Monday, May 31, 2010

Making Planned Obsolescence Illegal.

Since the start of this term and reading more and more into our theme..
i started thinking.. why don't government make planned obsolescence illegal?
who's benefiting from that? dah! obviously companies!
anyways this is real concern to me.. so i started searching for someone who's agreeing with me..
or put more thought into this matter.. and i found this blog..

it's just a thought...
who knows what can happen specially with all the problems with the environment and the global warming!

Making Planned Obsolescence Illegal

Added by:
Fahad AlNassar

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is planned obsolescence part of their marketing and sales strategies??

Most companies now deny that planned obsolescence is part of their marketing and sales strategies. But there’s no doubt that it still happens, and it can be seen in practically every type of product sold on the market.

But there’s another factor to take into consideration, too … consumer responsibility. How much should buyers be responsible for in terms of planned obsolescence? In reality, consumers can help stop this strategy just by doing a little bit of research! 

The Better Business Bureau and a variety of consumer advocate groups all have rating systems for every product on the market. They can tell you about the company, how well the product is made, and what the expected lifespan is for everything from a car to a cell phone to a computer software program.
A lot of times, we’ll buy a waffle iron that cost $4 more, just to save that $4. But in reality, we’re paying just a little bit less for a product that is a whole lot cheaper quality. For an extra $4, you could be buying something that will last for years longer than the cheaper product. 

There’s a great article on planned obsolescence and how big businesses and corporations stand on the procedure, along with consumer responsibility. Check it out at

By: Abdullah Alarifi

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cheaper to Buy A New One????

My friend’s washing machine recently stopped working, so he called a repairman to come out and take a look at it. It was an issue with the transmission of the machine. The repairman told him it would cost $213 to fix the problem, and it would take about three days for the part to come in and another day for the repairman to come back out and fix it.

The washing machine had originally cost $297, and my friend did not feel like waiting four days to get the washer fixed, so he decided to spend the extra $84 and just buy a new one that same day.

A colleague of mine worked in the washing machine industry, designing components for a major manufacturer. He told me that while the machines generally were of high quality, there were certain parts designed to break down within X period of time. By spending a couple of dollars more, the same parts could last many times longer. Because the parts were specific to the machine, generic replacements were hard to come by; so customers would have pay a huge amount for the replacement - which explains why the machines were reasonably cheap to start out with.

After thinking about this, I realized that a big part of the problem with planned obsolescence is the cost of repair. What is the justification for the extremely exorbitant costs to repair a machine? How many other people decide that it’s “just easier to buy a new one”? How much does this type of behavior contribute to the planned obsolescence problem?

An article on the Green Living Tips Web site on planned obsolescence, located at stated,

By: Abdullah Alarifi

Monday, May 24, 2010

Life Expectancy of Household Objects

The following material was developed for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Economics Department based on asurvey of manufacturers, trade associations and product researchers. Many factors affect the life expectancy of housing components and need to be considered when making replacement decisions, including the quality of the components, the quality of their installation, their level of maintenance, weather and climatic conditions, and intensity of their use. Some components remain functional but become obsolete because of changing styles and tastes or because of product improvements. Note that the following life expectancy estimates are provided largely by the industries or manufacturers that make and sell the components listed.

This site gives life expectancy information for different types of objects ranging from doors to floors to foundations. It would be a good resource for a consumer looking to lengthen the life of their home.

Life Expectancy at the Old House Web.

Posted by Brian Lemmon

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How do you listen to Music?

