Sunday, May 16, 2010


Computer Aid International's CEO Speaks Out Against E-waste In Ghana After BBC Exposé
The image of thousands of electronics products dumped in a remote village in Ghana (BBC Three programme Blood, Sweat and Luxuries: Gold and E-waste, 11th May) highlights the continuing issue of e-waste being illegally exported to the developing world.

Tony Roberts, founder and CEO of Computer Aid International, has voiced his concern about the situation and called on governments and companies to end the toxic trade:

"The limitations of the current legislative framework for e-waste are highlighted by Blood, Sweat and Luxuries. Computer Aid International launched a campaign in September 2008, against e-waste dumping in the developing world, however two years on this issue remains unresolved.

"Fraudulent traders are continuing to operate in the UK and Europe, posing as legitimate reuse and recycling organisations and enticing unwitting 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 reuse.

"Because of these traders, hazardous materials reach the developing world, where many children and marginalised communities face serious health risks while disassembling the equipment.

"Computer Aid International has called upon on the UK government to remove the loop holes in the UK WEEE Directive that allows sham reuse, and is emphasising the importance of taking action, to prevent the UK's hazardous waste being exported to the developing world. As a charity we actively support the Environment Agency in arresting and prosecuting these e-waste cowboys.

"Computer Aid also calls on computer manufacturers that shirk responsibility for their equipment dumped in developing countries, to fund end-of-life recycling in Africa, in exactly the same way that they already do within the EU.

"UK companies can easily ensure that their own PCs do not fall into the hands of unscrupulous traders by taking seven steps. They need to make sure they use a reputable organisation that will guarantee the legal disposal of unwanted goods. It's easy to check companies on the Environment Agency website to make sure they are registered as an Approved Authorised Treatment Facility (AATF) to handle e-waste legally and responsibly.

"Companies should also consider the implications of their decisions on the environment, and ask themselves do we want our data to end up in a dump in Ghana?"

Computer Aid International is a leading non-profit provider of ICT for development, having professionally refurbished over 160,000 PCs for use in schools, hospitals and community projects in more than 100 countries such as Rwanda, Chile and Zambia. The charity focuses its efforts on socially responsible reuse schemes instead of mass recycling or disposal.

Computer Aid International also offers corporate peace of mind through its PC decommissioning service, which guarantees complete data destruction using the Kroll Ontrack data wiping software. Corporate benefactors are also provided with the assurance of compliance with all UK legislation, including the WEEE Directive, Data Protection Act and Environment Act.

To find out more about donating to Computer Aid International, contact the charity directly on 020 8361 5540, email, or visit:

Follow Computer Aid on Twitter: for regular updates on their work.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Kodak's Toxic Moments
Community activists are taking a campaign against the film maker's foul New York facility to the world stage.
May 29, 2003 | Maureen Reynolds, a former neighbor of Eastman Kodak's sprawling Kodak Park facility in Rochester, New York, suffers from more than her share of Kodak moments -- believing that Kodak poisoned her and her neighbors. She wasn't suspicious when her three-year-old son developed asthma. Rushing him to the hospital for adrenaline shots was traumatic, but these things happen. She also wasn't suspicious about the thin layer of ash on her car's windshield. She even noticed ash sometimes on her young son's glasses. Cities have dirty air, however, and a little ash isn't uncommon.

Things started getting strange, however, when Reynolds' herself developed asthma at age forty. During the next ten years she developed cancer, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, arthritis and the autoimmune disease, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) -- a rare disorder that only affects one person in a million.

Reynolds moved out of her Kodak Park neighborhood four years earlier, after living there for 23 years. As Reynolds began to confront the downturn in her health, she noticed that many of her old friends from the neighborhood were suffering similar fates -- plagued by fibromyalgia and a host of other diseases. Curious, Reynolds starting focusing on the rarest disease that she suffered from -- PBC. PBC, which primarily attacks women, is related to Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), which primarily affects men. What she learned was startling. PSC is one of a host of ailments from which Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange suffer. After a little more research she discovered that, like her Kodak Park neighbors, these same veterans also suffer from neuropathy, diabetes, asthma and cancers of the thyroid and pancreas.

#1 in Dioxin

The most potent ingredient in Agent Orange is dioxin -- which is often blamed for health problems suffered by those exposed to the herbicide. Reynolds' former neighbor, Kodak, has been releasing massive amounts of the same toxic substance into the Kodak Park environment. A 1992 trial burn at Kodak's incinerator released more dioxin into the environment than all of New York's other tested hazardous waste incinerators combined. Dioxin is a sore subject in Western New York since it was also found to be responsible for much of the sickness in Niagara Falls' Love Canal neighborhood.

