Here's part 1 of our annual Earth Day products round-up, this one from Gizmo Guy Jon Takiff. Watch for part 2 with more products and events tomorrow morning.
How do we know that Earth Day must be right around the corner (Sunday)? Environmental groups focused on the (fraught with eco-peril) electronics industry have been laying on the good and bad tidings.
Cloudy Forecast: Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all got slammed by Greenpeace International yesterday in a report on cloud energy practices. While Google, Yahoo and Facebook are
"taking steps to power their clouds with clean energy," those other "highly innovative and profitable companies are building data centers powered by coal and acting like their customers won't know and won't care," said Gary Cook, Greenpeace senior policy analyst. Some data centers "use as much electricity as 250 European homes."
We Done Good: Patting itself on the back - and maybe hoping to stave off more unwieldy state laws mandating recycling - the Consumer Electronics Association reported this week that 460 million pounds of consumer electronics had been responsibly recycled by its' members and "third party" companies in the last year. That's a 53 percent increase over the prior year. By 2016, CEA's eCycling Leadership Initiative hopes to up the annual ante to one billion pounds of electronics, equivalent to an entire 71,000 seat NFL stadium and making room for more good gear to invade our homes. "The average U.S. household owns 25 different CE products," said Walter Alcorn, CEA's v.p. of environnmental affairs. "We want to make recycling just as easy as purchasing electronics," And to that end hopes you'll check out the recycling options nearest you by visiting greenergadgets.org
Slamming Walmart: Walmart's newly released 2012 Global Responsibility Reports touts waste reduction as its #1 achievment in 2011. But the Texas Campaign for the Environment says the retail giant is doing zilch to collect used electronics at its stores, unlike prime CE competitor Best Buy. The latter started a pilot recycling program in 2008 and now takes back stuff at stores nationwide.(Staples locations also proved prominent in my search at greenergadets.org. ) For Earth Day, Texas Campaign executive director Robin Schneider urges concerned citizens to post a message on Walmart's "What's on Your Mind" Facebook page "calling on the company to take back e-waste for recycling . . . and to support federal legislation to stop e-waste from being dumped on developing countries."
Green Guilt: Do Americans really give a hoot about responsible recycling of computers, phones, TVs, batteries and such? A new survey commissioned by Call2Recycle found 29 percent of the populace have "green guilt" - defined as knowing they could and should do more to help preserve the environment. That's a marked improvement from the 12 percent who felt remorse in 2009. More than half of respondents (57 percent) say they have old electronics to discard. Eight-four percent said they recycled stuff responsibly during the past year. 68 percent turned out lights and unplugged rechargers. 53 percent purchased "green" products.
Get 'em Here: Are iPad and iPhone users more eco-responsible than normal? You'd sure think so, from the deluge of eco-friendly cases you can buy for the products, made of everything from "recycled" leather and vinyl tarps to water bottles and cardboard album jackets. The all-natural sheep wool felt Greensleeve is even made without sucking a drop of juice from the grid - put together on a 1935 Singer foot-powered sewing machine, claims the makers at Gone Studio.
Philips launches its latest, greatest LED light bulb at Home Depot stores this Earth Day Sunday. The unique yellow wrap on the outside actually re-balances the color output so the bulb produces a more natural looking light than prior LED-based bulbs. While putting out the equivalent glow of a 60 watt incandescent, the Philips bulb consumes just 10 watts and could save you $8 a year in energy cost, if used four hours a day. Oh and it will last for 20 years in that scenario. Keep all in mind when you go to buy one and are confronted by the $50-$60 price tag! Philips hopes to get the retail cost down to a third of that, in the short run with subsidies from power companies.