It’s a known fact that after 13 months of heavy use, the lithium-ion battery of the iPod can lose more than half of its functionality. Even if you recharge the iPod more it can fade out by the end of a long day. Simply put, even though an iPod can cost you $350, these digital music players are designed to be disposable.
Also Apple deliberately seals the battery inside the iPod. Replacement costs $65 (a new 1-gig iPod shuffle costs $79), takes several weeks, and worst of all because the new battery comes in a refurbished and wiped-clean iPod you'll lose all your songs.
Another is by introducing new models shortly after you've acquired the latest thing. The screen is probably already scratched. Time, then, to let you know about the three models of next-generation.
Apple's amount of waste produced by the electronics is alarming, since the iPod is designed to be all too easy to throw away. Of course, if you live near an Apple store, you can recycle your obsolete iPod for free. In this context, the disposability of the iPod and the fight among manufacturers over DVD formats seem irresponsible if not criminally negligent. iPods are crammed with lead, mercury, and flame retardant, and the 70 million already sold represent a sizable amount of toxic chemicals that seep through landfills and contaminate groundwater. Electronic waste accounts for 2 percent of America's trash in landfills but 70 percent of its toxic garbage. In 2003 alone, 3 million tons of e-waste was generated in the United States.
Here are models of the IPod starting from 2001-2010….crazy amount of new models every year with same or small changes. It’s no surprise that the U.S. 2% of total waste is electronic.   Lets look to another country.  China already produces about 2.3 million tonnes (2010 estimate) domestically, second only to the United States with about 3 million tonnes. And, despite having banned e-waste imports, China remains a major e-waste dumping ground for developed countries. As one of the worlds leader the United States shouldn't be second in the world in E-waste!! Here are some things that are being thrown away with our IPODS, cell phones, and other electronic goods. Global e-waste generation is growing by about 40 million tons a year.  Manufacturing mobile phones and personal computers consumes 3 per cent of the gold and silver mined worldwide each year; 13 per cent of the palladium and 15 per cent of cobalt. Modern electronics contain up to 60 different elements -- many valuable, some hazardous, and some both carbon dioxide emissions from the mining and production of copper and precious and rare metals used in electrical and electronic equipment are estimated at over 23 million tonnes -- 0.1 percent of global emissions (not including emissions linked to steel, nickel or aluminum, nor those linked to manufacturing the devices)
Countries like Senegal and Uganda can expect e-waste flows from PCs alone to increase 4 to 8-fold by 2020. Given the infrastructure expense and technology skills required to create proper facilities for efficient and environmentally sound metal recovery, the report suggests facilitating exports of critical e-scrap fractions like circuit boards or btteries from smaller countries to OECD-level, certified end-processors. We must start recycling and reusing our resources before it becomes to large of a problem to reverse. 

Ryan Flitcroft

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Basel Action Network

In their own words:

BAN is the world's only organization focused on confronting the global environmental injustice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade (toxic wastes, products and technologies) and its devastating impacts. Working at the nexus of human rights and environment, we confront the issues of environmental justice at a macro level, preventing disproportionate and unsustainable dumping of the world's toxic waste and pollution on our global village's poorest residents. At the same time we actively promote the sustainable and just solutions to our consumption and waste crises -- banning waste trade, while promoting green, toxic free and democratic design of consumer products.

Their website is an excellent resource for information pertinent to the EcoPol Project.

Here are their Policy Principle:

Basel Action Network
Policy Principles

June 2008

Fundamental Right to a Healthy Environment: We believe in the fundamental right of all species to a clean and healthy environment.

Sustainability and Justice in Production and Consumption: We promote the development of production systems and consumption patterns that are environmentally sustainable and socially just.

Principle of Earth Economics: We believe in an economic system that is subservient to social and environmental welfare -- one that is not only economically efficient, but environmentally sustainable and socially just.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Corporations are beholden to and must be accountable to the societies in which they conduct business. They serve the public interest as well as the interest of shareholders and investors. They must conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates responsibility beyond legislative requirements and proactively assures sustainability and social justice, as well as profitability. Corporate owners and officers must be liable for harm caused.

Precautionary Principle: The lack of certainty regarding a threat to human health and the environment can not be used as an excuse to do nothing to avert that threat. In the absence of scientific consensus or proof, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action.

Principle of Environmental Justice: We believe that no peoples should bear a disproportionate burden from environmental harm simply due to racial, ethnic, or socio-economic status.

Principle of Environmental Democracy: We support the “right-to-know”, full transparency, and access for non-governmental organizations and individuals to information and meetings of governments and inter-governmental bodies as they relate to human health and the environment.

Full Safety Data Required of all Chemicals: No chemical or material should be introduced into the marketplace without full testing and disclosure of relative safety and harm, both acute and chronic.

Right to Design: We believe the public has the right to be a part of decisions on product and technology design that will impact them and the shared environment.

Waste Prevention Principle: Once produced, wastes and in particular hazardous wastes can never be managed completely without risk of harm. Prevention is always better than later management or mitigation. The best solution to hazardous waste and pollution is not creating it (both the quantity and the harm) in the first place.

Substitution Principle and Elimination of Toxic Substances: All decisions regarding the use of hazardous materials should be informed by a constant review of safer alternatives and a responsibility to replace more hazardous substances with less hazardous ones. We advocate for elimination of the use of toxic substances and technologies in product and process design.

Principle of Internalizing Costs: We believe that all environmental costs and liabilities associated with pollution and toxic products are the financial responsibility of the creator of the toxic harm. The “polluter pays principle” must be comprehensive enough to include hidden costs and other “externalities” not presently accounted for.

Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) Systems Cannot Justify Toxic Trade: ESM systems and related technologies and processes are not comprehensive solutions to hazardous wastes. The existence of even best-practice ESM facilities does not justify moving hazardous waste processing to developing countries from developed countries. Factors equally important to human and environmental safety are the “on the ground” realities, such as the overall political, legal, medical, infrastructure, workforce and economic contexts in which these facilities operate.

Trade Barriers to Prevent Toxic Waste Dumping Are Necessary: Waste should not be allowed to move across borders for economic reasons to take advantage of cost externalities. Purely economic motivations result in toxic waste flowing to the poorest countries with the least protections. As toxic waste management can never be 100% safe or without externalized costs, it is inherently unjust to burden poor countries with wastes from the developed world. International trade barriers to this free flow of toxic waste are warranted and must be respected and strengthened.

Principle of National Self-Sufficiency in Hazardous Waste Management: Hazardous wastes should be managed domestically to the extent possible. All developed countries should have full capacity to manage their own hazardous wastes.

Unnecessary Consumption and Planned Obsolescence: Current rates of consumption of materials and energy are neither sustainable nor equitable. Incentives to reduce consumption and make consumption rates more equitable must be found.

Waste Management Hierarchy: A best-practice waste management hierarchy is as follows:

Prevention (of both hazards and volumes),
Materials recovery,
Treatment and mitigation (to make less hazardous), and
Contained and monitored disposal (not incineration).

Recycling is an Incomplete Solution to Waste: Recycling is an imperfect and temporary solution to the production and consumption of wastes and in particular hazardous wastes. We must work toward waste prevention and eliminating the production and usage of toxic products, wastes and technologies.

Immediate Action to Protect Communities and Workers: When communities and workers are exposed to levels of chemicals that pose a health hazard, immediate action is necessary to eliminate these exposures.

The Right to a Healthy and Safe Job: All laborers have a fundamental human right to a healthy and safe job and workplace.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cell Phones, Laptops, & Everything Else!

Evan Kinto

                Cell phones! Laptops! Flat screens! Who doesn’t have one? Even if you don’t, who doesn’t want one!? Everyone knows that flat screen TV’s, laptops, and cell phones all evolve. Whether it’s adding more memory, changing or adding a new color scheme, or just plan changing the whole style in general. We all want what’s new and what’s “cool” these days but did you ever think about where everyone’s old pieces of technology go? Or how it might affect the environment? These are all just “details” these companies forgot to care about when they produce gadgets that they know will fail or become outdated.
                In the article I found they state that at least 90 percent of the 315 million still-functional personal computers were discarded in North America in 2004 and it was 63 million just a year before. That to me makes no sense that still-functioning computer would be trashed only to be replaces because new “better” models were released. I can only think of the pointless reasons these computers were let go.  It also says that more than 100 million cell phones (that is 200,000 tons worth), were thrown away in 2005. You would think that cell phones could last a bit longer than what the numbers show but for what, to throw your money away just to make these corporations wealthier? Oh and don’t forget that the more we throw away the worse it is for our environment. The article also says that cell phones are especially dangerous, because of their toxic components are too small to disassemble and recycle.
I don’t know about you but I would have to say that electronics are most likely the worst discarded planned obsolescence object out there and we should be doing more to better protect our environment and the money we spend.

Blue-Ray or a DVD disc?...

In an article written for the Canada Free Press, Diane Crow gives some examples of planned obsolescence that are really illustrative of how big the problem of either producing products to be obsolete or marketing to make products obsolete has become. One of the examples used in the article is about the difference between the Blue-Ray disc and the standard DVD used to view movies. The answer is – there is none! There is very little visual difference between a Blue-Ray or a DVD disc, but the cost of both Blue-Ray discs and Blue-Ray equipment is easily twice as much as DVD technology, if not three times as much! The Blue-Ray craze was started to make a profit, and wasn’t a necessary development because DVD technology is still relevant.

From cars to nylons to cell phones, consumers have to start demanding that products are made to last and stop buying into the marketing departments ploys to get us to buy just for fashion’s sake.

To read Crow’s full article, check out

By: Abdullah Alarifi

Overcome obsolescence

Govt for 74 pc FDI in defence to overcome obsolescence

New Delhi, May 17 (PTI)

With its weaponry facing rapid obsoletion, the government today proposed to raise FDI in defence production to 74 per cent, saying it would help ensure technology transfer and funds to effectively replace imports, estimated at over USD 8 billion.

Mooting a discussion for raising FDI from 26 per cent in defence production to the same level as telecoms sector, the Industry Ministry also sought to allay security concerns and impact on domestic players, saying effective checks could be put to tackle any "suspect" company.

While, leading industry chamber CII, stuck to its stand of allowing 49 per cent FDI in the defence sector, no reaction could be obtained from FICCI.

By: Saud Bin Muammar

The difference between planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence

In her animated presentation video "The story of stuff" Annie Leonard talks a little bit about the difference between planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence. She simply defines planned obsolescence as "designed for the dump". So, planned obsolescence, as Annie says, is basically a plan of how fast the designers can make stuff break while making sure that consumers have enough faith in the product to go out and buy another one. However, stuff sometimes can not break fast. Therefore, they came up with something called perceived obsolescence, which is a plan that convinces us to throw away stuff that still perfectly useful by changing the way the stuff look.

For more information about all the problems come along with the process of how things are manufactured, distributed and disposed, I recommend that you visit Annie Leonard's website "The story of stuff" and watch the animated presentation video The story of stuff and more other videos.

Added by: Saud Alsultan

21 Practical Ways to Help the Environment

21 Practical Ways to Help the Environment:

The great thing about these tips is that in most cases you really won’t have to change your lifestyle radically to have an impact on the environment. One thing we do encourage is more reliance on human power in your daily life. We hope that some of these tips will help us move one person at a time towards a society that is more responsible and less reliant on convenience.
  1. Prevent energy leaks at home.
  2. Lower your home thermostats!  
  3. Switch as many bulbs as possible in your home to compact fluorescent bulbs. 
  4. Use a low-flow shower head.
  5. Compost!
  6. Use drip irrigation systems in your garden.
  7. Plant trees in your yard and community.
  8. Go “mostly organic” in your lawn and garden.
  9. Use a reel or electric lawn mower.
  10. Replace your single-paned windows with double-pane windows.
  11. Turn off lights and electronic devices when you’re not using them.
  12. Fix water leaks in the bathroom, kitchen, landscaping, etc.
  13. Consider switching to a low-flow toilet.
  14. Use ceiling fans to cool off in the summer.
  15. Use solar energy to dry your clothes! 
  16. Invest in solar energy.
  17. Rethink transportation.
  18. Use small, efficient devices to cook food.
  19. Use some Xeriscaping principles in the garden.
  20. Use some native plants in the garden.
  21. Get involved locally!          

    By: Saud Bin Muammar

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Incandescent, CFL or LED Light Bulbs?

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879 and he certainly didn’t think about Planned Obsolescence and the environmental effect that it would cause. After many years, corporation like GE invested a lot in the Research & Development department and decided to apply planned obsolescence to increase product’s demand.  The average number of hours a light bulb works is around 1’000 hours. Nevertheless, GE is coming with a new product in the next months that will revolutionize the market. The LED light bulb by GE will improve the amount of light given per unit of energy input and it will last 25x times more than a normal incandescent light bulbs. We can ask ourselves if GE is really going to introduce a long-term period light bulb but the question now is to give you some tips to how save energy, make your light bulb last longer and how to recycle it to have less impact on the environment.

How to save energy?

Saving energy is an important aspect of obsolescence because first it saves you an important amount of money to pay for your electricity bill. Second, it can lead you to change less often light bulbs. A good way to start saving energy is to turn off your lights when you don’t need it and you’ll start extending the lifetime of your light bulbs right away. The next tip is to switch your lighting to some compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) because they use 75% less energy than a standard light bulb and they last 10x times longer. The CFL light bulbs contain hazardous material like mercury which is dangerous for the landfills.

How to make your light bulb last longer?

As said earlier, CFL light bulbs are lasting 10x times longer than incandescent bulb and LED light bulb are lasting 25x times longer. What you might not know is that if you frequently turn on and off the lights, you’re decreasing the lifetime of your incandescent bulb while there’s no effect on LEDs. Something you should be aware also is that CFL light bulbs contain mercury which is dangerous for the landfills if the bulb breaks. So if you want your light bulb to last longer, you should change your lights to LEDs because they are more cost efficient and less toxic for the environment. You might pay a little more when you buy it but in the long term, you will save energy while using it and by using it more.

How to recycle the light bulb?

You should be aware that 1 teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a 20 acre lake forever. That’s one of the many reasons why we should be aware about recycling the CFL light bulbs. According to the EPA, incinerators in the USA spill more than 70,000 pounds of mercury in the environment each year.
You should first check if your state or local environmental regulatory agency offers you some disposal options. If not, make sure when you place those light bulbs in the households garbage to place it in two plastic bags and seal it before putting in the trash.

To summarize, you’ll need to pay a little more at the cashier but in the long run, you’ll win on the cost-efficiency of the bulb and you’ll help protect the environment against more hazardous material into the environment. So think twice before changing your lights and don’t be afraid to spend more sometimes for better quality.

By Schahram Rezai-Ahvanoui

Tips for Recycling Dirt and Soil

Tips for Recycling Dirt and Soil

Soil can be a rich place to throw away a lot of food waste produced in our homes. It can also process leaves (and other backyard waste) typically burned in the fall season. Instead of trucking your soil out to the landfill, why not make it richer for gardening by creating a compost pile of your own? Composting is a great way to recycle your soil by making it richer and more usable.
More than half of the trash a family throws away each year, about 1,200 pounds, is organic waste that can be composted to enhance soil’s productivity. When this material is brought to the landfill, it is mixed with inorganic, toxic compounds including plastic, battery acid, styrofoam, heavy metals and detergents.
Trucking your food waste to the landfill not only consumes serious energy, but soil also takes up about one-third of the landfill’s space. By composting your organic waste instead, you are putting it to use rather than to waste.
Our soil needs some love. Already a victim of erosion and overuse, it’s longing for the carbon, nitrogen and other organic compounds it craves. Instead of going to the garden store to buy soil where you want to grow a garden, trees and other plants, why not add texture and life to your soil by composting what is already right in your own backyard, your organic material?
Beyond this, our produce has already traveled quite a distance to make it to our table. We can prevent adding more miles to our coffee grinds, banana peels and old greens by putting them to use in our own yards.
Also, compost helps dilute any toxic material in our soil (pesticides, lead and even mercury). Why not try starting your own compost pile? It’s free, sustainable and easy.

By: Saud Bin Muammar

Our Profile

Our Prolfile
Green Century understands the needs of technology in today's world. That is why we have developed a way to recycle and re-use all products we handle. Most computers and computer related items are still working and may meet the needs of many people. We believe computer recycling should be about keeping the item alive as long as possible. This is why we re-use and refurbish most of the computer related items we get; unlike other recyclers who destroy all items working or not. We make sure to refurbish and save. This means all of your items are properly recycled with low impact to the environment, providing a viable alternative to e-waste in our worlds landfills

Make Green Century your complete and trusted E-CYCLE provider. We accept most electronic devices. We are in business to provide safe and ethical recycling of electronic devices.

by: Saud Bin Muammar

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Turn Off The Tap!

Are you one of those people who lets the water continue running when brushing your teeth, shaving, taking a shower or washing the dishes? According to the Environmental Protection Agency “The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute.”

You can save water and energy by making a few minor changes to your daily routine. Up to eight gallons of water per day is saved if turning off the tap when brushing your teeth in the morning and night. That also means a savings of 240 gallons of water saved in one month, and annual water savings of 2,920 gallons!

When taking a shower, how many minutes does it take you? When taking a 10-minute shower, you use around 60 gallons of water using an old showerhead; however, if you switch to a low-flow showerhead, you use about 2 ½ gallons of water per minute, and save 35 gallons of water.

Replacing all kitchen and bathroom faucets in your home with aerator faucets that have pause valves can significantly help save water and energy. Kitchen aerator faucets costs around $8-$10 and save about 30% in water and energy use, while ones for the bathroom cost $2-$5 and save 55%.

By Victoria Walton

Friday, May 14, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Fix It Shop?

The “Fix It Shop” was one of Sesame Street’s bustling businesses until 2002 when it became the “Mail-It Shop”. It was decided that modern children would not relate to a repair shop and the notion of renovating usable items would be a difficult concept to grasp. Reflecting the decline of the repair shop in the real world, it is increasingly rare for us to fix something and we are far more likely to discard and buy new.

Taking shoes to be re-soled or replacing a zipper are practices that few bother with these days. The fact is, though, fixing things not only helps the environment but can save money, too. Most of us can do some minor repairs with minimal effort. Changing a belt on a vacuum cleaner or a filter can extend the life of a product, yet many times we aren’t willing to exert the time and energy involved. It’s so much easier to throw it in the trash and replace it. We are depleting our natural resources to make all the new stuff, yet our landfills are full of reusable things.

With the onset of computerized mechanisms in appliances, cars and electronics we are somewhat helpless to extend the life of these products. With technology advancing at such a rapid pace and electronic devices built to last for just a limited amount of time, it doesn’t make sense to pay someone $75 an hour to repair a lap top that can be replaced with the latest advancements for under $400. As we continuously buy new, we must make it affordable and so export electronics labor to the low cost workforce overseas. But with a little ingenuity, even some appliance and electronic problems can be solved with websites providing free tips and instruction manuals.

"Freecycle" is a website designed to exchange used items, some that may need repair. Furniture can be reupholstered or refinished, clothes can be mended, appliances can be refurbished. Maybe we can learn how to fix things again.

by Debra Mosso

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An Empirical Analysis of Planned Obsolescence: Textbooks!

A study by Toshiaki Iizuka wherein he examines the motivations for publishers to release new editions of textbooks. He finds data to support the idea that "publishers introduce new editions to kill-off used units"; however, he also says that "publishers' frequent revisions cannot be attributed to planned obsolescence alone".

- Brian Lemmon

Monday, May 10, 2010

Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste

Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste

This is a story about recycling - about how your best intentions to be green can be channeled into an underground sewer that flows from the United States and into the wasteland.
60 Minutes Follows America's Toxic Electronic Waste As It Is Illegally Shipped To Become China's Dirty Secret.

60  Minutes team investigative and follow through one of the most toxic places on Earth where took them to a town in China where you can't breathe the air or drink the water, a town where the blood of the children is laced with lead.

For more Info:

I provided a video of the investigation:

Posted By:
Abdul Bin Muammar

GreenPrint Technologies

“GreenPrint is software that eliminates wasteful printing, saving millions of trees and dollars in paper and ink usage. Featured by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and The New York Times, this product offers an eco-friendly way to bring value to families in your community, while raising much needed funds for your school or organization.”
How it works:
1. Sell a green product everyone can feel good about.
2. Promote your fundraiser with ease electronically.

3. Raise more dollars for your school/organization while helping the planet.

4. GreenPrint will set up and track everything, you collect the donation check.

For more Info go to:

Posted By: 
Abdul Bin Muammar

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bring your Coffee Mug!

The number of paper coffee cups is increasing tremendously each year in the landfills. Last year, Starbucks contributed for close than 3 billion of paper coffee cups in the landfills. Some simple actions can reduce at high level the impact that those paper cup have on the environment.

Starbucks is currently working on a recycling program in some of its locations but the problem is that most of the people don't stay in a Starbucks to finish their coffee. 

Global Green USA reports that every year, 58 billion paper cups are used in the U.S. at restaurants, events and homes. If all paper cups in the U.S. were recycled, 645,000 tons of waste would be diverted from landfills each year.
Bringing your own coffee mug with you every day is the best solution to fight against the amount of waste we're generating just by drinking coffee. Starbucks is offering since 1985 10 cents for every customer bringing their own mug and they offered, for a day last month, for every customer bringing their own mug. The goal of Starbucks is to make its paper and plastic cup recyclable by 2012.
“We want to do for the coffee cup what happened with the grocery bag,” Packard said, referring to the supermarkets industry success convincing many consumers to bring in their own shopping bags, rather than taking a new plastic bag with each visit.
So you know what to do before leaving the house tomorrow, take your mug with you! 

Added by Schahram Rezai-Ahvanoui

Reduce Energy and Water When Washing Clothes

Are you aware that energy used to heat water consists of about eighty to ninety percent of the energy used when washing clothes? And wasted energy contributes to greenhouse gas emission which causes global warming. In addition, about 14 percent of all household water use occurs when washing clothes.

There are some things that each of us can do in order to cut energy and water consumption when washing clothes. Try switching your water temperature to the “cold” setting on your washing machine. Setting it at this temperature will adequately clean white and colored clothes, unless the clothes have oil or grease stains. Cold water also retains color in the fabric longer. If your clothes are difficult to clean, presoaking the clothes or using a spot remover will loosen the stain, and using warm water instead of hot water will reduce energy use by half.

Many brands of laundry detergent are made for washing clothes in cold water. Using eco-friendly detergent not only works well in cold water, it also contains no harmful additives. Furthermore, wait until you have a full load of laundry, and if absolutely necessary, set the water level at the appropriate setting for smaller loads. If you are in the market for a new washing machine, look for one with the Energy Star label. These machines use less water and about 50 percent less energy than standard machines, and spin clothes more efficiently which saves on drying time.

By Victoria Walton

San Francisco, A City Making a Difference

By: Dan Flatten

San Francisco, California, home of the 49ers, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, enormous technological boom, and revolutionary ways of reducing waste, reusing resources and recycling. Through a mix of policies, legislation and initiatives, San Francisco leads the nation in environmental integrity.

Much of their success comes from the different strategic plans put into place by the city and community to improve their impact on the environment as a whole. Having separate divisions focus on certain plans, they act to improve each that needs improvement. The Environment Commission, comprised of seven members appointed by the mayor, sets policies and advises the mayor and Board of Supervisors on environmental matters. Acting as centralized planning for the cities environmental issues, they introduce new policies and measure the success of existing programs.

There's other city initiatives like the Biodiesel Task Force that reports on all aspects of biodiesel fuel, including city-wide strategies and incentives that would increase the use of biodiesel fuel by consumers, vendors, and the city's municipal fleets. They streamline the process and put into action the necessary permit process for biodiesel filling stations. In addition to pushes for more use of biodiesel, there's also a Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force, that addresses the fluctuating market and more advancement to becoming less oil dependent. With that, comes better and cleaner technology that helps the city transition to a more sustainable city for the future.

Recycling is also a driving force that is making a big difference in San Francisco, by making more materials eligible for recycling, as well as made easier so more people use the system properly. They've put people to work in this regard too, because they have more people put in place to oversee and conduct recycling efforts. Although some cities may not have the money or resources to make this happen, the knowledge is valuable furthering exposure and awareness to the severe environmental problems we face.

There are too many San Francisco task forces', committees and councils to mention in this blog, but I would urge you to follow the link below to review all the initiatives that San Francisco has. The idea here is that San Francisco's doing something right when it comes to environmental sustainability, and if we can push to see similar legislation and policies put in place at our own local level,we can spread environmental influence and improvement around the world.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Longer Lasting Hybrid Batteries

Every time I see a large, brand new, gas-guzzling vehicle drive by I am reminded of the limited resources needed to make it run. As a cyclist, I am interested in promoting other types of transportation that will use less petroleum and benefit the individual and the community. Several years ago I was in the market for a new car and the hybrid seemed a good option. After some research and some hearsay, I determined that the life span of the battery was too short and I didn’t want to risk having to replace it at great expense in a few short years. Today’s hybrids are evolving into the car of the future, with batteries that last much longer and that are less expensive. But what if we could have electric car batteries that lasted even longer and that were as inexpensive to replace as the battery in today’s cars? We could discourage large vehicles by taxing them on the amount of gas they use and give “conservation credits” for other choices, such as mass transit or bikes used for transport. The bigger a vehicle is, the more gas it takes to make it run - depleting our natural resources. You can choose to drive this type of car, but you pay extra to have that luxury. These taxes would go to research…maybe to produce a better battery for hybrids?

by Debra Mosso

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ethics & Planned Obsolescence

By: Mohamed Al-Khayarin

In this article, the author explains that Planned Obsolescence may make sense from a business perspective, but rarely is it the right thing to do, from an ethical perspective.  The article astutely points out that protecting the environment has become a goal for so many companies and countries, and yet they all produce goods that break or fail within 3 years of construction.

This line of thinking produces numerous questions.  First, is it right to sell customers inferior products?  Second, what is it doing to the environment?  Third, is it safe for the consumer?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blu Ray Disc

This article explains Planned obsolescence and how it was popularized in the 1950’s and how it’s a big trend in the Electronic Market. This article was written in January 2010 and it states that DVD players will be replaced by Blu-Ray Disc in 5 to 7 years. So that means that millions of homes will be replacing their DVD players with the next best thing. Yet, how long will Blu-Ray Disc stay ahead of the technology curve? Five to 10 years, or just long enough for the numbers to show that enough people have bought Blu-Ray Player so they will have to upgrade to the next best thing.

“And with advertising and marketing in the CE industry firmly lined up behind Blu-ray Disc — when was the last time you saw an ad or a commercial for a standard DVD player? — I find it highly unlikely that anyone whose DVD player dies is going to rush out and buy another DVD player. Instead, they're going to buy a Blu-ray Disc player, in accordance with Brooks Stevens' contention that the reason those DVD players died in the first place was a carefully orchestrated move by the CE industry to instill in the consumer "the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary."

If you are a rebel to keep the dying DVDs and DVD players take note that manufactures of DVD products have put into measures to force you to switch to the next best thing out of annoyance. The scratches, smudges or even the durability of a DVD are very low. This is done on purpose so that you have to buy a new copy or in a deeper thought for you to wait for the better and improved DVD….or Blu-Ray Disc.

“The same goes for DVD software. Manufacturers could have put a protective layer on DVD to prevent scratching or other damage, but failed to do so, citing the extra cost. How many of DVDs purchased 10, seven, even five years ago are still playable, particularly in households with children (or adults who like to have a cocktail or three while watching classic film noir)?”

We could all imagine the tons of the plastic and electronic waste is would create!

Ryan Flitcroft

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where and how far have "Planned Obsolescence" taken us?

Last week I went to the mall to buy a pair of shoes and my friend went with me because we decided to stop and have a dinner after leaving the mall. When I got to the shoes department in one of the biggest store in the mall, I didn’t find what I was looking for except a pair of shoes that I didn’t really like. However, because I need a new pair as soon as possible to wear for a birthday party next day, I asked my friend to help me decide. When I asked him, he directly said, “buy them you will buy a new pair three months from now anyways”. He is right, I’m going to replace them with new once soon. This is how we think nowadays. We don’t pay enough attention to our purchases because we know that we are going to buy the same stuff and replace the old once soon. This is where the idea of Planned Obsolescence took us so far.

In his article “Planned Obsolescence: A Plan or a Plot?” Tom Egelhoff reminds me of how back in the days products used to be stronger and last longer. In the beginning of his article, he says “When I was a boy, growing up in the mid-west, I remember hearing my father remarking about many products he bought, "The salesman told me we'll never have to buy another one, it'll last a lifetime." This is the way how people used to think before the purchase. They ask about the lifetime of the product and they less likely to buy some products that do not last long. Nowadays, we can not ask the same question to a salesman because we know that we always have to replace what we purchase soon, because of the changes of either product technological features or style. We are accepting the idea behind Planned Obsolescence so we should find solution for this issue and not ask business owners or marketers do it instead because I believe we are one of the main responsibles for that issue. 

Planned Obsolescence:
A Plan or a Plot?

Added by:
Saud Alsultan

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Free Geek.

Ok then,
we've been talking about the recycling and  the obsolete hardware for the past 5 weeks..
here is something a bit different..

what would you do with your old hardware or computer?
sometimes it is a must to change your PC or laptop in order to keep up with the updates.. and the new versions of every software..
or to have compatible software/hardware..

but what would you do with the old one?

it's simple:
Free Geek accepts computers and computer related hardware in any condition, so bring your stuff over to us regardless of whether it is functional or not. Free Geek proudly participates in the Oregon E-Cycles program which offers free and convenient recycling of computers, monitors, and televisions for all Oregonians. If you have more than 7 of these items, please call ahead to determine if we will accept the additional computers, monitors, or televisions for free.
Free Geek accepts nearly everything that plugs into a computer or an electrical outlet. We are happy to accept your printer, scanner, router, UPS, digital camera, PDA, cell phone, and a whole lot more! Free Geek has suggested monetary donation amounts for individual pieces of hardware. These funds support our volunteer programs, keep the lights on, and are much appreciated! As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization all donations to Free Geek are tax deductible.
If you will be bringing in pallet loads of equipment, please call ahead to set up an appointment and verify what we are able to accept free of charge.

Added by:
Fahad AlNassar

360 Meltdown

Planned Obsolescence
I am choosing one of the biggest and most notable electronic devices known by the consumer today that fails frequently, the Xbox 360.  The Xbox 360 is a console used to play game, listen to music, watch videos, and stream the net.  This is a well known device amongst kids, teens and even adults. Even with their ups and down this system is still being purchased today and enjoyed by many.
The Xbox 360 was released in the United States on November 16th 2005 and on that date many did not expect the situations they would be encountering. Personally I have had three different Xbox consoles experience problems in the past and have had to get them fixed. In an Interview from a source that worked at Microsoft they said that the failure rate for an Xbox 360 console is at our around 30%. That to me is outrageous being as the 360 console has been in production for five years now and they haven’t changed the problem. This without a doubt is planned obsolescence because they probably knew while producing this console that this could happen and kept it that way to make more money. IT is also said that not only does the console fail on its own that even certain games can accelerate your consoles failure. That to me is a partnership that the console company and gaming company made together to what again, make more money.
Evan Kinto

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Put An End to Junk Mail

                  Put an End to Junk Mail!

According to The Clean Air Council, “Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year. Most of it winds up in landfills.” It seems like a daily frustration to go to the mailbox and find it strewn with catalogs, credit card offers, and ads from local utility companies. Then there’s election time, where many people are inundated with cards and letters from political candidates. Don’t they realize they can easily turn off voters by sending this junk mail? How about opening up your front door to find a door hanger from the local pizza parlor?

If you would like to put a stop to most of the junk mail you receive from major national marketers, contact the Direct Marketing Associations Mail Preference Service. You can register quickly and for free online at For additional information on putting a stop to junk mail, visit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse at

By:  Victoria Walton