According to the EPA, Kodak released more dioxin into New York's environment in 2000 than any other source. Kodak isn't just number one in dioxin emissions, however. As of 1999, they've also ranked as New York State's leading producer of recognized airborne carcinogens and waterborne developmental toxicants. They've also gained notoriety as New York's number one source for releases of suspected endocrine, gastrointestinal, liver, cardiovascular, kidney, respiratory and reproductive toxicants as well as neurotoxins. Kodak alone released more toxic chemical emissions listed in the federal Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) than all of the 144 major polluters in Erie (Buffalo), Niagara (Niagara Falls) and Monroe (Rochester) counties combined.

During the 13-year period from 1987 to 2000, thanks primarily to Kodak's toxic stew of emissions, Rochester ranked number one in the U.S. for overall releases of carcinogenic chemicals, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG). Kodak alone was responsible for over 90 percent of the 64.4 million pounds of carcinogens released during that period into Rochester's air and water.

Cancer in Kodak Park

The end result of this dumping is a toxic-laden environment poisonous to human life. Hence, it should come as no surprise that according to the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute, the Rochester area is in the top ten percentile for death rates from 13 different types of cancers. The New York State Department of Health found that "women living near Kodak Park had approximately an 80 percent greater [than average] risk of developing pancreatic cancer," which is often fatal. That rate increased to 96 percent among women who lived in the Kodak Park area for at least 20 years, leading the Department of Health to suggest that the longer people live near the Kodak facility, the greater their risk of getting pancreatic cancer becomes.

Children seem especially susceptible to toxins in the Kodak Park area environment. One concerned area mother conducted a door to door survey in the Kodak Park neighborhood, eventually documenting 33 cases of brain cancer in children living within five miles of the Kodak facility. Currently the parents of five of these children are suing Kodak for $75 million, holding the corporation responsible for poisoning their children. The concern about children's health is further exacerbated by the realization that there are 21 schools located within three miles of the sprawling Kodak facility.

Kodak's Public Relations division has been active for generations working to keep community protest at bay. Charlie Roemer, who lives two blocks from the Kodak facility, remembers a time 40 years ago when the company used to placate the community by offering to repaint cars whose finishes were damaged by ash from their smokestacks. Roemer says the "persistent bad smells" that have continuously come from the plant since his family moved into the community 51 years ago are just something people in the Kodak Park community learned to tolerate. He recalls how his neighbors, during particularly bad air days in the 1960s, would chalk the stink up to "Kodak cleaning their stacks." On other days, especially during wind shifts, the stench of Kodak's effluent emissions into the Genesee River would overwhelm the neighborhood. In an effort to demonstrate how safe the stinky water was, the company at one time maintained a small aquarium near its discharge pipes, with fish allegedly swimming in waste water.

Let Them Drink Methylene Chloride

Groundwater studies conducted in and around Kodak Park in the late 1990s show, however, that fluid wastes from the Kodak plant are anything but benign. A 1996 study, for example, found methylene chloride concentrations as high as 3,600,000 parts per billion. The permissible legal level is five parts per billion. In a self-congratulatory Earth Day 2003 press release, Kodak claims to have reduced methylene chloride emissions by 50 percent. They don't mention, however, that the New York State Comptroller's office points out that Kodak "only undertook serious remediation efforts after numerous fines from New York State and the EPA." It's also no accident that the press release doesn't contain data about current emissions. Given Kodak's previous astronomical emissions levels, a 50 percent or even a 99 percent cut still leaves an unacceptable amount of methylene chloride entering the environment. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration classifies methylene chloride as a workplace carcinogen. The Environmental Protection Agency labels it a "probable human carcinogen." For Charlie Roemer, it's the probable cause of the advanced prostate cancer he was diagnosed with three months ago.

Many of Kodak's workers, like the residents in the Kodak Park area, have similar health horror stories. Ramona Miller worked at Kodak for 21 years, including working in a lab during a period when she was breast feeding her newborn baby girl in 1988. Miller blames her work at Kodak, which involved moving toxic samples in and out of drying ovens in what she describes as a "poorly vented environment," with the chronic health problems afflicting both her and her daughter. Her daughter suffers from bi-lateral spasticity, a form of cerebral palsy which Miller believes was induced by toxins accumulating in her breast milk. Miller herself suffers from various nervous system disorders. She continued, however, to work at Kodak while conducting research about the various chemicals she was exposed to while breastfeeding. Eventually she started getting panic attacks when she approached Kodak Park, much as a crime victim would when revisiting the scene where she was victimized. Miller finally left her job a Kodak last year. Kodak hasn't acknowledged any responsibility for Miller's health problems nor those of her daughter.

