Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

Basel Action Network, named after an agreement on protecting developing countries from toxic waste, criticized 1-800-Got-junk for failing to promise that their free electronic waste recycling program would avoid shipping toxic waste to developing countries.

The story about the Basel Action Network (BAN) vs. 1-800-Got-Junk is supplemented by the following to give a snapshot of where we stand with “good” and “bad” recycling:

  1. Why and how to recycle your electronics
  2. The recycling program that pays you back heads to Europe
  3. Cell Phone Recycling Giant “Pace Butler” will integrate its efforts with environmental groups
  4. Toxic Waste being Dumped in Italy
  5. How to Recycle Plastic- Advice from the EPA
  6. Eight Ways to Green Your Technology
  7. Toxic E-waste Pouring into the Third World
  8. New Biodegradable Plastics could be Tossed into the Sea
  9. Planetsave | China’s Toxic E-Waste Problem Grows Daily

read more about BAN and e-waste | digg story about BAN and E-waste

© James K. Bashkin, 2008

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As reported by Environmental News Service and noted on DIGG by carbonneutral and rhedhed, the “New York City Council passed legislation Wednesday that makes New York the first major municipality in the nation to tackle the rising tide of discarded electronics in the waste stream. Manufacturers of computers, TVs and MP3 players will have to take responsibility for the collection of their own electronic products.”

This is an important step and will help the city deal with with huge amount of discarded electronics it sees every year while preventing much of the current pollution of landfill sites.  We need to avoid circumstances like those found in China, where illegal electronics recycling is causing far more harm than good.

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Millions of tons of toxic e-waste from around the world are finding their way onto streets and alleyways in Chinese villages as peasants eke out a living reclaiming precious metals from electronic equipment. What isn’t reclaimed goes into unregulated dumping grounds. Reported by AP and others, this is the flip-side of recycling: a good idea, poorly executed, is leaving massive heath problems and environmental problems in China. Frankly, this kind of work needs to be done in moderately or highly sophisticated facilities, not in peoples houses or in unregulated, improperly outfitted facilities. Of course, the same exploitation of Western countries occurred for many years, but we are trying to stop it (and have succeeded in many cases).  China would do well to learn from our more unfortunate tales of industrialization.

Who are we to judge? People whose countries have been there, done that, and seen enough (for the most part).  Of course, the Western world could do much better, too, but the situation reported here is just awful. The resulting health damage and eventual environmental cleanup will costs billions. Doing things properly to start with might require some capital investment, but it is necessary.

© James K. Bashkin, 2007

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Please see the article (click on the title):

Renewed Effort

Big oil companies are joining the search for the next generation of biofuels

By JESSICA RESNICK-AULT of the Wall Street Journal

Ms. Resnick-Ault provides a discussion of the range of biofuel options as viewed by major oil companies and she reports on their choices, which vary widely. The article mentions this blog (thanks!) in its round-up of relevant blogs. The most promising news reported, from my perspective, is the following:

“ConocoPhillips of Houston … has paired with Tyson Foods Inc. to produce renewable diesel at its refinery in Borger, Texas. Renewable diesel shares properties of conventional diesel fuel but is derived from feedstocks such as food waste rather than oil. A second venture …. unites ConocoPhillips with agribusiness giant Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. to research and commercialize … renewable transportation fuels from biomass, or farm waste.”

Hydrogen fuel cells also make an appearance on the scene courtesy of ExxonMobil. Also in the Wall Street Journal, we find the article (click on the title):

What Price Green?

For many Americans, pretty much any price is too high

By ANJALI ATHAVALEY of the Wall Street Journal

The author describes how unwilling Americans are to give up nearly any conveniences in order to help the environment, even when they believe that the environment needs help. Conservation is modest at best these days, even while a Gallup poll shows that pro-environmental political activism is increasing. In a thorough journalistic approach, the article cites surveys from a very broad range of sources to provide the overall picture of declining interest in things like more energy-efficient kitchen appliances, and it is very credible. Unfortunately! Overall, Europeans are found to be much more willing than Americans to make sacrifices for the good of the environment.

I will repeat my mantra that we have to cut back on energy use and other waste in addition to finding alternative energy sources.

America Unplugged is my new trial balloon slogan for conservation.

However, it is important to remember that plastic shopping bags come from petroleum just like gasoline/petrol does. So, bringing a set of cloth bags to the grocery store will help rid us of our dependence on foreign oil. As will recycling plastics.

© James K. Bashkin, 2007
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