Friday, June 11, 2010

In Style

Evan Kinto

    For my last blog I wanted to chose something that had to do with clothes. All of the different apparels we as people wear and how things can become outdated so fast. That is, what the companies know and thrive off of that we the people will migrate to different styles of clothes. Whether it be because of the seasonal change or that it just isn’t in style anymore.
    One thing that is for sure we don’t need to switch our attire when each season comes and goes. We don’t need to have separate attires for each period of the year. Back in the day there couldn’t have been more then two or three different types of outfits to chose from whether or not it was summer or winter. Now a days people are so diverse that they feel they need to be different from one another and chose to have multiple outfits some that may not even make any sense.
    Overall planned obsolescence is a garbage idea unless I am the CEO of the company who will be making millions of dollars. In that case I feel like I probably would be able to get over it and enjoy my money because life is short and one man cannot change the things in life that are not fair but if we all get together then maybe we have a chance.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Think about it before you throw your computer in the dump!!!

These days’ computers are on the rise to be easier outdated than ever before.  I personally have been through 2 laptops in the past year and the latest one I have isn’t up to par with all the new essential things I need to do.  Some of the essential things I would like to be able to do, are things such as gaming on the PC and to be able to watch movies directly to my TV with an HDMI cable.  On the other hand throwing junk out like obsolete computers seems to be the most common junk that is being thrown out these days. says that “at least 90 percent of the 315 million still-functional personal computers discarded in North America in 2004 were trashed.”  To me that number is incredibility surprising, Instead we can find people who are less fortunate, so they can at least use computers to be able to type or even browse the internet.  This is what I did, when my family had gotten new LCD monitors in place for our CRT monitors Instead of dumping them away through garbage sites I took them to Goodwill and donated them, plus I got money back when I filed my taxes through the donation section.      

Jesse Kim

3D TVs will not take off!!!!!

The new 3D TVs to me by far seems to be one of the most interesting topics this year in terms of electronics.  I mean it seems like yesterday we all had to purchase High definition TVs just to be able to watch TV in HD.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like high definition should not already be outdated, it basically just started!  Now there is this, first of all what are we going to do with these high definition TVs and do they actually think people are going to waste their money on buying a 3D TV right now.  I mean the price is oblivious, according to  The prices for the TVs will be from anywhere around $3,000 to $12,000.  Right now to me it just seems like a waste of money, I don’t think that 3D will be the next standard.  I don’t know about you, but when I am watching TV I like to do other things at the exact same time.  Sometimes I like to be searching the internet or talking or texting on my cell phone.  It seems presumptuous that people will throw out their high definition TV.  I would suggest just donating it or just sell it to someone that would have interest in it instead of leaving it out to rot in a landfill.  There are even companies that take in your old TV for credit.  Now the new standard will be that we must purchase a new TV again that is if we want the most out of our cable and satellite, a different BLU-ray player, new 3D Blu-ray movies, and possibly a different audio system that can encode the right frequencies.  We also have to purchase these 3d glasses which cost a fortune ($200 plus).  To me I would not purchase any of this.  I would honestly not endorse this; I believe the only way to watch 3D movies should be viewed in a movie theater.  In that kind of environment everyone is focused on the screen, so there is no way anybody can be doing anything such as browse the web or even text messaging.  Furthermore it would be a waste of money for us to even think about not paying full attention to the movie that we pay for.  

So most importantly are you as a consumer going to purchase a 3D TV or simply just buy a normal high definition TV, my answer is as of right now I will buy a high definition TV.  For the simple reason that high definition TV has not even hit its peak and I believe that it will take quite some time for companies to produce these 3D TV at the right cost.  Probably within less than 5-7 years 3D TV could actually be a a standard, where consumers would be paying a lot less than they would be right now.  Also to say that all the issues of being a first generation TV would be out of the way within that time span.

