November 15th, 2010
If you are involved in Green Technology you may be interested that the USPTO has recently announced that a Green Technology Pilot Program which allows for expedited processing of patent applications related to green technology is being extended through December 31, 2011 due to the programs success.
No Comments »
October 13th, 2010
In an earlier comment on the vast numbers of computers, cellphones and digital products being discarded, the statistic that only 15-20% of them are recycled was somewhat alarming.
This rather low level of recycling is borne out by a recent study by Retrevo.
Despite the fact that at least 20 states have an electronics recycling law and some others have voluntary recycling projects, more than 60% of people surveyed do not incorporate their electronic gadgets and devices into their recycling practices:
- Only 39% of people claim to recycle all of their old electronic gadgets
- 17% don’t know how to recycle their old gadgets
- 7% didn’t care to know how to recycle their old gadgets
- 26% didn’t get around to it
- 11% said e-cycling wasn’t available where they lived
Some major retailers, such as RadioShack, Costco and Sam’s Club, offer trade-ins; there is a ray of hope that this incentive will remind consumers to e-cycle. Best Buy will accept items in its stores and will pick up old TVs when delivering a new television set. gift card for immediate use;
Furthermore, if manufacturers joined HP and Gateway in promoting e-cycling, more buyers might earn rebates that would be applied to their new model.
As consumers approach the holiday shopping season, it’s time for manufacturers and retailers to do their part to help reduce ewaste by actively promoting e-cycling as good for consumers and good for the planet.
The responsible disposal of electronic gadgets and devices raises concerns because many components are not biodegradable and will seep into the ground and perhaps groundwater sources. Newer models may be equipped with environmentally friendly parts, such as an eco-friendly fire safety solution, so discarding them will have a lesser impact on the landfill over time.
3 Comments »
August 19th, 2010
EPA to Take Action on Chemicals Used in Dyes, Flame Retardants, and Industrial Detergents Efforts to limit exposure and reduce harm to people
Release date: 08/18/2010
WASHINGTON – As part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s commitment to strengthen and reform chemical management, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released action plans today to address the potential health risks of benzidine dyes, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and nonylphenol (NP)/nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). The chemicals are widely used in both consumer and industrial applications, including dyes, flame retardants, and industrial laundry detergents. The plans identify a range of actions the agency is considering under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Read full release
The Earthwise Fire Safety blog commends the EPA for their continued efforts to make our planet a safe environment for all living things. These efforts align with the chemical industry’s commitment to sustainability in products and to consumer safety. Today, the chemical industry spends millions of dollars on green chemistry R&D to create and introduce new eco-friendly solutions for many business sectors.
For example, the flame retardants that are critical ingredients in many consumer electronic products, as well as the interiors of automobiles and airplanes, save lives and protect property from fires. These flame retardants are now available as eco-friendly alternatives to products from the past. Trial testing by industry leader Albemarle and its Earthwise brand are currently underway and many of these new green alternatives will be introduced to the market later this year.
High-efficiency polystyrene insulation is very important to everyone’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and global warming, but this insulation requires highly effective flame retardants to maintain fire safety. The chemical industry has been working to develop a new generation of flame retardants that does not present the same concerns as HBCD. The new products are based on polymers (like a plastic) with larger molecules, which impede their absorption by humans, animals and plants.
2 Comments »
August 4th, 2010
(Seen in WSJ August 4, 2010) Americans are spending more on electronics like iPads and flat-screen televisions and less on durable goods like furniture, washing machines and lawn mowers, according to government data released Tuesday.
Consumers are spending on electronics over durable goods like furniture. Above, shoppers for televisions at Costco in Mountain View, Calif.
The shift reflects a change in priorities for American consumers. After pouring money into all aspects of their homes during the previous decade, consumers are redirecting their purchases to eye-grabbing technology and socking away more of what’s left over into savings. Apparel company executives are worried the lure of electronics will eat into their sales as the back-to-school season gets under way.
