power strip with its own power cut-out technology, such as those sold by OneClick Technologies ( under the Intellipanel range.

Your Mac has an off button, too. Use it. Also, beware the Apple TV -- this constantly scans and syncs content with your Mac, and may be worth unplugging when not in use.

Change your electricity supplier. There's a growing number of energy firms claiming to offer 100 percent green electricity. Find out who can help you at You'll save money and reduce your environmental impact, too.

Going shopping? Look for products with energy-saving labels, such as the widely used Energy Star label. Be sure to check Epeat assessments on products you're eyeing up (

All new Macs ship with OS X's Energy Save feature turned on. Apple estimates Macs use 77 percent less energy in low-power mode. You can save more energy by navigating to the Energy Saver preference panel and adjusting the settings there. You'll see two options, one for the monitor, the other for the computer. Bear in mind that background processes (exporting video into different formats, for example) will cease when your Mac is shut down, so you may want to set your display to go dark long before you ask the computer to stop. A screen saver isn't an energy saver -- your Mac's display consumes as much energy displaying the screen saver as it does when in normal use.

2. How can I reduce my carbon footprint?

Your carbon footprint reflects the damage your actions and lifestyle create in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. Climate change is the result of a build up of greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001 said: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."

Travel contributes to your carbon footprint. Air travel is the most damaging. Do you need to make that trip? Use iChat, conference calls and video feeds to help reduce business trips.

Businesses should consider teleworking. Defined targets boost personal responsibility, ease congestion, reduce the carbon footprint and increase productivity. Executives face increasing pressure from customers, employees and business partners to become responsible corporate citizens -- remote working can be part of the matrix for change.

Long-distance collaboration is possible. Leopard's Back To My Mac, iChat document sharing, or Google Docs all show the way.

Business users should look to carbon offsetters such as The Clean Planet Trust ( to offset emissions, though the UK government is currently drawing up a code of practice for such schemes, as some have proved to be bogus or misleading.

Think lights: a recent Greenpeace study claimed that consistent use of energy efficient lighting, including energy-saving bulbs, would make 85 coal-fired power stations redundant worldwide, slicing 500 million tons off annual CO2 emissions -- more CO2 than Canada produces in a year.

A symbolic gesture at a private or corporate level -- and a nice one -- is to plant trees. One broad leaf tree absorbs about 730kg of CO2 in its life, but it's estimated each person in the UK needs to save ten times that each year to meet current targets for CO2 reductions. UK reseller the Square Group now plants a tree each time it sells an iPod or Mac (

3. What are the green laws?

The International Energy Agency expects global energy demand to double by 2050. In 2005, EU estimates indicated the average EU citizen produces 17 to 20 kilograms of electronic waste (e-waste) each year.

The drive to energy efficiency and the urgent need to protect the planet through provision of efficient recycling schemes has driven implementation of some legislation designed to limit the damage caused by consumer electronics device manufacture, use and disposal. In Europe, principal rules include the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. While these don't directly impact Mac users, they do mean Apple has been forced to dispense with the use of damaging substances in computer design, including lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, poly-brominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

One of the initial consequences of the RoHS directive coming into effect was Apple's move to end European sales of AirPort Base Stations, eMacs and iSight cameras in June 2006. Apple then introduced re-designed Base Stations that dispensed with the banned substances in manufacture, integrated web cameras within most Macs and abandoned CRT displays.

WEEE forces electrical equipment manufacturers to finance the treatment, recovery and safe disposal of old kit. Until its implementation, most electronic waste ended up in landfills or was incinerated without being treated; meaning pollutants could enter air, water and soil. Recycling schemes must provide evidence of the amount of electrical waste they have handled and treated to a government-appointed settlement center. UK local authorities can also recover the costs of such recycling from manufacturers, meaning you can approach your local authority to request disposal of your old computer and other electrical devices. This also means local authorities are more likely to prosecute those who dump their old computers in the street.

4. What can I do with my old kit?

Beyond the Mac, or any old Windows PCs you may still have lingering around the home, mobile phones, games consoles, televisions, even white goods, should be properly recycled when they reach the end of their useful life. An estimated one million tons of waste electronic and electrical equipment are discarded by UK households and businesses every year, according to WasteWatch. Under the WEEE and RoHS laws, local authorities must already offer collection or take-back schemes for such goods, financed by manufacturers. Contact your council to find out about your local scheme.