Jesse Kim

Blu-ray is the new King

First it was VHS now DVDs, what next Blu-ray? To beat out DVDs as the new standard it is amazing how fast Blu-ray has made such a huge impact on the electronic market. This new equipment will cost us just a little more, but I am completely confident that the Blu-ray will completely take over as the new standard (it will eventually get there). In this case we can view the Blu-ray system as being something that is a built in planned obsolescence because the Blu-ray player actually is a pretty intelligent system. If we pop in a DVD into the Blu-ray system we can notice that the DVD is actually being enhanced, so the picture and sound quality is better. Not only will the Blu-ray player enhance DVDs, but if there is firmware update on the device, consumers can actually upgrade through the internet because the Blu-ray system has an ethernet outlet on the back to be able to update their systems to eventually get the maximum potential out of their players. This makes it easier for the consumer to be able to update it instead of buying a new one each and every time something new comes out. When throwing away DVD players to the dump site it will cause a negative impact towards our environment, so instead of going through more DVD players because they're only suppose to last for some fixed years and wasting your money there, I would highly encourage someone to buy a Blu-ray player, especially if you already have a high definition TV.

by Jesse Kim

The most irritating thing we buy for our printers!!!

When it comes to printers I believe that most companies usually build their printers quite well for the most part. Then there are those accessories and the things we must buy in order to be able to operate our printers. What I’m talking about is those ink cartridges, those ink cartridges can cost a lot when you know you have to at least replace it three times a year. It gets really annoying, for me I just take advantage of the schools lab and print my things out at school. For those who are less fortunate and who are not students I wonder what they do. More importantly what happens to all the empty cartridges? I remember a few years ago back when Office Depot use to give packages of new blank printing paper. That incentive is long gone now, but if they created that kind of program again I would be completely confident that program would succeed. According to, “empty cartridges pollute the land and water table”. The resources are there for people to use, recycling programs that enable us to use at an easy and affordable cost. Business like Hewlett Packard are starting to take used cartridges and build more enhanced cartridges that last longer and more inexpensive towards the consumer. One of the most surprising things I got from this was that some organizations that receive cartridges through recycling even plant a tree for each one they receive. These are the programs we need to take advantage of. More importantly what people don’t know is that the companies that recycle ink cartridges are using less energy and less oil needed to recreate cartridges. Before we actually go out there and throw it away (ink cartridge) we must find by any means possible a program that not only helps us as a consumer, but more importantly the environment.

Jesse Kim

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Oil Oil Oil

Evan Kinto

Have you ever heard those quick lube places that all say “Change your oil every 300 miles!” yeah? Well that may not be the case, that is if you actually took the time to figure out that not all oil need to be swapped out at 3000 miles.
How can we accomplish this you may ask? Well being as that the majority of the oil companies design their oils to break down after 3000 miles. The mineral oil that we all use on a day to day basis driving is not designed to last. Fortunately there are oils out there that people may not know about that will make you able to drive up to 25,000 to 30,000 miles on one oil cycle! Crazy right but its true, it’s called fully-synthetic oil. The first company to come out with fully-synthetic oil for an automobile is the AMSOIL Corporation. Being that they were the first ones to start out with it, they obviously have the most experience with creating quality synthetic oil.
Overall once again these companies are at work to figure out how to suck us dry of our money. We need to stay educated on the different alternatives out there so one day we can all have things that can last for a more realistic period of time.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Artistic use of old products-

By: Dan Flatten

Planned obsolescence is something that everyone should be working against, but sometimes it can't be stopped entirely. Every effort to make companies more accountable for their actions is a good start, and legislation is a one of the best ways to do this. Hopefully these initiative can slow or even stop it, but for the time being, planned obsolescence is real and a very big problem we face in society.

Recycling is another way we can cushion the impact of these quickly expired products on our environment. Reusing existing material is excellent, but not everything can be recycled, and getting everyone to recycle proves to be the hardest thing to do. Many people think outside the box though and have found other uses for their obsolete products in forms of beautiful and appreciated art! Although it's not reusing or stopping companies from producing purposely defective products, it at least put them to use in other ways keeping them out of landfills.

People have used old computers in a variety of artistic ways, and others have used things like old washing machines or even old television sets. They provide the means to produce visually pleasing pieces of art for people to appreciate and can also be a means to make statements as well. So by using old material, artists can make statements about planned obsolescence, further getting people involved and changing minds of the people in our society.

The next time you're having trouble finding use for an old product, and there isn't an option to recycle it, think outside the box and use the right side of your brain to create a work of art. Take that even further, and use that art to make a statement about the irresponsible corporations making inferior products to making planned obsolescence a thing of the past.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cell Phone Recycling: How to Recycle Your Old Cell Phone

Who would ever think that cell phones, that small electronic gadget could damage the environment so bad that it is now considered a competitor for the dame of the computer waste. Environmentalists are concerned about the most growing trash's and cell phones is considered one of them.

