Friday, May 29, 2009


Inhabitat - Philadelphia's new landfill-crunching compacting bins are entirely powered by the sun and are able to accept close to eight times as much waste as a regular trash can. They are predicted to save the city close to $12 million over the next ten years.


Guardian, UK - Dell, the world's second largest PC manufacturer, announced earlier this month that it is imposing a ban on the export of used equipment bearing its name to developing countries - unless the equipment is in full working order and intended for legitimate use. The idea is to undermine the huge trade in e-waste, too much of which ends up in giant trash piles in Africa, India and China, from where it is dismantled, burned, treated with corrosive chemicals and otherwise persuaded to give up tiny amounts of chemicals that can be sold on. The big question is why all the other manufacturers don't have a similar policy. . . Greenpeace reckons that as much as 80% of the electronic waste sent for recycling in the US ends up being "recycled" using dangerous low-tech methods in foreign countries. And, despite Europe's tougher laws, a lot gets through the net there, too.

Guardian, UK - Climate change is already responsible for 300,000 deaths a year and is affecting 300m people, according to the first comprehensive study of the human impact of global warming. It projects that increasingly severe heatwaves, floods, storms and forest fires will be responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths a year by 2030, making it the greatest humanitarian challenge the world faces. Economic losses due to climate change today amount to more than $125bn a year - more than the all present world aid. The report comes from former UN secretary general Kofi Annan's think tank, the Global Humanitarian Forum. By 2030, the report says, climate change could cost $600bn a year.

Portland Press Herald, ME - Maine is about to become the first state in the nation to require the makers of fluorescent lighting to recycle burned-out bulbs and keep mercury out of the environment. The Maine House and Senate both voted overwhelmingly for the bill and are expected to give it final approval as soon as today. Gov. John Baldacci, whose administration supported the proposal, is expected to sign it into law soon after. Under the bill, Maine would require manufacturers to submit plans for a recycling program by 2010 and begin collecting the fluorescent bulbs by 2011. Burned-out bulbs can now be returned to hardware stores and other retailers through a program financed by electricity surcharges.

Alt Use is a new web site that deals with ways of using