Just because you need to upgrade your Mac doesn't mean it's of no use to anyone else. It could have a new lease of life with a friend or a member of your family.

Since 1996 the market for refurbished computers has increased by 500 percent, but still less than 20 percent of all discarded UK computers are recycled (WasteWatch).

The second-hand Mac trade on eBay remains strong: a 500MHz G3 iBook should fetch around £160; while a first-generation iMac could fetch up to £50.

Your local charity shop is crying out for sellable items, so why not donate your old IT kit. You'll feel good and help raise some cash for charity. Also consider computer reuse projects, such as Computer Aid ( that distributes machines to schools in developing countries. Also services such as helps you give away your unwanted electrical items.

Be warned: when disposing of a computer be sure to erase the hard drive using Disk Utility, using the Security Options feature to overwrite the drive 7-35 times to prevent others from recovering your data.

Why not give your old Mac a new job? Perhaps it can be relegated to running your iTunes library or connected to your TV and used as a media center.

5. How can I make my office environmentally friendly?

Setting the thermostat a little lower in winter and a little higher in summer and switching off your (energy efficient) lights and computers when the office shuts are positive steps, but a lowest-cost focus when purchasing may also be a false economy.

Gartner analyst Frances O'Brien observes: "Organizations need to take a more considered approach to their asset and waste management from the very beginning, and plan for equipment disposal at the time of purchase. Purchasing environmentally preferable products that have less-negative effects on the environment as well as consuming and disposing of less equipment should be a key goal for organizations and individuals around the world."

Home working fits many businesses today. It immediately reduces the environmental impact and also minimizes the carbon footprint of your workforce by freeing them from the daily commute.

If you're searching for office space, consider taking space inside the new breed of pioneering developments, such as Gallions Park in London, Green Park in Reading or the Southampton district energy scheme. The basic aim of these is to provide "Zero Emission" spaces for the same cost as standard developments.

It's not just in the south, City of York Council took a bronze award at the International Green Apple Awards 2008 for the Built Environment and Architectural Heritage, for its new Danesgate Skills Centre, built using sustainable materials and bio-fuelled.

When purchasing equipment, consider Energy Star rankings. For example, if you're looking for storage solutions, consider the Newer Technology Guardian MAXimus eMAX, a 1TB system which provides a 15 percent power savings and up to 50 percent power reduction in comparison to other solutions on the market.

6. How can I use less paper?

Just 30-40 percent of the 40 million inkjet and toner cartridges sold in the UK in 2003 were recycled. The Environmental Protection Agency warns that one toner cartridge requires a gallon of oil to create. Envirowise estimates UK businesses throw away five million tons of paper each year. What can be done to reduce this waste?

Think before you print Do you really need to print that document or email? Why not add a slogan to your signature to suggest others don't print your emails?

Duplex when possible It may sound obvious, but if you must print or copy, make sure you use both sides of a piece of paper.

Don't print more than you need Always check the Page Preview function to ensure you don't accidentally waste paper, especially when you're printing web pages.

Print in draft mode Pick the lowest-quality setting and you'll use less ink.

PDF instead Rather than print to paper print to PDF and archive important documents and other correspondence.

Use recycled paper Purchase recycled paper where you can.

Email only If you haven't already, replace your paper-based communications with email.

Recycle Get your office a recycling bin -- and shred important documents.

Re-manufacture Don't bin those print and toner cartridges, recycle them. Under terms of the WEEE directive, manufacturers must offer take-back of their e-waste, so check with them to find out what recycling options they offer you.

7. What nasty materials should we avoid?

Many materials traditionally used to manufacture computers are environmentally threatening -- most computers from pre-2006 contain some or all of the following, which is why proper recycling is essential.

Arsenic Extremely poisonous, arsenic is used in LCD displays to prevent defects and can leak into ecosystems during product manufacture and disposal.

Beryllium Metal, lighter than aluminium, stronger than steel, excellent electrical conductor, historically used in motherboards -- and a cause of fatal lung disease.

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) Brominated chemicals stop materials catching fire. However, they're toxic, don't degrade and can accumulate in animals and humans. Worse, harmful compounds derived from these can be released in normal use.

Flux A chemical reaction during soldering. In high concentrations it can cause dizziness, unconsciousness and death.

Hexavalent Chromium, Cadmium, Lead All are extremely toxic, which is why their use in consumer electronics products is heavily regulated under Europe's WEEE directive.

Mercury Extremely toxic, mercury is commonly used in flat screen displays and has been used in switches, batteries and relays in the past.

