HP Expands Recycling Push in China

| Thursday January 3rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

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IT industry leaders are increasingly finding that going “green” is good business. In addition to increasing the energy efficiency of its operations and making use of more economically viable renewable power sources, companies such as HP are expanding their recycling programs.
HP operates recycling centers in more than 45 countries. In 2006, it recovered 187 million pounds of electronics globally, 73% more than IBM, its closest competitor, effectively closing the electronic product lifecycle loop. Having reached the 1 billion pound recycling mark in 2004 the company plans to double its recovery rate and hit a cumulative 2 billion pound target by year-end 2010.
Looking to do its part in rapidly industrializing China, HP in September announced that it would extend its recycling program beyond corporate customers to include consumers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). “HP has established a network of 30-plus drop-off points nationwide where consumer/SMB customers can elect to return HP (hardware) products,” Jean-Claude Vanderstraeten, president, environment for HP Asia Pacific told Triple Pundit. “HP collects the returned products from the drop-off centers and recycles them. The program was launched last September and is being expanded.”

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Can Treasure Island Live Up to Plans to Make It the “Super-Green City of the Future”?

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday January 3rd, 2008 | 2 Comments

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San Francisco planners have decided to make Treasure Island a model of urban sustainability. For those of you unfamiliar with Treasure Island, it is an entirely man-made 400-acre property in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Originally built in 1939 from sea bottom, quarried rock, and loam, it is currently home to an abandoned naval base and a small number of low- and middle income residents. The new Treasure Island, however, is set to become a hotbed for eco-living. Check out the Treasure Island interactive city map that shows just what planners intend to do.
Although Triple P author Lexington Blood wrote about this project last month, I am wondering whether, in fact, the plans can really become a reality.

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The Long Tail Does Not Apply to Dead Trees

| Thursday January 3rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

deadtree.jpegThe Long Tail is one of the most interesting business concepts to come out of recent years – stating that in many markets there is more to gain from selling “less of more”. But that’s got nothing to do with this post. Chris Anderson, the concept’s originator, has an otherwise brilliant blog which seems to have woefully blundered last week. Chris proposes that the print magazine business is less carbon intensive than publishing online. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to suspect there’s no way this could be true, but there are indeed enough variables to keep a calculator busy for a while if you really wanted to do a comparison. And I won’t belabor it here – take a look at his post to see the depth, or lack therof, that was considered, then look at the comments.
Everyone makes some bad assumptions from time to time, but the universal de-bunking in the comments makes me really happy. Many people in business use less-than thorough thinking to make decisions about their environmental footprint (among other things). If one of the leading thinkers around can do this, imagine how common it is.

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ShipGreen Offers Retailers a Web-Based Program to Offset Carbon Emissions from Shipping

| Wednesday January 2nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

ShipGreen allows retailers an easily integratable carbon offset programThrough the pioneering work of Dr. Cristiano Facanha of ICF International and Dr. Arpad Horvath of the University of California at Berkeley, ShipGreen.net now offers a web-based program that integrates with retailers’ online shopping carts, enabling consumers to easily – and accurately – offset the carbon produced from product life-cycle shipping emissions.

Facanha and Horvath’s combined experience in life-cycle assessment, supply chain, and freight transportation has allowed the pair to develop the most accurate algorithm yet possible in determining the carbon footprint of products from manufacture to delivery at the consumer’s door.

The program easily integrates with a retailer’s shopping cart, giving the customer the option to offset the carbon produced in shipping their purchases. Due to the accuracy of the algorithm developed by Facanha and Horvath, the average cost of an offset is only .29 to .49 cents. The modest cost may help bring some of the “almost greens” into the “bright green” category I spoke of in a previous post.

The offset programs funded through the program are verified in accordance with Kyoto Protocol requirements and, according to ShipGreen, to The Gold Standard (f)or the Climate, Community & Biodiviersity Alliance, taking into account cultural, environmental, social and economic issues”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Got An Idea for a Green Gadget?

Shannon Arvizu | Wednesday January 2nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

Humans are tool-makers. This, according to many in the sustainable business field, is our greatest asset for building an innovative and sustainable society.
While most of us read and write about the latest green inventions on the Triple P site, here is a unique opportunity to propose your own idea for a green gadget. A new design contest for the development of green electronics is now open as part of the Greener Gadget Conference in New York City, scheduled for February 1, 2008.