The hazards of working at Kodak are widely known. A 1987 article in the Journal of Occupational Medicine cites one of Kodak's own studies showing "an elevated number of deaths due to pancreatic cancer in workers exposed at Kodak Park to methylene chloride.

For workers and neighbors who believe they were injured by Kodak's legal and illegal dumping of toxics into the environment, finding lawyers willing to sue the politically powerful Kodak in what is essentially a company town is a difficult proposition.

Crime and Politics

Politics is a game Kodak has learned to play well, contributing funds generously to both Democratic and Republican war chests. In 1994 the EPA fined Kodak approximately $8 million for environmental violations at Kodak Park. The EPA's laundry list of environmental crimes Kodak was guilty of included illegal disposal of hazardous wastes, illegal use of incinerators and waste piles, failure to notify the EPA of groundwater contamination, making undocumented shipments of hazardous wastes, and having a 20 year history of leaky underground pipes, among other violations. In 1995, however, Governor George Pataki's Economic Development Commissioner, Charles Gargano, in a letter to Kodak's former CEO, George Fisher, wrote, "Your leadership at Kodak is an inspiration to those of us trying to reengineer state government and make it more responsive to the needs of our business customers."

Such indifference to the criminal activities of, and tacit support for, the state's largest industrial polluter is shocking. But the letter to Fisher also had another purpose -- that being to announce a $20+ million state aid package composed primarily of tax credits. As the state money and tax abatements poured in during 1996, Fisher's compensation package as CEO soared to over $9 million.

Recidivism in Kodak Park

Despite the generosity of the Pataki administration, Kodak remained the state's number one industrial polluter. Showing no remorse for his company's past criminal activity, in May of 1996 Senior Vice President Richard T. Bourns told the New York State Assembly Subcommittee on Manufacturing, "In 1994 we believed that unjustified environmental regulations were the greatest competitive disadvantage associated with manufacturing in New York. Simply put, regulations that did nothing to help the environment were costing jobs." The upside for Kodak, according to Bourns, was that, "Under Governor Pataki, that is beginning to change." Still, for Kodak, this change wasn't coming fast enough. While complaining about the same state income tax that partially financed the Pataki administration's handouts to Kodak, Bourne warned that "Unless New York makes significant changes to be more competitive, Kodak investment will increasingly go elsewhere."

For environmental and community activists, this is exactly what the problem is at Kodak: Their investment is going elsewhere. Michael Schade, Western New York Director of New York's Citizens' Environmental Coalition (CEC) argues that pollution control efforts at Kodak are not up to date. His organization is demanding that Kodak phase out emissions of extremely toxic chemicals. Kodak, despite modest investments in environmental safeguards made in lieu of fines, has still shown itself to be a serial environmental offender, being found guilty by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation of violations dating from 1993 to 1999, which included dumping wastes into the Genesee River. Thanks in large part to Kodak, that river has the dubious distinction of receiving more toxic wastes than the Hudson River.

While continuing to poison the environment at Kodak Park, the company has attempted to make rhetorical gains in the fight against the perception that it is a polluter. One of Kodak's many Earth Day 2003 pronouncements boasted how the EPA, recently under the command of Bush appointee Christie Whitman, announced that "Eastman Kodak Company is a remarkable example of how organizations can combine environmental concerns with smart business strategy." Both the Whitman EPA and Kodak point to the company's new motion picture film cleaning technology which reduces the use of ozone depleting chemicals. Critics argue that Kodak is making small highly publicized improvements while maintaining a toxic status quo in Kodak Park. In an image-driven world, such a frontal assault against reality can be quite effective, hence environmentalists and public health advocates must be more vigilant than ever in working to expose Kodak's toxic legacy.

Just Say No! to Kodak

Things may be changing soon, however. CEC and a host of other groups located around the world have been turning the heat up on Kodak. On May 7th, Kodak shareholders voted on a resolution that would have forced the company, literally, to clean up its act. Using neighboring Xerox, which saved $300 million over three years by adopting a more environmentally friendly closed-loop production system, shareholder proponents of the resolution argued that in the long run, a clean company exercising respect for the environment would be a more profitable company as well. The resolution won the support of the New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi's office, which manages the state's retirement fund. Hevesi, whose office pointed to Kodak's "long history" of releasing "bioaccumulative pollutants" at Kodak Park, argued that "Adopting and practicing sound environmental policies not only preserves our natural resources, but makes good business sense." Though it was voted down, supporters see the six percent of the vote that it garnered as a success, arguing that such numbers are promising for a first-time shareholder resolution.