Phthalates Chemicals used to soften plastics, such as PVC. Many are toxic, some damage both male and female reproductive systems as they enter the food chain.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) A cheap, rigid yet flexible plastic, manufacture requires hazardous raw materials which are explosive, highly toxic and carcinogenic and generate hazardous waste.

8. How do I get involved?

It's time for action. Former US presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton has called climate change the modern equivalent of the space race, warning: "The negative economic consequences of climate change will affect every part of (the US), virtually every sector of our economy, and strain our local governments, cost jobs, and extract a horrific human toll."

Research continues to suggest the pace of climate change is speeding up. Failure to act now will leave the next generation with major problems. Along with changing our own habits, what can we do to force business and government to meet the challenge?

Think green Don't buy over-packaged products. Research products to find out what their manufacturer's environmental record is. Force change through ethical consuming (

Check Many companies claim to be green, but before purchasing products and services from them ask them for a written breakdown of their green claims, and keep the evidence.

Write If there's one piece of paper worth printing, it's a letter to manufacturers urging them to commit to greener internal policies. Companies take letters extremely seriously because it takes an effort to write one. Beyond the letter, Greenpeace activists recently returned electronic waste to Philips' head offices worldwide, urging the company to launch a global voluntary take-back scheme.

Be heard Contact your local authorities and MP. This is so much easier than it used to be now you can do it online at

Protest Join Greenpeace or another green-focused group. Greenpeace has always fought hard for the environment, even before these matters became mainstream. Public pressure works.

Ask for more Greenpeace notes Apple's MacBook Air exceeds European standards and "raises the bar for the rest of the industry". "The real reason this happened is because thousands of Apple fans told Steve they want a greener Apple. You made it happen." Make it happen.

The last word...

Climate change is no longer seen as a maverick topic, instead it has emerged as the defining challenge of our time. This legitimacy is relatively recent, which is why activists, such as Greenpeace's 'Green My Apple' campaign, have been essential in motivating Apple to increase its green initiatives, with the recently released MacBook Air one of the greenest computers around. Individuals can always react to, and push for, change faster than any large enterprise or government body.

It's essential to understand the complexities of environmentally responsible computing. It's not enough -- though it is a start -- just to switch things off when you're not using them. Green awareness demands taking an interest at all levels of the computer industry, from the way we use our Mac to the way the machine is manufactured.

This awareness also needs to include distribution, usage, what's done when a computer's not in use, and what happens to equipment at the end of its life.

Without your support -- from turning out the lights to limiting your printing -- no amount of green initiatives from government or industry can solve the climate crisis. The most essential element, the key enabler for success in any attempt to protect the environment is you, and what you want from your future.


Conference to Assess Impact of WEEE Directive Revision

September 5, 2008

The European Commission and senior representatives from the electronics industry will give an insight into the planned revision of the EU Directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) at a major industry conference in October.

Agra Informa on Oct. 1-2 will host its fourth conference on Electrical and Electronic Waste in Brussels, where the keynote speaker will be the Commission's Kurt van der Herten, the official leading the revision work.

The WEEE directive has proved a headache for both companies that have to comply and EU Member States that have to write its tenets into national law. Companies in particular find compliance with the 27 different interpretations of the directive in national law a nightmare.

Now the Commission has a chance to iron out the difficulties and harmonize the rules Europe-wide. But what will Brussels choose to do? Electrical and Electronic Waste 2008 will give you the opportunity to hear from the horse's mouth what the main features of the WEEE revision are likely to be.

With the revision of the Directive imminent, speakers from Hewlett Packard, Dell Ltd. and Philips Consumer Electronics share their experience of implementing Individual Producer Responsibility, coping with impact of the EU Directive in the global market, and managing compliance.

For registration details, visit

Thursday, September 4, 2008

problems with romanian e-waste

What the newspapers say: September 4, 2008
de Radu Rizea
Joi, 4 septembrie 2008, 8:55 English | Press Review

Romanians not only consume, they also collect: the electronics they buy never leave the house again and the cars... well, that's another story. Let's just say Romanians keep buying cars, but no one rushes to take it to the scrap yard and buy another. It may be one of the reasons why all parking lots in Bucharest are taken, day and night. Still, with all the cars they have, Romanians not only find the time to drink a lot of beer, but also remain the people that spends the most time in the office in all Europe. Explain that!