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Global Warming, What Global Warming?

| Tuesday January 1st, 2008 | 6 Comments

ppp023-main_walrus_portrait.jpg It’s easy to forget that many of what scientists and many laypersons now take as scientific givens – a heliocentric solar system, plate tectonics, evolution – initially faced fierce and strident opposition that persisted over decades if not centuries – and to this day remain outside the world view of large numbers of people. Such is the case when it comes to global warming and climate change, which has taken several decades – and sharp spikes in fossil fuels and commodities– to win the minds and hearts of what James Lovelock terms “scientific middle management” as well as a broader public.
That’s certainly not to say that there is unanimity in the scientific community or the broad population – as can be seen in some reader comments– when it comes to acknowledging that we are on the brink, or perhaps in the early stages of a global warming period and that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is the primary accelerant. And it remains very much in doubt as to whether or not governments, industry, NGOs, local communities and individuals can respond as widely or as urgently as may be necessary to even at least ameliorate the adverse effects.

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Solatubes: Power-free lighting solution

| Monday December 31st, 2007 | 0 Comments

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If you’re looking for an innovative and highly energy efficient daylighting system, Solatube may be the answer. These sunlight tubes combine art and science to provide beautiful and functional daylighting. This technology has actually been tauted as one of the most technologically advanced daylighting products available today. The combination of creative component integration along with a sleek design provides an abundance of pure, clean and natural light for any interior space.

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AskPablo: About Plastic Recycling

| Monday December 31st, 2007 | 47 Comments

50px-U%2B2673_DejaVu_Sans.svg.pngThis week I got the following question from Barb:

My community as well as all other surrounding cities here in Ohio only accept plastic with a #1 or #2 to recycle. Why can’t the other numbers be recycled? Is there any effort among businesses to use the most oft recycled plastics (i.e. only use #1-4) or an effort in the “green” community to encourage the use of a select type of plastic so that eventually it’s economically feasible for recycling centers to recycle all plastic containers?

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Taking on the E-Waste Problem

| Sunday December 30th, 2007 | 6 Comments

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Ongoing growth in volumes and disposal rates of electronic waste and scrap pose consumers, governments and industry with a growing threat to environmental health and safety. In its 2002 report “Exporting Harm,” the Seattle arm of the Basel Action Network revealed that about 80 percent of electronic waste brought to recyclers in the US is in fact not recycled here but exported to Asia, most likely China, where “it is melted down in primitive, environmentally damaging conditions including the cooking and melting of computer circuit boards in vast quantity.”
Five years on, governments, international organizations and IT industry leaders are now coming together to address what is a complex and intricate problem. In March, United Nations University, United Nations Environment Program, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and a host of government agencies and leading electronics industry participants established the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) program, a global private-public sector cooperative that aims to “help shape government policies worldwide and address issues related to redesign and product life expectancy, reuse and recycling, and help build relevant capacity in developing nations.”
Consumers need to get on board. We are throwing away electronics at unprecedented rates. The US EPA estimates that only 12.5%, or 330,000 pounds, of the 2.63 million tons of e-waste disposed of in the US in 2005 was recovered for recycling. The other 87.5% wound up in landfills or was incinerated, posing environmental and human health risks as well as wasting a lot of increasingly costly, potentially recoverable metals and other materials.

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Hypercar: The car that pays you to drive it

| Saturday December 29th, 2007 | 4 Comments

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The car of the future is not only going to come standard with a hybrid powered engine; rather, the whole concept of a car from the ground up will be an entirely redeveloped mobility machine. A fine example is the Hypercar, a vehicle designed in reverse; featuring ultra light construction, hybrid-electric drive, low-drag design and efficient accessories to accomplish a 3 to 5-fold improvement on fuel efficiency. The major highlight? It can actually pay you to drive the car, imagine receiving a check at the end of each month just for driving a smart vehicle. The performance is poised to match current automobiles through comparable saftety, amenities and affordability.
The Rocky Mountain Institute is the creative “green” engineering think tank behind this promising concept. The model was developed by looking at today’s vehicles and re-thinking virtually every aspect. Through aerodynamics, advanced composites to achieve light weight coupled with strength and a power train that is more effective than any before, they just might have found the answer to gas-guzzling, air-polluting autos.