According to the article " The average North American gets a new cell phone every 18 to 24 months, making old phones—many that contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardants and arsenic—the fastest growing type of manufactured garbage in the nation. "
The question of what is next is raised. Good thing that there are well known organizations, some are non-profit are concerned for this specific issue. Some examples are:

Convenient Recycling Support for Cell Phone Users, by Call2Recycle.
The CollectiveGood organization takes used cell phones, refurbishes them, and then re-sells them to distributors and carriers.
Another player is ReCellular, which manages the in-store collection programs for Bell Mobility, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile, Best Buy and Verizon.

Finally, a fact that was argued is States and Provinces Lead the Way on Mandatory Cell Phone Recycling. It is true that some states do actually mandate and others don't and the case is the same in Canada. This will defiantly have its own major impact on phone recycling.

Yousef Alomran

The Benefits of Plastics Recycling: Why Recycle Plastics?

Plastics are used to manufacture an incredible number of products we use every day, such as beverage and food containers, trash bags and grocery bags, plastic cups and utensils, children's toys and diapers, and bottles for everything from mouthwash and shampoo to glass cleaner and dishwashing liquid. And that's not even counting all the plastic that goes into furniture, appliances, computers and automobiles.

So many products that we use every day relies on plastic in their manufacturing. For example, the computer you are working on, it only needs you to look what is your surroundings and you will find out that it is mostly made of plastic almost everything. However, the concern is there is so much of it that producing more would only mean harming the environment more.

So the question comes to what will plastic recycling benefit the community? The environment? The article provides a couple of benefits, and those are:

Recycling Plastics Conserves Energy and Natural Resources
Recycling Plastics Saves Landfill Space
Recycling Plastics is Relatively Easy
Plastics Recycling: Room for Improvement

Numbers shows that In 2008, only 6.8% of plastics in the public solid waste were recycled—about 2.1 million tons of the 30 tons of plastic waste generated that year. This requires action, and from the people and the companies that leave their chemical, which plastic is most of it, waste in the soil resulting in more damage.

Yousef Alomran


10 Ways to Conserve Soil

No one can hide the fact that we get our daily resources from the soil the article provides 10 steps in order to conserve soil and by that will result in benefiting the community as a whole. Those steps are:
Plant trees, TerracesNo-till farming, Contour ploughing, Crop rotation, Soil pH, Water the soil, Salinity management, Soil organisms, Indigenous Crops.
I would suggest contacting two parties the first and most important are the local community who are affected directly from any harm in its soil; the local community would take actions with trying implementing those strategies. A second and important party would be contacting major corporations that are mostly concerned about the environment. Those 10 steps should be presented to them and then they will take actions that should benefit that environment.

By Yousef Alomran


Friday, June 4, 2010

Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive, Study Shows

The Feeling sluggish solution may require getting outside the box -- that big brick-and-mortar box called a building. Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive, finds a series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology. And that sense of increased vitality exists above and beyond the energizing effects of physical activity and social interaction that are often associated with our forays into the natural world, the studies show.

"Nature is fuel for the soul, " says Richard Ryan, lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. "Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature," he says.

The findings, adds Ryan, are important for both mental and physical health. "Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don't just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings," says Ryan.

In recent years, numerous experimental psychology studies have linked exposure to nature with increased energy and heightened sense of well-being. For example, research has shown that people on wilderness excursions report feeling more alive and that just recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health. Other studies suggest that the very presence of nature helps to ward off feelings of exhaustion and that 90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities.

What is novel about this research, write the authors, is that it carefully tests whether this increased vitality associated with the outdoors is simply the feel-good spillover from physical activity and people-mixing often present in these situations. To tease out the effects of nature alone, the authors conducted five separate experiments, involving 537 college students in actual and imagined contexts. In one experiment, participants were led on a 15-minute walk through indoor hallways or along a tree-lined river path. In another, the undergraduates viewed photographic scenes of buildings or landscapes. A third experiment required students to imagine themselves in a variety of situations both active and sedentary, inside and out, and with and without others.

Two final experiments tracked participants' moods and energy levels throughout the day using diary entries. Over either four days or two weeks, students recorded their exercise, social interactions, time spent outside, and exposure to natural environments, including plants and windows.

Across all methodologies, individuals consistently felt more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in such situations. The findings were particularly robust, notes Ryan; being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day was enough to significantly boost vitality levels. Interestingly, in the last study, the presence of nature had an independent energizing effect above that of being outdoors. In other words, conclude the authors, being outdoors was vitalizing in large part because of the presence of nature.