"Romania - the country where electronic waste is kept as gewgaws", is the headline in Gandul. After 16 months of "green tax" imposed on electronics and electric households, Romania is far from collecting the 80,000 tons of waste it promised. In fact, it collected in 16 months the amount that should have been collected in one month. In 2007, the record was 2,000 tons in 8 months, Gandul found out. Meanwhile, the green tax supposed to finance the collecting added up to a total of some 80 million RON (1 euro = 3.6 RON).

One possible explanation is that Romanians may have been too busy to take their trash out: during the first six months of the year, the beer and cigarettes consumption reached 1.1 billion Euros. The next best selling products are chocolate tablets, coffee and non-carbonated drinks, same Gandul reads, quoting a study conducted by Nielsen.

Cars are another hobby of Romanians, who would buy almost anything. Some contradictory news come from Cotidianul and Evenimentul Zilei. The first newspaper, Cotidianul, found that luxury berlins are the average cars Romanians buy, when it comes to paying installments. Out of 144,988 imported cars, 40,548 were bought on the leasing market, the most wanted cars being those around 26,000 Euros. Thus, the leasing market grew 35% during the first quarter, compared to Q1 2007, up to 2.94 billion Euros.

On the other hand, the import of second-hand cars reached an all-times high in August, the number of units surpassing for the first time the number of new cars sold. Over 44,000 second-hand cars imported mainly from EU states were registered in August only, 11,000 more than the previous month, Evenimentul Zilei reads.

At the same time, Romanians stay at work more than any other European: 41 hours and 42 minutes per week, as average, two hours more than the EU average and 4 hours more than the French, a study by the European Industrial Relations Observatory reveals, according to Evenimentul Zilei. And that's where no one understands when do Romanians still have the time to drink all that beer, smoke that much (in most offices, smoking is banned) and drive around their new and old cars (since the streets are jammed with traffic all day and most of the night).

In politics, just because it's all so Romanian, it may be worth mentioning that the scandal with the Democrat - Liberals - who made a political deal with the far-right Greater Romania - continues just as contradictory as the news above. In the same newspaper, Cotidianul, there are two articles that say it all. The first is about the TV intervention of the Democrat-Liberal vice president, Cezar Preda, who apologized to Romania president Traian Basescu (former president of the party) for destroying the image of the party through that move.

In the second article, sources in the party tell the journalists at Cotidianul that the deal with the Greater Romania party was decided in a closed session president Basescu had with the party leaders. Just another day in Romania.


TECH REPUBLIC offers this:

10 tips for implementing green IT

* Date: September 3rd, 2008
* Author: Debra Littlejohn Shinder

“Going green” is the hot new trend in the business world, and that naturally filters down to the IT department. Implemented correctly, eco-friendly tactics can make your operations more efficient and save you money.

The goals of green IT include minimizing the use of hazardous materials, maximizing energy efficiency, and encouraging recycling and/or use of biodegradable products — without negatively affecting productivity. In this article, we’ll look at 10 ways to implement green IT practices in your organization.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.
#1: Buy energy efficient hardware

New offerings from major hardware vendors include notebooks, workstations, and servers that meet the EPA’s Energy Star guidelines for lower power consumption. Look for systems that have good EPEAT ratings ( The ratings use standards set by the IEEE to measure “environmental performance.” All EPEAT-registered products must meet Energy Star 4.0 criteria.

Multicore processors increase processing output without substantially increasing energy usage. Also look for high efficiency (80%) power supplies, variable speed temperature controlled fans, small form factor hard drives, and low voltage processors.
#2: Use power management technology and best practices

Modern operating systems running on Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI)-enabled systems incorporate power-saving features that allow you to configure monitors and hard disks to power down after a specified period of inactivity. Systems can be set to hibernate when not in use, thus powering down the CPU and RAM as well.

Hardware vendors have their own power management software, which they load on their systems or offer as options. For example, HP’s Power Manager provides real-time reporting that shows how the settings you have configured affect the energy used by the computer.

There are also many third-party power management products that can provide further flexibility and control over computers’ energy consumption. Some programs make it possible to manually reduce the power voltage to the CPU. Others can handle it automatically on systems with Intel SpeedStep or AMD Cool’n'Quiet technologies.

Other technologies, such as Intel’s vPro, allow you to turn computers on and off remotely, thus saving energy because you don’t have to leave systems on if you want, for example, to schedule a patch deployment at 2:00 A.M.
#3: Use virtualization technology to consolidate servers

You can reduce the number of physical servers, and thus the energy consumption, by using virtualization technology to run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server. Because many servers are severely underutilized (in many cases, in use only 10 to 15 percent of the time they’re running), the savings can be dramatic. VMWare claims that its virtualized infrastructure can decrease energy costs by as much as 80 percent.