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Biodegradable Caskets: Composting your relatives?

| Friday December 28th, 2007 | 9 Comments

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Green goes under ground, six feet under and currently being spear-headed in Oregon by and environmentally-friendly funeral products dealer by the name of Cynthia Beal. She is the founder of The Natural Burial Co. in Portland, Oregon, the healthy way to recycle yourself and your casket upon taking the inevitable dirt nap. Cynthia herself wishes to become an Oregon cherry tree when she dies, and she has found a way to make that happen — her body, a burial, and her own biodegradable coffin.
These biodegradable coffins are the focal point of an eerie and surprising green business; perhaps Beal described it properly when she said “it is composting at its best.” Her shop officially opens in January, and kissing the storefront window is a United Kingdom sourced Ecopod, a biodegradable coffin constructed out of recycled newspapers. These kayak-shaped coffins are the focal point of the up and coming “natural burials,” which are formaldehyde-free, and buck the usual cement vaults, laminated caskets or chemical lawn treatments. The result, burials that are not harmful to the environment.

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Alex Steffen: Inspired Ideas for a Sustainable Future

| Friday December 28th, 2007 | 0 Comments

Alex Steffen is the co-founder and executive editor of WorldChanging.com. I found this video on Hugg.ca (another blog to which I have the privilege of contributing ) with Alex speaking at the TED conference in Monterey (click here for a list of other great speakers on a host of topics).
I think you’ll find Alex’s talk worthwhile.

Alex Steffen: Inspired ideas for a sustainable future on Video.ca

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Builder reduces its carbon footprint: Pays Off

| Wednesday December 26th, 2007 | 2 Comments

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So how would a builder profit in the current rough and tumble real estate market? Build a high quality home using green practices without cutting any corners that’s how. David Hall of Deltec Homes has successfully led his company along this path and the profits continue to grow even in these hard times for builders and developers alike. The difference with Deltec is that it is improving upon its green ideas and building practices from within.
Deltec is implementing its green ideas in its own plant, promising to be operating on 100% renewable energy resources by the first of the upcoming New Year. Not only is this a milestone for the company, it is for the state of North Carolina as well. Deltec will officially become the largest private generator of solar power in the entire state with this move.

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Bright Green Consumers and the Scourge of Greenwashing

| Wednesday December 26th, 2007 | 4 Comments

Green gadget hounds on the riseA couple of news items I’ve come across lately regarding green consumers and the marketers that market to them:

First is a recent Forrestor Research study entitled “In Search of Green Technology Consumers” that find an increase in consumers the profess an active concern for the environment and a willingness to spend extra for green products from an environmentally conscious company. According to the research, 12% of Americans (25 million people) fall into this “bright green” category. That leaves 90 million (41%) that are concerned about the environmental, but not enough – at least yet – to spend extra for green products.

The remaining 47% don’t care or “believe in” environmental issues. Wal-Mart, shipped from China encased in lead – doesn’t matter. Cheaper is always better. It must be hard to breath with your head stuck in the sand all the time…

But I digress.

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Holiday Reading: Gaia’s Revenge and Lovelock on Nuclear Power

| Wednesday December 26th, 2007 | 4 Comments

ppp21gaiasrevengecover.jpg I come a little late to the party, so to speak, but I recently picked up and am now a little more than halfway through James Lovelock’s The Revenge of Gaia, the fourth in his series of books developing the Gaia Hypothesis, now Theory, he and a small group of collaborators first put forth widely back in 1972.
Lovelock and colleagues’ work to develop the Gaia Theory and earth systems science has proven to be seminal in several ways, and hence I figure these books must have a place on any required reading list to do with climate change, energy and natural resources development and management, as well as providing well worthwhile insight and inside commentary on the state of scientific research and the how scientific community works today.
The idea of Gaia – consisting of the biosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere– as being a “living” entity in terms of its natural ability to organize and regulate our world’s chemical, physical and biological activities, inputs and outputs so as to make the planet amenable to life has proven to be an iconic and elementally attractive way of viewing the planet for large numbers of lay persons as well as scientists–one that harkens back to our ancestral concepts of Nature as a mother goddess.

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