The paper builds on earlier research by Ryan, Netta Weinstein, a psychologist at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and others showing that people are more caring and generous when exposed to nature. "We have a natural connection with living things," says Ryan. "Nature is something within which we flourish, so having it be more a part of our lives is critical, especially when we live and work in built environments." These studies, concludes Ryan, underscore the importance of having access to parks and natural surroundings and of incorporating natural elements into our buildings through windows and indoor plants.

The paper was coauthored by Weinstein; Jessey Bernstein, McGill University; Kirk Warren Brown, Virginia Commonwealth University; Louis Mastella, University of Rochester; and Marylène Gagné, Concordia University.


By Yousef Alomran

Mutant Gene Link to West Nile Virus in Horses

The same mutated gene that makes humans more susceptible to the potentially fatal West Nile virus is also responsible for the virus affecting horses, according to scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia. A naturally occurring mutation of the OAS1 gene has now been confirmed as increasing the vulnerability of horses to the West Nile virus, thanks to a study led by Professor David Adelson (University of Adelaide) and conducted by PhD student Jonathan Rios (Texas A&M University).

The results of the study were published last month in the online peer-reviewed science journal PLoS ONE.

West Nile virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, resulting in paralysis and death in humans, horses, birds and other species.

"Horses have been seriously affected by the West Nile virus, especially in North America where vaccinations, treatments and the loss of horses have cost countless millions of dollars to horse owners, industry and the community," says Professor Adelson, who is Professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Genetics at the University of Adelaide's School of Molecular & Biomedical Science.

"The OAS gene cluster in horses most closely resembles that of humans. Because previous research had already identified mutations of OAS1 as playing a key role in the vulnerability of mice and humans to the West Nile virus, we felt it was worth investigating this potential link in horses.

"These genetic mechanisms seem to be playing a similar role in humans and horses in terms of allowing the West Nile virus to take its hold on the body.

"We believe this discovery will be of great interest to horse owners and those involved in controlling the spread of the virus. Knowing that a mutated OAS1 gene is playing a key role in this problem, valuable horses could be screened to check for the presence of the mutation and therefore susceptibility to the virus," Professor Adelson says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection, in 2009 there were 720 reported human cases of West Nile virus across the United States, including more than 30 deaths.

The virus has been found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania as well in North America. Australia remains free of the virus at this stage.

Yousef Alomran

Fires in Amazon Challenge Emission Reduction Program

Fire occurrence rates in the Amazon have increased in 59% of areas with reduced deforestation and risks cancelling part of the carbon savings achieved by UN measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation. New research led by the University of Exeter, published on June 4, in Science, analysed satellite deforestation and fire data from the Brazilian Amazon to understand the influence of United Nation's REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) policy on fire patterns in Amazonia. The NERC (National Environment Research Council) funded research shows that fire incidences may increase even with a decrease in deforestation rates.

Amazonian farmers are prone to keeping agricultural land free of new growth by 'slash and burn' methods, usually on a three to five yearly cycle. The extra carbon emitted by the leakage of fires from farms into surrounding forests edges and forest fragments as well as deforestation of forest regrowth, which are not accounted by the Brazilian's deforestation monitoring system may therefore be partially negating carbon savings achieved through the UN REDD programme.

The research suggests that if sustainable fire-free land-management of deforested areas is not adopted in the UN-REDD programme, any carbon savings achieved by avoiding deforestation would be partially offset by increased emissions from fires.

The UN-REDD programme is a multi donor trust fund which provides appropriate revenue streams to the right people, making it worth their while to change their forest resources behaviour. The efficiency of the UN-REDD programme as a climate change mitigation strategy depends upon the stabilisation of deforestation and degradation of the world's largest rainforest, the Amazon.

Dr Luiz Aragão an Environmental Scientist at the School of Geography, University of Exeter said, 'Changes in fire frequency could jeopardise the benefits achieved through UN-REDD as trends in fires are the opposite to trends in deforestation. However despite UN-REDD's vital importance in this region, fire is currently neglected in the emerging UN framework.'

Naturally occurring fires are very rare in the Amazon. Fires are normally caused by humans who farm the land. Burning deforested areas on a three to five year rotational basis improves the nutrients in the soil keeping it fertile and at a level that can produce food. Predications that climate change will create a drier area across the Amazon adds to the concern, as it is a difficult to control the spread of fires in such vast areas. The best option is to stop fires from occurring in the first place.

