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The power of 10: Helping to counter global warming

18 May, 2014

These scientific advances could help counter global warming, as could the gadgets and suggested life changes outlined below

1. The artificial tree that captures carbon dioxide 1,000 times faster than a real tree. Developed by researchers at Columbia University, the tree, which resembles a cylinder, absorbs carbon dioxide and then releases it in a technique – called gas absorption – similar to a sponge that collects water. One tree can collect one ton of CO2 a day, the equivalent of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 20 cars. But each synthetic tree costs £15,000 to make and millions would be needed just to offset the emissions of Britain’s cars.

2. Injecting the air with particles to reflect sunlight. It may be possible to inject artificial sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight – but the theory does not address ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 levels and there could be side effects such as acid rain.

3. Creating low clouds over the oceans. Increasing the Earth’s albedo, or reflectivity to sunlight, by pumping water vapour into the air to stimulate cloud formation over the sea. This could involve a fleet of ships spraying salt water to increase the density of clouds by raising the concentration of water droplets within them.

4. Mixing the deep water of the ocean. James Lovelock, working with Chris Rapley of the Science Museum in London, devised a plan to put giant tubes into the seas to take surface water rich in dissolved CO2 to lower depths where it will not surface. The idea is to take CO2 out of the short-term carbon cycle, cutting the gas in the atmosphere.

5. Giant mirrors in space. Deflect sunlight with a giant mirror (pictured right) or a fleet of small mirrors between the Earth and the Sun. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that 1 per cent of reflected sunlight could make up for 400 years of man made emissions into the atmosphere.

6. Planetary skin. A global “nervous system” that will integrate land, sea, air and space-based sensors, helping the public and private sectors to make decisions to prevent and adapt to climate change. The pilot project – a prototype is due by 2010 – will track how much carbon is held by rainforests and where.

7. Earth sunglasses. Arizona University astronomer Roger Angel suggests using electro-magnetically powered spacecraft to blast trillions of ultra-thin silicon lenses into space to deflect the sun’s rays. Once in place, they would create a 100,000 square mile sunshade, reducing the sun’s rays by about 2 per cent.

8. Smoke filters. Superfilters fitted to factory smokestacks can turn pollution into harmless baking soda. Plastic mesh filters being tested on the smokestacks of Texas power plants trap 90 per cent of the carbon dioxide emitted which, when mixed with sodium hydroxide, is turned into sodium bicarbonate.

9. Mirrors in the desert. The amount of sunlight reflected back into the sky naturally averages 30 per cent  but in areas covered by snow or ice, it’s a healthy 90 per cent. But the ice caps are melting fast. To counter this, say scientists, we would need to lay vast sheets of reflective material across 1.2 million square miles of the Sahara desert, at a cost of £20bn over 10 years.

10. Wave-riding rubber tubes. The Anaconda is a 200m-long tube, 5.5m in diameter, that could turn wave power into a commercially viable option. As each wave hits the front of the tube, a pulse is created in the water inside. This is forced down the tube by the wave, ultimately powering a turbine in the “tail” of the tube to generate electricity. Each tube could generate enough power for more than 1,000 houses. If the company secures the £17m it needs for a prototype, it hopes to have the first full-size Anaconda ready by 2014. The ultimate goal is to create farms of about 50 tubes in west-facing coastal areas of Britain.

10 green gadgets: Fridges, phones & a wind-up torch

1. EnergyHub Dashboard

Can let you know exactly how much energy household appliances are using and how much it’s costing you. It can also turn appliances on and off and adjust temperatures.

2. Magnetic fridge

Whirlpool is developing a new type of fridge that is based on magnetic refrigeration technology. When the magnetic field is removed, the materials will cool below their original temperature.

3. Carbon-neutral phone

Motorola launched the Moto W233 earlier this year, claiming it is the world’s first carbon-neutral phone. The plastic is from recycled water bottles and the company offsets carbon emissions involved in the manufacture.

4. Green computer

Fit-PC 2.0 claims to be the world’s greenest PC. Manufacturers say it uses 90 per cent less energy than a standard desktop PC, and less power than a low-energy lightbulb.

5. Ego Street Scoota

Electric scooter travels up to 30 miles at 30mph, and produces no emissions.

6. Brunton SolarRoll

A portable solar panel that rolls up like a towel and can charge laptops and phones.

7. Green satnav

Enter details about your car and it’ll give you a route that’s best for fuel consumption, and also advise on gear and accelerator usage.

8. ECO Showerdrop Meter

A low-cost universal shower meter (left) that lets you know how much water you are using. A family of four could save £180 a year and more than 600kg of CO2.

9. Siemens WM14S79B Washing Machine

Uses HydroSensor technology to check how hot the wash should be and if the water can be used again.

10. Puma wind-up torch

No batteries required for a beam strong enough to light an area up to 30m away.

10 ways to change your life: No kids, no meat, no flights

1. Don’t have kids “ or at least stop at two. Continuous population growth “ it is predicted that there will be between 8 billion and 10 billion people on the planet by 2050 “ is multiplying the impacts of climate change.

2. Stop taking short-haul flights a major source of carbon emissions that has grown with the advent of budget flights  and go by train instead.

3. Drive fewer than five miles a week. Try walking instead of driving to replace one short car journey a week. Or get a bike.

4. Give up meat Cutting out meat consumption on one day a week can have a major impact on reducing CO2 emissions with global livestock production accounting for at least 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Insulate your home If every household in the UK had 270mm loft insulation, it would save the equivalent of the annual emissions of three and a half large gas-fired power stations.

6. Switch off appliances when you are not using them. Leaving household appliances on standby costs about £800m a year in the UK alone.

7. Recycle and reuse as much as possible. And eat up your leftovers: the average UK household spends £424 a year on food that goes straight in the bin.

8. Shop low carbon Go for products with a low carbon footprint. Look out for the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Reduction Label, which shows the footprint of various products.

9. Go for a green TV The Sony KDL-40WE5 saves 50 per cent of the power compared with one of the company’s standard models, and has a presence sensor that detects when you leave the room and it then switches the screen off.

10. Boost your radiators A small fan can capture the heat from the back of your radiator and circulate it back into the room. A radiator booster could save an average household £70-£140 per year.

92% of firms don’t care about PC recycling

04 May, 2014

Nine out of ten businesses don’t care whether their old PCs could be reused elsewhere, says Remploy.

More than nine out of ten businesses don’t care whether their old PCs could be reused elsewhere, says Remploy.

Research by the IT refurbisher revealed that only eight percent were concerned about making sure old computers could be put to good use elsewhere, despite the fact that 73 percent of companies surveyed claimed they were recycling old equipment.

According to Remploy, IT recycling that does take place is more likely to cover components than old PCs.

With this in mind, the company has launched a ‘Re-use IT’ campaign, which aims to reduce the amount of IT equipment being sent to landfills by encouraging its re-use once all pre-existing data has been securely erased.

Remploy e-cycle general manager Malcolm Watson said: “The importance of reusing things is now well understood for many types of waste, both in the office and at home, yet for some reason IT equipment such as laptops, printers, mobile phones and PDAs seem to be treated differently.

“As businesses and individuals alike we need to consider the environmental impact of all that we undertake. Disposal of our IT equipment is no different so I strongly urge everyone to support re-use wherever possible,” he added.

original story: http://news.idg.no/

Used printer cartridges coin in cash for St Margaret’s Hospice

07 April, 2014

AN office supplies company has presented St Margarets Somerset Hospice with £500 thanks to recycling used printer cartridges.

Used inkjet cartridge collection boxes have been placed in offices right across the county and since Ilminster-based Samson Office Supplies joined forces with St Margarets back in June, used and unwanted cartridges have coined in the cash for the charity.

Samsons Dan Batten said: We and our customers are delighted to be helping St Margarets by raising funds for them.

Our toner and inkjet cartridge recycling scheme not only helps raise vital funds for the hospice, but also reduces the amount of cartridges sent to landfill.

St Margarets fundraiser, Teresa Wort, added: We are extremely grateful that Samson Office Supplies have chosen to donate the funds raised from their cartridge recycling scheme directly to St. Margarets.

Thank you also to all the local businesses that have shown their support by participating in the scheme

If your office is interested in raising funds for St. Margarets Somerset Hospice by having a cartridge collection box, please contact Dan via e-mail on dan@samsonofficesupplies.co.uk .

Waste Management, LG Introduce Program to Recycle Electronics at Hotels

04 September, 2009

LG Electronics USA Inc. and Waste Management Inc. announced the first recycling program for hotel operators to dispose of outdated television sets and computer monitors.
Under this new program planned for launch next year, LG Electronics would facilitate the recycling process through Waste Management’s subsidiary WM Recycle America LLC. In addition to offering the TV and monitor-recycling program, LG would assist hoteliers in working with WM to recycle the packaging from the new LG flat-panel HDTVs and computer monitors being installed in their properties.

“This program will encourage hotel operators to dispose of outdated electronics in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Teddy Hwang, president, LG Electronics USA, which established its successful nationwide electronics-recycling program for consumers with Waste Management over a year ago. This initiative “further supports LG’s global sustainability initiative that also encompasses energy conservation, reduction of hazardous substances and responsible product designs,” he noted.

The program will capitalize on WM’s network of more than 200 recycling centers throughout the United States. The collected electronics will be processed at one of four regionally designated Waste Management recycling facilities that are ISO 14001 and 9001 certified to protect the local environment in those communities along with the people handling this waste. Waste Management is also committed to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s R2 Standards for the management of electronic waste.

Brits revealed to be more green at home than in the workplace

04 September, 2009

Brits are happy to recycle and follow green practices at home but leave their environmental conscience at the door when they arrive for work.

That’s the conclusion of a new survey by Tickbox.net/Opinion Matters out today which highlights how attitudes towards recycling and energy saving differ between the home and the workplace.

For instance, just over 40% of people said they recycled plastics at home but not at work, with women being the worst culprits. Similarly, other poor workplace practises include unnecessarily printing out emails (21%) and putting recyclable items into the non-recycling bin (21%).

The impact isn’t simply on the environment though. Defra figures indicate that UK businesses could save £6.4 billion each year by implementing resource efficiency measures that are of no or very low cost.

Simple steps such as turning down thermostats, turning off lights and addressing dripping taps can help Britain’s businesses to save money and be more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, in today’s increasingly environmentally aware society, these steps can have a positive knock on effect on corporate reputation and the way customers value a business.

Defra launched a campaign this month to urge small businesses to cut down on waste, and reduce energy and water use, in order to reap the financial benefits. The campaign, which stresses ‘Saving money – it’s your business’, illustrates how simple environmental actions translate into cost savings.

This is being supplemented with clear practical advice for businesses on how to integrate resource efficient practices into everyday working life.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: “Small firms are facing challenging times, today more so than ever. Finding ways to save money will help businesses retain a competitive edge. Being sustainable is now essential – for your bottom line and for the environment.

“Simple steps like using less energy or considering what you throw away are easy ways to make savings. Resource efficiency is the future for all businesses, large and small.”

Channel 4’s ‘Dumped’ guru and eco-design expert Rob Holdway is lending his support to the campaign, and said: “Whether it’s turning off lights, turning down thermostats, cutting down on rubbish, or addressing dripping taps – small sized catering and hospitality firms are ‘leaking’ money through bad use of their energy, water supplies or waste products.

“Simple steps such as turning off office equipment when it’s not in use, can help businesses become financially fit and environmentally friendly.

“This also has a positive knock-on effect on corporate reputation among consumers. Resource efficiency isn’t rocket science but it does require a shift in culture among the catering and hospitality trade, which I really want to encourage.”

The results of the national survey, include:

* 22% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis

* 21% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis

* 13% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis

* 33% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work

* 18.4% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

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04 September, 2009

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04 September, 2009

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