The same type of benefits can be realized with Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology, which is an integrated operating system feature of Windows Server 2008.
#4: Consolidate storage with SAN/NAS solutions

Just as server consolidation saves energy, so does consolidation of storage using storage area networks and network attached storage solutions. The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) proposes such practices as powering down selected drives, using slower drives where possible, and not overbuilding power/cooling equipment based on peak power requirements shown in label ratings.
#5: Optimize data center design

Data centers are huge consumers of energy, and cooling all the equipment is a big issue. Data center design that incorporates hot aisle and cold aisle layout, coupled cooling (placing cooling systems closer to heat sources), and liquid cooling can tremendously reduce the energy needed to run the data center.

Another way to “green” the data center is to use low-powered blade servers and more energy-efficient uninterruptible power supplies, which can use 70 percent less power than a legacy UPS.

Optimum data center design for saving energy should also take into account the big picture, by considering the use of alternative energy technologies (photovoltaics, evaporative cooling, etc.) and catalytic converters on backup generators, and from the ground up, by minimizing the footprints of the buildings themselves. Energy-monitoring systems provide the information you need to measure efficiency. This Microsoft TechNet article discusses various ways to build a green data center.
#6: Use thin clients to reduce GPU power usage

Another way to reduce the amount of energy consumed by computers is to deploy thin clients. Because most of the processing is done on the server, the thin clients use very little energy. In fact, a typical thin client uses less power while up and running applications than an Energy Star compliant PC uses in sleep mode. Thin clients are also ecologically friendly because they generate less e-waste. There’s no hard drive, less memory, and fewer components to be dealt with at the end of their lifecycles.

Last year, a Verizon spokesman said the company had decreased energy consumption by 30 percent by replacing PCs with thin clients, saving about $1 million per year.
#7: Use more efficient displays

If you have old CRT monitors still in use, replacing them with LCD displays can save up to 70 percent in energy costs. However, not all LCD monitors are created equal when it comes to power consumption. High efficiency LCDs are available from several vendors.

LG recently released what it claims is the world’s most energy efficient LCD monitor, the Flatron W2252TE. Tests have shown that it uses less than half the power of conventional 22-inch monitors.
#8: Recycle systems and supplies

To reduce the load on already overtaxed landfills and to avoid sending hazardous materials to those landfills (where they can leach into the environment and cause harm), old systems and supplies can be reused, repurposed, and/or recycled. You can start by repurposing items within the company; for example, in many cases, when a graphics designer or engineer needs a new high end workstation to run resource-hungry programs, the old computer is perfectly adequate for use by someone doing word processing, spreadsheets, or other less intensive tasks. This hand-me-down method allows two workers to get better systems than they had, while requiring the purchase of only one new machine (thus saving money and avoiding unnecessary e-waste).

Old electronics devices can also be reused by those outside the company. You can donate old computers and other devices still in working order to schools and nonprofit organizations, which can still get a lot of use out of them. Finally, much electronic waste can be recycled, the parts used to make new items. Things like old printer cartridges, old cell phones, and paper can all be recycled. Some computer vendors, such as Dell, have programs to take back computers and peripherals for recycling.
#9: Reduce paper consumption

Another way to save money while reducing your company’s impact on the environment is to reduce your consumption of paper. You can do this by switching from a paper-based to an electronic workflow: creating, editing, viewing, and delivering documents in digital rather than printed form. Send documents as e-mail attachments rather than faxing.

And when printing is unavoidable, you can still reduce waste and save money by setting your printers to use duplex (double-sided) printing. An internal study conducted by HP showed that a Fortune 500 company can save 800 tons of paper per year (a savings of over $7 million) by printing on both sides.
#10: Encourage telecommuting

The ultimate way to have a greener office to have less office. By encouraging as many workers as possible to telecommute, you can reduce the amount of office space that needs to be heated and cooled, the number of computers required on site, and the number of miles driven by employees to get to and from work. Telecommuting reduces costs for both employers and employees and can also reduce the spread of contagious diseases.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Criminal Justice and E-Waste

Canada's Criminal Intelligence Service just released its annual Report on Organized Crime, and the trade in e-waste is listed as a crucial element in the struggle against corporatised malfeasance. You can find the report here: