Recent News

  • Apple, Adidas have 'greenest' supply chains in China
    Apple, Adidas and H&M have the "greenest" supply chains among the 167 brands evaluated by the Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) (PDF), a system for assessing companies' sustainable sourcing practices. Jointly developed by Chinese nonprofit Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), CITI analyzes companies' supply chain environmental management in China based on government-issued and public data on suppliers contracted by evaluated brands over the past year. Communication records from 1,607 suppliers that expressed relationships to 86 brands also were evaluated. Source: GreenBiz, 11/18/15
  • Adrian Grenier to Uber around NYC, collect e-waste for Dell initiative
    Entourage star and Dell Social Good Advocate Adrian Grenier has teamed up with Uber and Goodwill for Dell's NYC Tech Takeback initiative. For the initiative, Uber will offer to pick-up old e-waste from NYC residents and deliver the waste to Goodwill, which will then recycle it through Dell. Source: WasteDive, 11/13/15
  • NYC Students Establish "Restart Center" to Help Peers with Computer Problems
    Later this month, a new resource will be available to Fieldston students looking to replace failing computer parts, troubleshoot software, or fix glitches. Student volunteers, who will receive community service credit for their work, will be manning "Restart Centers" on campus, helping students diagnose their computers' problems and guide them toward buying new parts and learning how to make repairs. Source: Ethical Culture Fieldston School, November 2015
  • Repair hub iFixit unveils standard for technicians
    Across the country, many companies and individuals are repairing and reselling mobile phones. Electronics repair advocate iFixit decided it was time to bring a certification into the space. The California-based repair advocate group last week announced a MasterTech Certification for technicians working on mobile devices. "This is exciting. This is the first new standard for electronics repair technicians in a long, long time," iFixit co-founder and CEO Kyle Wiens told E-Scrap News. "And it's certainly the first cellphone repair technician standard in the world." To achieve certification, technicians must pass a two-part online test that can be accessed after paying a $150 fee. The first part, a multiple-choice section, tests knowledge of topics such as device repair, data destruction, and legal and ethical issues. The second part, which is recorded and reviewed via webcam video, requires the technicians to demonstrate their skills disassembling and re-assembling phones from memory. Source: Resource Recycling, 11/12/15
  • R2 Ready for Reuse Label Pilot Launched
    SERI has announced the launch of the pilot phase of the R2 Ready for Reuse label project, which will provide purchasers of used computers assurance that the used devices have been responsibly refurbished. Supported by Microsoft, Chicago-based PC Rebuilders and Recyclers, and SERI, the program provides participating R2 Certified computer refurbishing and recycling companies with R2 Ready for Reuse labels that each contain a unique serial number. One of the labels is attached to each R2 Ready for Reuse computer, allowing purchasers to look up the serial number and view the testing record for that unit to ensure it is in good working condition. Source: Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), 11/3/15
  • Why America Is Failing So Badly At Recycling Old Electronics
    An old television. A first-generation iPhone. The free printer that came with a new computer. These once novel items are among the millions of tons of technology pitched into the trash or taken to recycling centers each year. Though states have been trying to get manufacturers to help pay for electronics recycling since the early 2000s, half do not have statewide recycling programs and those that do are evaluating how to make their programs work as the size, volume and value of recycled electronics change. Source: Huffington Post Tech, 11/9/15
  • Tech Helping Medical Devices Go Green
    Even if we're loathe to admit that climate change is a thing, it makes sense for those who use the most energy to do what they can to keep their carbon footprint in check, which puts the medical industry right up near the top of the list. This article describes some ways that technology is helping the health care industry become greener. Source: Marketing:Green, 10/21/15
  • Tech meets transparency: The rise of connected supply chains
    Getting to the root cause of looming labor turmoil is just one area of activity in the growing supply chain technology industry, which is making a mark on production in sectors ranging from agriculture to electronics to apparel. Source: GreenBiz, 10/28/15
  • Proper Materials Storage Fundamental to E-Recycling
    Proper storage of materials is a fundamental element of the electronics recycling R2 Standard that is addressed in Provision 9, according to SERI, which manages the R2 recycling standard. While the material storage requirements of R2:2013 are rooted in basic environmental, health and safety regulations in place in the US, the general principles and intent behind the regulations apply to all responsible recycling facilities, regardless of where they operate. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/26/15
  • Dell cuts e-waste with recycled carbon fiber
    In 2013, as part of its 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, Dell established two objectives tied to cutting down on e-waste: using 50 million pounds of recycled materials and recovering 2 billion pounds of e-waste by 2020. The company has made notable progress toward these goals -- since 2013, it has incorporated into products more than 21 million pounds of recycled plastics from sources including water bottles and CD cases, and has recovered 1.2 billion pounds of e-waste. But the company wanted to secure its own waste stream to free it from the volatile global plastics market, which can fluctuate depending on the price of oil and other mounting competition for recycled plastics. That's why in 2014, Dell launched its closed-loop recycled plastics supply chain, which has since recycled more than 4 million pounds of plastics into new products. Certified by UL Environment as the first closed-loop supply chain, the program entails collecting, recycling and using e-waste to make new Dell products. Building on its closed-loop recycling operations, Dell earlier this month announced a partnership with supplier SABIC to recycle excess carbon fiber and scrap raw materials into new Dell products beginning in late 2015. Source: GreenBiz, 10/23/15
  • The benefit of more electronics recycling? Try $10 billion
    Tech manufacturers are pretty efficient when it comes to reusing natural capital, but they could do far more. Source: GreenBiz, 10/20/15
  • The Making of Fairphone 2 (or How to Design Products to Tell Sustainability Stories)
    'Telling sustainability stories is a fairly well-established communications and change strategy, usually the domain of the advertising and marketing industry. Our challenge was to embody Fairphone's ethical and sustainability principles into the physical product itself, rather than through supporting communications. With Fairphone, the product is the communications device; aiming to present an inspiring yet practical vision of how electronics can be made better.'--Chris Sherwin, Head of Sustainability at Seymourpowell Source: Sustainable Brands, 10/14/15
  • Advanced Recovery and Recycling, LLC Receives $100,000 for New Approach that Reduces Electronic Waste
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $100,000 to Advanced Recovery and Recycling, LLC of Onondaga County, New York to continue its development of an efficient technology that recycles circuit board components to reduce electronic waste from going to landfills and incinerators. Advanced Recovery and Recycling was awarded the funding through the EPA's highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research program competition, which encourages small businesses to research and develop environmental technologies from concept to commercialization. Source: US EPA, 10/7/15
  • EPA Settlement with New York Electronics Recycler Protects Public from Potential Lead Exposure
    (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with ECO International, LLC of Vestal, New York, which will ensure the proper disposal of more than 26 million pounds of lead-containing crushed glass. Until 2013, ECO International was a recycler of discarded electronic devices ('electronic waste'), such as older televisions and computer monitors, which can contain lead. The company no longer receives or processes electronic waste. Source: US EPA, 10/8/15
  • Kentucky firm admits to burying CRTs
    This week a Kentucky news channel unearthed a CRT dumping ground near a processing facility owned by processor Global Environmental Services. The company, which also recently lost or withdrew from its environmental certifications, has since admitted to the wrongdoing. According to a report published Wednesday by Lexington, Ky. NBC affiliate LEX 18, GES met with state investigators this week and took responsibility for the dump, located approximately 100 yards from the Georgetown, Ky. facility of Global Environmental Services (GES). According to a state environmental official quoted in the LEX 18 story, GES managers said they were not aware company personnel had been dumping material until the investigation: "They don't know who placed the material there, but they do know it was their company and they suspect it is out of their company out of Cynthiana that brought the material here," Jon Maybriar of the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection is quoted as saying. GES, which operates in Kentucky, Ohio and Texas, recently won a contract to handle end-of-life electronics generated by branches of the Kentucky state government. The contract also encourages towns and cities to hire GES for recycling services. Source: Resource Recycling, 10/15/15
  • Facebook admits it might be killing your iPhone battery life
    Facebook has confirmed that it is currently investigating claims that its iOS app is causing a significant amount of battery drain. While it seems like the problem lays with a bug that is causing the Facebook iOS app to continue working in the background even with the background app refresh switch off, it's unclear exactly what is causing this bug. Thankfully, though, Facebook says it's looking into the issue. Source: Techradar, 10/15/15
  • University of Utah researchers create light emitting diodes from food and beverage waste
    Most Christmas lights, televisions and flashlights have one thing in common: they're made with light emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs are widely used for a variety of applications and have been a popular, more efficient alternative to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs for the past few decades. Two University of Utah researchers have now found a way to create LEDs from food and beverage waste. In addition to utilizing food and beverage waste that would otherwise decompose and be of no use, this development can also reduce potentially harmful waste from LEDs generally made from toxic elements. Source: University of Utah, 10/13/15
  • Perch lets you turn nearly any device with a camera into a smart home security system
    For home owners and renters alike, there are countless of gadgets that can help them remotely monitor their home through a smartphone. Perch, a new startup born out of the Samsung Accelerator program, wants to do away with useless hardware and let you turn a camera you may already own into a security monitor. Source: The Next Web, 10/14/15
  • 2 mil. Euro project to boost recovery of raw materials from e-waste
    A new EU-funded project aims to explore the commercial opportunities for harvesting critical raw materials and precious metals from unwanted electronic products. The 2.1m Euro project, called Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery ('CRM Recovery'), is a four-country collaboration, with the UK, Germany, Italy and Turkey all participating. WRAP research has shown that nearly 40% of electrical products go to landfill when they are disposed, while the United Nations University claims that this annual mountain of e-waste contains 16,500 kilotons of iron, 1,900 kilotons of copper, and 300 tonnes of gold. Over the course of the three and a half year project, CRM Recovery aims to increase the recovery of these precious materials and others by at least 5%. The project will analyse how collection methods, such as kerbside collections, retailer take-back schemes or postal returns, affect how material components of electronic products are recovered and returned to the market. Findings will be fed back to the European Commission in the form of policy recommendations and proposals for infrastructure development for the cost effective recovery of these precious and critical raw materials. Source:, 10/14/15
  • Making the Business Case for a Circular Economy
    The financial opportunities and environmental benefits of a circular economy in the electronics sector -- where waste becomes a resource for new products -- was the focus of the recent Emerging Green conference held by the Green Electronics Council in Portland, Oregon. Source: Environmental Leader, 10/13/15
  • ASU students' machine turns trash to 3-D filament
    Two robotics engineering students out of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering have found a way to take recyclable plastic and turn it into filament for 3-D printers. "3DCycler is a product and a system built around turning recyclable plastics like water bottles, party cups, Tupperware, anything like that, into 3-D printable filament that can be used to print new parts," co-founder of 3DCycler and robotics Joshua Kosar said. Source: The State Press, 10/5/15
  • CPSC considers ban on toxic flame retardants in household products
    For the government's top consumer safety watchdog, protecting Americans from household hazards typically means prodding companies to recall defective products that strangle children, cause life-threatening burns or trigger bone-breaking falls. The chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission thinks it is time to start forcing toxic chemicals off the market too. In an interview, Elliot Kaye said his experience as the father of two young boys led him to push for more aggressive government action to protect children from harmful substances commonly found in toys and other household products. Source: Chicago Tribune, 9/28/15
  • 'Ethical' Fairphone 2 smartphone launched to combat electronic waste
    Fairphone 2 -- the sequel to the world's first "ethical smartphone" -- has launched in the UK, at a cost of £395. The original Fairphone, which launched in 2013, promised to avoid using components made with minerals from conflict mines, improve working conditions for factory staff in China and reduce e-waste. The phone proved a relative success, with 60,000 buyers, allowing the Amsterdam-based social enterprise behind the device to develop a new model without relying on external investment. The Fairphone 2, which has been co-designed with London design agency Seymourpowell, features a 5-inch, full HD Gorilla Glass LCD display and runs Android 5.1 (Lollipop), with 32GB of internal storage. It has a modular architecture that Fairphone claims is easy to open and repair, and the phone's back cover, which comes in a range of colours, wraps around the front edge of the screen, functioning as a shatter-proof case. Source: The Telegraph, 9/28/15
  • Volkswagen Scandal Ripples Through Entire Auto Industry