Activist organizations also organized the first-ever National Day of Action for Clean Air at Kodak. Protestors from Washington State to Texas, Illinois and New York, picketed drugstores selling Kodak film and related products. In this new Kodak moment, CEC's Schade argued that, "For the health and safety of our communities, we need to raise our voices and expose the true picture of Kodak's pollution. It is critical that we stand up and demand the right to a clean and safe environment for our children." Suddenly, after decades of suffering alone, this is no longer just the Kodak Park community's issue. Activists from diverse nations around the globe such as India, Norway and Malaysia are banding together bring the message to Kodak that the global market will not tolerate what they are doing in Rochester. Given Kodak's international presence and their need to protect their brand image around the world, continued community activism will mean it's only a matter of time before Kodak listens and cleans up its act.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Thanks, Jo!

Chinese workers link sickness to n-hexane and Apple iPhone screens
Staff suffer health decline after supplier's use of toxic chemical to clean western gadgets

Tania Branigan in Suzhou, Friday 7 May 2010 18.50 BST

A lawyer acting for 44 of the poisoning victims said several had named Apple. There is no suggestion the firm was responsible for the use of n-hexane. Photograph: AP

Next month, amid the usual hoopla, Apple is expected to officially unveil its latest gadget: the much-awaited iPhone 4G. But halfway round the globe from the company's California headquarters, a young worker who has spent months in an eastern Chinese hospital wants consumers to look beyond the shiny exterior of such gadgets.

"People should know what we do to create these products and what cost we pay," said Bai Bing as she perched on a bed in her ward.

She is one of scores of young workers in the city of Suzhou who were poisoned by the chemical n-hexane, which they say was used to clean Apple components including iPhone touch screens.

Wu Mei – who, like the others, asked the Guardian to use her nickname – recalled her fear as her health suddenly deteriorated last spring.

At first, she thought she was simply tired from the long working hours at Wintek, a Taiwan-owned electronics giant supplying several well-known brands. She was weaker than before and noticed she could not walk so fast.

"Then it became more and more serious. I found it very hard to go upstairs and if I squatted down I didn't have the strength to get up. Later my hands became numb and I lost my balance – I would fall over if someone touched me," she said.

By summer, she was admitted to hospital, where doctors struggled to diagnose the cause. "I was terrified. I feared I might be paralysed and spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair," she said.

Because she was using n-hexane directly, she was one of the first and worst affected.

But more and more workers from the same room were suffering headaches, dizziness and weakness, and pains in their limbs.

An occupational diseases hospital which saw several victims diagnosed the problem in August and Wintek stopped using the chemical. But thanks to the previous months of exposure, at least 62 workers would require medical care. Many spent months in hospital.

Some believe more employees left Wintek after being taken ill, before they realised what was wrong.

Prolonged over-exposure to n-hexane can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nervous system and ultimately the spinal cord, leading to muscular weakness and atrophy and even paralysis, said Paul Whitehead, a toxicology consultant and member of the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry. It can also affect male fertility. Recovery can take a year or more.

The chemical's potential risks are well-known in industry, as are safe exposure limits. But the Wintek manager who decided to switch from alcohol to n-hexane for cleaning – apparently because it dried more quickly – did not assess the dangers. It was used without proper ventilation.

The change was obvious; workers disliked the pungent smell of n-hexane. But they had no idea it might affect their health. "We hadn't even heard of occupational illnesses before," said Wintek worker Xiao Ling.

"I'm very, very angry," added Wu. "I thought they behaved too badly."

Asked if they knew what products they were working on, three of the affected Wintek employees said team leaders told them they were working for Apple. They instantly recognised pictures of an iPhone and said they were cleaning touch screens, adding that items for other brands were not affected because Apple had isolated its production line. A lawyer acting for 44 of the poisoning victims also said several had named Apple.

Wintek, which does not discuss its clients, said it had replaced the factory's general manager.

It now notifies workers whose jobs may involve risk in advance, has tightened procedures for the introduction of new chemicals, and carries out medical checks. It has paid medical fees for those affected and says it will pay compensation according to the law.

Given that the assessment and appeals process for compensation can take as long as a decade, lawyers hope the firm will pay quickly as well as fairly.

Other patients at the hospital say they too became sick while using n-hexane on Apple products.

Bai Bing said she and her colleagues were cleaning components including Apple logos – the kind that appear at the bottom of desktop screens – when she fell ill.