Outlays for televisions, computers, video and telephone equipment grew 1.8% in the first six months of this year, compared to the first half of pre-recession 2007, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. By comparison, spending on appliances decreased 3.6% during the same period, and spending on furniture decreased 11% during that time. Full story
As electronics increase in households so does the need for fire safety.
The debate continues on best solutions. OEMs weigh in on subject of what is green?
New green generation of flame retardants studied. Earthwise’s GreenArmor discussed at conference.
1 Comment »
August 2nd, 2010
One of many topics discussed at China RoHS annual conference receiving support and interest in further talks from OEMs and MIIT 5 Institute’s Luo Daojun
A hot topic at the conference opened up many new discussions on the applications of flame retardants in E&E products. Noted by several industry experts, presentations detailed the misperceptions and facts about the relationship between Flame retardants and the environment concerning water, toxic gas and dioxin.
Regarding non-halogen, speakers emphasized that it is simply a marketing term used by many companies intending to brand themselves “green” and “caring for consumers,” though, in fact, “non-halogen” does not necessarily mean “less hazard to people and environment.” As with any chemical, the eco-friendliness of any specific fire safety chemical must be determined on a case-by-case basis. No broad category (halogen, non-halogen, mineral…) can be said to be “more green” than another. Small changes in molecular structure can have substantial impact on the persistence, toxicity and bio-availability of any chemical technology.
The point was echoed by the MIIT 5th Institute in its presentation. The presentations generated enormous discussions among the audience. Many OEMs agreed that non-halogen should not be misused as green label. Some said that the discussions could be a good starting point to rethink the non-halogen trend and find a sustainable way that will benefit all rather than being bound by the unreasonable term.
Luo Daojun from MIIT 5th Institute stood by the presenters on this issue saying that these years of work are rewarding, especially with a reputable partner with quasi-governmental background. Luo Daojun is a director of the 5th Institute and is a key drafter of China RoHS.
Regarding China RoHS, the standard is now being reviewed and will cover more categories in addition to IT products. It is likely that the future will be on par with the EU RoHS.
The RoHS catalogue will not cover new products in near future. The MIIT seeks to “test the water” by introducing a voluntary certification system regarding hazardous substances detection before China Compulsory Certification (CCC) is applied. It caused much debate because many members think they are not involved in the policy making process while are only notified after the decision was made. Current situation shows again that China RoHS will be very different from EU RoHS in procedures and working model.
2 Comments »
July 12th, 2010
Flame retardant expert Susan D. Landry reveals how green chemistry advancements will progress
Landry works with Earthwise™, a division of Albemarle, which will release an environmentally preferred flame retardant, GreenArmor™, later this year. Creating an industry with minimized environmental impact begins with the research and development of eco-friendly, non-bioaccumulative compounds, like GreenArmor, but involves players at every level of production and implementation.
Landry highlights three things necessary for increased sustainability:
- Mandatory regulations
- Voluntary phase-outs
- Life-cycle awareness
Landry asks that users of flame retardants participate in VECAP (Voluntary Emissions Control Action Program) to address emissions in the manufacturing, processing and waste disposal stages of the product life-cycle.
To find out more, go see Landry’s presentation, “Regulatory Status and Sustainability of Flame Retardants,” at the IPC It’s Not Easy Being Green symposium, July 19-21. You can view the presentation slides below, or click here to download them.
Read the rest of this entry »
1 Comment »
May 7th, 2010
In a recent article of Circuitree, Fern Abrams, the IPC’s director of environmental policy. discusses the latest edition of Greenpeace’s guide to greener electronics. According to Abrams, it began as a way “to use publicity to nudge electronics companies toward better environmental performance” but they are now “asking (companies) to lobby for regulations to require all companies to remove these (hazardous) substances.”
The system deducts points for companies who don’t lobby for Greenpeace’s viewpoints. Abrams continues to say that “if companies do not agree with the Greenpeace viewpoint and do not speak out for fear of retribution, it becomes censorship.”
To read the article in its entirety, please visit Circuittree.
No Comments »