    The impact of the Volkswagen emissions scandal is enormous, affecting and the health of local communities as well as the livelihood and reputation of auto dealers and mechanics, on top of hundreds of thousands of car owners who bought into the company's "clean diesel" marketing. That's just for starters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also placed all auto manufacturers under heightened scrutiny, and the scandal casts a pall over Volkswagen's other sustainability projects. On September 25, EPA also sent a letter notifying auto manufacturers of the change in emissions testing procedures. It was short and to the point. Here is the relevant passage: "&EPA may test or require testing on any vehicle at a designated location, using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal operation and use, for the purposes of investigating a potential defeat device." Source: Triple Pundit, 10/2/15
  • EU probes TV makers over energy efficiency test scores
    The European Commission says it is "following up" two reports that raise concerns that software used in TVs may be skewing their energy rating scores. Source: BBC, 10/1/15
  • California approves hazardous waste disposal of CRT glass
    Responding to what it calls a dearth of reliable downstream processors of CRT funnel glass, the state of California will allow the lead-laden material to head to hazardous waste disposal facilities. Formally announced in an emergency regulatory action issued on Aug. 21, the decision on the part of California regulators calls on companies participating in the state's electronics recycling program to first seek out recycling outlets for the glass "to the extent economically feasible." Source: Resource Recycling, 9/17/15
  • Administration Announces New "Smart Cities" Initiative to Help Communities Tackle Local Challenges and Improve City Services
    The Obama Administration has announced a new "Smart Cities" Initiative that will invest over $160 million in federal research and leverage more than 25 new technology collaborations to help local communities tackle key challenges such as reducing traffic congestion, fighting crime, fostering economic growth, managing the effects of a changing climate, and improving the delivery of city services. The new initiative is part of this Administration's overall commitment to target federal resources to meet local needs and support community-led solutions. Over the past six years, the Administration has pursued a place-based approach to working with communities as they tackle a wide range of challenges, from investing in infrastructure and filling open technology jobs to bolstering community policing. Advances in science and technology have the potential to accelerate these efforts. An emerging community of civic leaders, data scientists, technologists, and companies are joining forces to build "Smart Cities" -- communities that are building an infrastructure to continuously improve the collection, aggregation, and use of data to improve the life of their residents -- by harnessing the growing data revolution, low-cost sensors, and research collaborations, and doing so securely to protect safety and privacy. Source: The White House Office of the Press Secretary, 9/14/15
  • Texas teenager creates $20 water purifier to tackle toxic e-waste pollution
    Consumer electronics, including computers and mobiles, are leaving a legacy of toxic waste in countries including China and India. Recycling factories across Asia are recovering e-waste exported from around the world, but discharging heavy metals and chemicals into local water supplies in the process. How to safeguard drinking water for local residents is an ongoing battle, with existing solutions such as chlorination, distillation, boiling and high-tech filtration prohibitively expensive and often reliant on fossil fuels. Now a new filtering device, invented by a US teenager, could provide a cheap and easy way to purify water. The renewable heavy metal filter, designed by 18-year-old Perry Alagappan, removes 99% of heavy metals from water that passes through it. The filter, built from graphene nanotubes, can be rinsed with a vinegar concentrate and reused. The highly concentrated waste can then be evaporated, leaving a deposit of pure metal that can be used in many different applications. Source: The Guardian, 8/27/15
  • What's in all that e-cig vapor?
    While many users perceive e-cigs as safer than traditional cigarettes, some of the flavorings that make them so enticing may have their own toxic consequences. Source: Washington Post, 8/31/15
  • Apple, Microsoft, Motorola wring new revenue out of e-waste
    What do Apple, Microsoft and Motorola have in common? All of these high-profile technology companies are harvesting new revenue out of discarded and end-of-life gadgets, rather than looking at them just as liabilities that require responsible recycling. What's more, all three are among the roughly 100 organizations using Hong Kong's Li Tong Group (aka LTG) to get the job done. LTG, a specialist in reverse logistics, operates a network of 21 facilities in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. You can think of it as a contract "un-manufacturer" -- an organization authorized to take apart smartphones, computer networking equipment and other electronics devices. LTG handles items that are traded in, returned or unsold. Source: GreenBiz, 8/27/15