Her employer, Yunheng, could not be reached, but work safety officials in Suzhou have said eight employees were poisoned there as they carried out work sub-contracted by another firm, Surtec.

A Surtec employee confirmed that it made Apple logos, but a spokesman said it knew nothing about Yunheng or the poisoning.

Wintek has previously faced questions about its treatment of workers, with disputes in Taiwan and at another plant on the mainland. The Suzhou case only grabbed public attention when lingering concern over the poisoning and anger over unpaid bonuses sparked a mass protest.

Wintek blamed a misunderstanding and said bonuses had been paid and the dispute – like the other conflicts – resolved. It added that it had worked to improve communications with workers.

There is no suggestion that Apple was responsible for the use of n-hexane.

Apple declined to answer questions about the poisonings or about the firms involved, saying it does not reveal who it works with, although its spokeswoman added that Wintek had been "quite proactive" in discussing the issue. Instead it pointed to its code of conduct, which sets strict requirements for working and environmental practices, adding that many suppliers say they are the only customer carrying out such checks.

But the 2010 audit shows that manufacturers are routinely breaching the code. The majority – 54% – broke the 60-hour weekly work limit more than half the time. Another 39% failed to meet occupational injury prevention requirements; 17% failed on chemical exposure standards; and 35% did not meet wage and benefits requirements, with 24 of the 102 factories audited paying less than minimum wage for regular hours.

Three facilities used underage workers and three had falsified records. Apple said it terminated the contract in one of the latter cases, and required suppliers to make improvements and submit to reviews following other breaches.

It has also trained more workers about their rights. The firm argues that publishing the audits provides a level of transparency.

But until it identifies its manufacturers, outsiders have no way of assessing how well its policies are working and what action it is taking to deal with problems such as the n-hexane poisoning.

"Apple is the most paranoid about commercial and product secrecy. That's getting in the way of ensuring workers' rights are protected," says Geoff Crothall of China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based organisation campaigning for workers' rights.

The US giant – which last month reported quarterly profits of more than $3bn – could afford to monitor factories with serious issues "day in, day out" if it wished, he added.

"Apple products are not cheap and most Apple customers are willing to pay a premium – so why not add a tiny little bit extra to ensure working and environmental standards are met, as well as product quality?" he asked.

In the meantime, while Wintek says most of the poisoned employees have returned to work, at least some are opting to protect themselves by leaving factory life.

"I want to be as far as possible away from chemicals and the electronics plants," said Bai Bing. "I want some job, safe."

Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Interesting consumer studies from Retrevo (2)

Consumers’ Views on Buying Environmentally-Friendly Electronics Products

How important is being “green” (environmentally friendly) to you when buying consumer electronic products, e.g., buying products that typically use less energy, include the energy saver tag?

Which of the characteristics below do you consider makes an electronics product “green” or environmentally friendly?

Have environmental factors, such as energy efficiency or use of recyclable materials, ever been a determining factor in a consumer electronics purchase for you?

How do you dispose of your old or unused electronics?

View Participant Demographics

Interesting consumer studies from Retrevo (1)

Thu, 02/25/2010 - 03:16 — Wendy
Is There Any Hope For Green Gadgets?
There’s a story about a teacher who asks a class this question; “which is worse, ignorance or apathy?” When called on by the teacher, one student responded, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Would you think this a common attitude about the environment and gadgets? Although this latest Retrevo Pulse study on green gadgets revealed a large group of "not so green" gadget buyers, on the positive side, a significant number of environmentally friendly gadget enthusiasts also stepped forward.

Greenies vs. Meanies
When Retrevo asked consumers if they feel guilty when they don’t buy a green gadget, we were disappointed to learn that nearly 60% of respondents felt no guilt for not buying green gadgets. Among that group 42% indicated they didn’t care if the gadget they bought was green or not while another 16% said price trumped green. On the bright side, nearly 40% said they do consider green when shopping for gadgets, even if they don’t end up buying green.

Do You Trust the TV That Wears the Star?
Do you know what Energy Star ratings mean? Do you trust them? The respondents to this study apparently do, with 80% indicating they trust the ratings. The bad news is we found that only 36% of the next generation of consumers (under 25) use energy ratings to help decide what to buy compared to 55% of those over 25.

Does Anyone Even Know How to Be Green With Gadgets?
Retrevo offered several answers to the question about knowing how to be green with gadgets. More than 60% claimed they knew how to be green however, more than half of those saying they knew, said they didn’t always put that knowledge into practice. The good news is that apathy and ignorance over green gadgets prevailed in only 18% of the respondents while over 20% said they were interested in learning how to be green.

