Mar 2, 2009 | 5
The urge to buy the latest gadget and to reform environmental misbehavior may be the twin pillars of 21st century American youth culture, but can the two ever be reconciled? Apple, Dell, Intel, Nokia and others—companies with an array of "green" initiatives and (more) environmentally friendly products—sure hope so. But wind power kite scientist and serial inventor Saul Griffith is skeptical, according to his keynote address at the Greener Gadgets conference in New York City this past Friday.
Griffith, the intellectual force behind wattzon.com ( where you can calculate the energy use of your lifestyle), has another term for the gadget-obsessed, himself included: "planet f&*kers." A detailed analysis of the energy required to produce everything from his daily glass of wine to his iPhone revealed that Griffiths requires some 25,000 watts of energy every day, or nearly twice that of the average American (who is already consuming at least six times as much as the average person in China and more than 20 times as much as the average Indian citizen).
Dec 8, 2008 | 10
Oh, the irony.
Right at a time when it appears that Americans are boarding the green-living express en masse, the market for recyclables has plunged – the latest victim of the recession, according to today’s New York Times.
Contractors can’t find buyers for reusable paper and cardboard, which have accumulated by the ton and may wind up in landfills if recyclers can’t afford to put them in warehouses for the long term, the newspaper says. Those materials typically find second lives as boxes, auto parts and book covers, but as demand for electronics, cars, shoes and other items has slowed along with the economy, the recyclables are less needed for packaging.
Sep 23, 2008 | 4
Just days after congressional investigators slammed companies for shipping e-waste overseas (and the feds for failing to crack down on them), a major U.S. recycler today vowed to stop the practice. Waste Management, based in Houston, today announced that it would not send hazardous electronic garbage to developing countries for recycling.
E-waste includes the remains of computers and other electronic devices, which often contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury. U.S. consumers and companies toss about two million tons (four billion pounds) of e-waste annually, according to the EPA. Some of this rubbish is then shipped to developing countries, where workers, many without proper protection, are exposed to dangerous chemicals while stripping out valuable metals such as copper.
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