What Would it Take to Make Consumers Turn Green?
The most popular responses to the question, “what would make you be more ‘green’ with gadgets?” involved tax or cash incentives (50%) along with making it easier to recycle gadgets (50%). Cash for clunker gadgets like old CRT TVs or rebates on new energy efficient LCD TVs could help save consumers money and would save energy too.

Different Shades of Green
The results of this study offer a mixture of good and bad news for gadgets and the environment. We were encouraged by the number of consumers who feel they know how to be green with gadgets, know what the energy ratings mean and apply this knowledge when shopping for gadgets. We were also glad to see a large group of consumers eager to learn more about how to be green with gadgets. Unfortunately, from the glass half empty side of the study we see lots of apathy and ignorance when it comes to being green with gadgets but lots of opportunity to educate and motivate consumers.

Bottom Line
It's clear that many consumers get the message about being green with gadgets however in order to get them to put their "green" into action the industry and the government needs to step up and make it easier and worth the effort.

About the Report
The Retrevo Gadgetology Report is an ongoing study of people and electronics from the consumer electronics shopping and review site

The data for this report came from a study of online individuals conducted in February 2010 by an independent panel. The sample size was just over 1,000 distributed across gender, age, income and location in the United States. Most responses have a confidence interval of 4% at a 95% confidence level.

For more information contact:
Jennifer Jacobson
Director of Public Relations
press "at"

new body

New Clearinghouse to Encourage Cooperation among State Electronics Recycling Programs

Las Vegas, Nev. – January 7, 2010 – Today at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show, two leading non-profit organizations in advancing recycling efforts across the country announced the formation of the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC). The ERCC will serve as a forum for coordination and information exchange among state and local agencies that are implementing electronics recycling take-back laws. While the laws vary in their structure and impact, there are many basic areas of overlap that can be implemented in a consistent manner. The ERCC, which will be administered by the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC) and managed by the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER), will serve to identify and coordinate joint approaches to those common challenges.

“Despite the patchwork of state requirements on electronics recycling, the ERCC will play a valuable role in reducing administrative overlap and simplifying compliance efforts for manufacturers and other impacted stakeholders,” said NCER Executive Director Jason Linnell. The ERCC is not starting from scratch in creating a multi-state cooperation forum. The governance, dues structure, and basic activities are modeled on the successful organization currently managed by NERC known as the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH). “TPCH has demonstrated over the years that providing this type of coordination can provide benefits to and reduce costs for state governments and the regulated community in addition to providing consistency to the impacted industry, and we are excited to extend this model to electronics recycling programs,” said NERC Executive Director Lynn Rubinstein.

The ERCC is divided into two basic types of membership. The first are the voting members, who are states and local governments that are implementing electronics recycling laws. The ERCC also includes an affiliate, non-voting membership consisting of industry and other organizations. The ERCC provides affiliate members a forum to efficiently and effectively meet with state regulators to discuss the various aspects of their legislation, and a single resource destination for important information needed to make timely decisions that affect issues in multiple states.

NCER will host a press event on Thursday, January 7th at noon Pacific standard time in room S221 of the Las Vegas Convention Center to announce the ERCC and recognize the Founding Members. The ERCC will kick off key projects in the coming months to collect and maintain updated data on collection volumes, manufacturer contact information, and return share. Additionally, Member States will be able to pursue projects such as combining manufacturer registration forms and joint access to needed market research data. More information and news will be posted to the ERCC website located at


About the National Center for Electronics Recycling (NCER): The NCER is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization based in Parkersburg, West Virginia that is dedicated to the development and enhancement of a national infrastructure for the recycling of used electronics in the U.S. For more information about the NCER, visit its website at

About the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC): NERC's mission is to advance an environmentally sustainable economy by promoting source and toxicity reduction, recycling, and the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services. For more information on NERC or any of their projects visit its website at

National Center for Electronic Recycling offers..

Per Capita Collection Index (PCCI)

The NCER has a created an electronics recycling index, known as the Per Capita Collection Index (PCCI) designed to measure changes in the amount of used electronic equipment, such as computers, televisions and monitors collected in representative programs across the United States.

Index formula:

IPC = [P1+P2+P3+P4+P5+P6]

P1 through P6 are the pounds per capita values of the six collection programs noted below. The index is stated as pounds collected per capita and will be re-calcuated each year. Although the numeric value of the index is noteworthy, the percentage increase from year to year is more indicative of changes in collection volumes.

The index is comprised of comprehensive collection programs collecting larger used consumer electronics such as televisions, monitors and computers.
The index value is rounded to one decimal place.
Per capita values are not adjusted to account variations of products across different collection programs.
The index is based on reported collection amounts from six programs:
State-wide programs in California, Maine and Delaware
A large municipal collection program (Hennepin County)
Two smaller municipal collection programs (Branford, CT and Frederick County, VA)
The per capita collection rate for each of these jurisdictions is averaged on an unweighted basis to calculate the national NCER Per Capita Collection Index. Specific calculations are included in the table below.

Program collection total population of area served LBs Per Capita 2009 LBs Per Capita 2008 LBs Per Capita 2007 LBs Per Capita 2006
California 162,004,676 36,961,664 4.4 5.9 5.0 3.5
Maine 7,912,292 1,318,301 6.0 4.0 3.5 3.0
Delaware 3,999,184 885,122 4.5 4.1 3.7 3.3
Hennepin County 5,735,624 1,156,212 5.0 4.7 4.8 4.0
Brandford, CT 152,009 28,969 5.2 5.0 4.4 4.8
Frederick County, VA 512,872 115,882 4.4 3.6 3.8 3.5
180,316,657 40,466,150 4.9 4.5 4.2 3.7

The NCER 2009 Collection Index increased 8% over 2008

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Slow Surf has good tips on reducing your e-output

join this facebook group--against facebook!

and gp's account:

Facebook update: Renewable energy now
19 February 2010 shouldn't run on coal. Enlarge Image
International — Facebook recently announced it will build a massive data centre in Oregon, U.S., packed full of the latest energy efficient computers to serve the hundreds of millions of friends connecting on their near-addictive social networking website. But the company plans to run the place on electricity made by burning coal--Yes, the dirtiest source of energy and largest single source of global warming pollution in the world.

Greening Facebook from within
Facebook should be run on 100 percent renewable energy. That clear demand started spreading on the social network website this week, and will grow until the company announces a decision to really go green. The new data centre won't be ready until 2011, and people power has moved the company before.

Take action on Facebook
Share this article on Facebook
Try Google Buzz to share
Blog: How Facebook (and other IT companies) can help kick coal off your computer
Spanish: Queremos que Facebook utilice 100% energía renovable
When Facebook members have spoken strongly in the past on privacy and other changes that impact their profile pages, the company has been forced to change its policies.

In addition to keeping coal from powering your profile page, big electricity consumers like Facebook can also play an important role by using its influence to demand policies that dramatically increase the supply of renewable electricity being put on the grid, so we can all use renewable energy--and not coal--to power the internet.

Facebook's relationship to coal: "It's not complicated"
PacifiCorp is the power company which Facebook chose to supply their new US$ 180 million data centre in Prineville, Oregon. According to PacifiCorp's website, over 83 percent of the utility's generation capabilities come from coal, geothermal, and natural gas resources

Meanwhile Facebook says that the new building and all the technology within it will be state of the art, energy efficient stuff. Saving energy makes good business sense, and it's good for the environment too. But data centres still consume massive amounts of energy to run computers, backup power, and related cooling equipment. If Facebook's data centre runs on fossil fuels, then it's contributing to climate change.

Dump coal, support the energy revolution
Facebook should commit to stop using coal and choose renewable power for all its servers as soon as possible. What's more, to be a climate leader Facebook should also push for strong clean energy and climate policies in the U.S. and globally.

Which side are you on?
Data centres are heavy users of electricity. It's been a while since Facebook was run on a small computer in a Harvard University dorm. As the popularity of continues to grow, so too will Facebook's need for more data centres.

Join our groups:

English: We want facebook to use 100% renewable energy
Spanish: Queremos que Facebook utilice 100% energía renovable
Companies who run their data centres on energy from burning coal are supporting the biggest source of man made CO2 emissions in the world. Our activists will continue to protest against coal-fired power plants. But getting companies like Facebook to switch to renewables is necessary for the energy revolution too -- reducing demand for coal, and investing in a green future instead.


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Home > Can IT ever be green?
Can IT ever be green?

By admin
Created 17/04/2010 - 12:52
Ipad, I phone, Google, facebook, small and smart they may be but behind these devices lie huge energy hungry data centers. This week ENVIRONMENT looks at Green IT.

2010-04-17 11:40-WB EN ENVIRONMENT
They may be virtual but websites have a very real carbon footprint: their files are stored on servers and these banks of servers, need a lot of power. The world's data centres are said to produce the same level of CO2 as the Netherlands and Argentina put together.

Every time you turn on your computer, make a search in Google, or update your facebook status you’re burning CO2 as the information you send and receive whizzes round the world and add to the carbon cloud.

In an old school data centre, a high density of machines means a lot of heat is produced. The information warehouse needs constant cooling and so energy guzzling air conditioning needs to be on all the time. Some companies are now looking for ways of reducing their energy needs for economic as well as environmental reasons.

German host 1&1 stores 30 000 servers underground at its premises in Karlsruhe. The servers are powered by generators with less then 20% thermal loss and the computer hardware is chosen according to its energy efficiency. What’s more, the buildings cooling system uses the air outside to help get temperatures down.

“For ten years now we have been doing our utmost to build energy efficient databases. When we started, the term green technologies did not exist.
We did it for financial reasons and because by doing so, we behave in a responsible manner through investing in alternative energies,” notes Mathias Loacher, head of infrastructure at 1&1 European data centres.

Since 2007, the company supplies all of its data centres and offices with electricity produced from renewable energies. This has allowed it to reduce its CO2 output by 30,000 tonnes per year, and to describe itself as the first green host.

A plus for the companies Green credentials but also for its budget. Energy costs represent over 50% of a company’s budget.

Today, data centres represent already 3% of worldwide energy consumption, a figure that is on the increase. Every PC and internet search adds to the problem as the information retrieved from the internet is stored on serves, in a virtual world known as ‘cloud computing’.

This ‘cloud computing’ is the target of Greenpeace’s latest environmental campaign.
Facebook in particular has been served notice. The leading social network site has millions of members, most of who visit daily. Facebook is currently building its first data processing center in Prineville in the U.S, which is to be powered by a coal plant but it says that it is just using the main energy supply of the area.

But the main website in the crosshairs of the environmentalists is search-giant Google. Each year, Google deals with billions of requests to its site, requiring thousands of servers worldwide.

Surfing the web causes pollution but there are ways of limiting CO2 emissions while surfing the net. A website called proposes a list of tips to do just that.

Finally ENVIRONMENT looks at one mobile telephone that uses 100% renewable energy.
Recharging the phone couldn’t be easier; the owner just places it in the sunlight. Even if it's cloudy you’re assured a quarter of an hour of conversation.

The telephone is proving very popular in Kenya where electricity remains rare. Solar telephones are selling like hot cakes. But not everyone is happy about it. In the slums of Kibera, David Moukaka makes a living by offering to recharge mobile phones. Its 20 centimes a charge and he gets around half a dozen customers a day. Unfortunately for David, the electricity cuts are increasing and so more and more people are turning to solar power.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Uganda Flooded With E-Waste ‘Clones’ EARTH911.COM
by Lori Brown
Published on April 30th, 2010
No Comments

According to a UN report, 27,000 computers were imported into Uganda in 2007. Of these units, only 4,000 were used computers. The vast majority of the rest were clones. Photo: Flickr/
For the people of Uganda, living on $2 a day is a reality. Purchasing a new computer probably doesn’t fit in to that reality. In fact, there are a mere 10 installed computers per 1,000 people in Uganda.

Knowing that, charities have popped up right and left to send donated computers to Africa. These tend to be the computers donated out of genuine good will by an individual trying to “help somebody in Africa.”

But countless other computers are sent overseas to Africa each year, either by companies looking to adopt the out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality to their e-waste problem (albeit a violation of the Basel Action Network) or by “cloned” computer manufacturers looking to sell PC’s assembled from non-major brand parts at discounted prices.

Regardless of how the computers get there, parts of Africa have turned into a literal e-waste dumping grounds, where there is little or no means of properly treating and disposing of their hazardous components.

Omaha-based nonprofit, Computers for Africa (CFA), provides refurbished computers and labs; as well as hardware, maintenance and repair lessons; to students in rural Uganda. The organization receives computer donations from local businesses, then works with high school and college students to upload new software, clean, test and configure them to excellent working condition.

The computers aren’t merely shipped overseas. They are shipped to the local CFA coordinator who has carefully vetted the applicants for factors including administrative leadership, sources of affordable energy and overall planning for the computer program. This commitment ensures the computers don’t become tech-trash a year after they are sent over.

Teachers from the recipient schools attend a two-week course in computer maintenance and repair and attend periodic workshops to keep skills up to date.

The organization hopes the adoption of quality refurbished technology will help control the influx of cloned computers as “dead clones are accumulating all over the country with little public outcry,” Herbert Busiku, Director of Ugandan Operations for CFA, told The Huffington Post.

A May 2008 report from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) put the number of computers imported into Uganda in 2007 at 27,000 units. Of these units, only 4,000 were used computers. The vast majority of the rest were clones.