Dr Aragao explained, 'We need to change the way Amazonian people use and manage their land so that they can do this without fire. They would need financial assistance for machinery, training and technical support to enable them to comply with implementation and maintenance of fire-free management of their land.'

He added, 'By changing land management practices in already deforested areas to fallow management and introducing more diversified and sustainable agricultural practices at a co-operative community level, it is possible to drastically reduce fires and carbon emissions. It would be expensive but it would protect the stability of Amazonian carbon stocks and diversity.'

Yousef Alomran

Thursday, June 3, 2010

China puts recycled cigarette butts to good use

BEIJING — Chinese scientists say they have found a way for the countless cigarette butts that are tossed every day on streets, beaches and other public places to be reused -- in protecting steel pipes from rusting.

The remnants of used cigarettes, among the world's most common form of trash, leak chemicals that have been shown to kill fish and damage the environment. The problem could be alleviated if new uses are found for the cigarette butts.

"When people walk on the streets, they usually see cigarette butts scattered everywhere, on the ground or the grass," said Jun Zhao, a Ph.D. student at the Xi'an Jiaotong University, by telephone. "I felt it was quite significant to do a project related to environmental protection."

The study is particularly relevant to China, where about 30 percent of the world's smokers live, a number roughly equal to the entire U.S. population. The country is home to both the world's largest tobacco grower and cigarette producer.

Zhao and other researchers in northwest China said Friday they have found that cigarette butts soaked in water can help guard against corrosion in a type of steel commonly used in the oil industry.

The finding was recently published in the American Chemical Society journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Zhao said she started the research after noticing that cigarette butts turn the color of water brown when immersed in it, like the color of antiseptics. "That inspired me to wonder if the two are related," she said.

The researcher started collecting cigarette butts for the project around 18 months ago, picking them up from ashtrays atop roadside trash cans and collecting them from friends whom she had asked to save the butts.

"I have bags and bags of cigarette butts for the project. I have no idea how many of them I have," she said.

Researchers found that extracts of cigarette butt water could substantially protect N80 type steel from corroding when in hydrochloric acid at 90 degrees Celsius (194 degrees F). That type of steel is often used to make drill rods, which costs oil producers millions of dollars annually when they corrode.

A compound material produced from the burning of nicotine and tar is what protects against corrosion, Zhao said, adding she planned to study its effect on preventing rusting in other metals.

The findings are "very convincing," said Guy D. Davis, a materials consultant based in Baltimore, Maryland, with 30 years of experience researching the treatment of surfaces.

Together with another researcher, Davis has previously studied the use of tobacco extracts on steel and aluminum. "Tobacco seems to be one of the best plant-based inhibitors" of corrosion, Davis said.

But using tobacco to guard against metal corrosion has its limitations, Davis said, including that it acts as a nutrient for mold over time and "develops an obnoxious odor."


written By:
Abdul Bin Muammar

An incentive to recycle that old printer -- money for a new one

"I've got a colleague in The Oregonian newsroom who has been driving around for months with an old computer printer in her trunk because she doesn't know where to recycle it"

This tells me two things:

1) My colleague has not read my copious blog entries on e-waste recycling resources. Curses!

2) Staples, which is offering a limited time, free printer take-back program when you buy a new one, might be on to something.

According to the company Web site, Staples has a pretty extensive in-store recycling program. They take back most computer-related electronics from any manufacturer, but for larger equipment (computers, fax machines, printers, scanners) there is a $10 handling charge per machine. (Notably, they'll take back Dell products at no charge).

• Now through May 2, 2009, Staples will skip the $10 charge for accepting your printer and give you a $50 rebate with the purchase of a new regular-price printer at the store.

• On April 22, Earth Day, the store will skip the $10 takeback charge on any one technology product it sells in any Staples store, including telephones, digital cameras, computers, laptops and GPS devices.
Staples says it collected more than 100,000 printers for recycling last spring during a similar event. The company says it recycles products through Eco International, which "disassembles the equipment into its component parts in the U.S. for environmentally responsible recycling."

• Other technology retailers and manufacturers offer takeback programs, for a fee or sometimes for free. Check the company Web sites that make or sell your product for details. Also, Metro regional government's "find a recycler" tool allows you to search for local recyclers by product and location.

• Staples doesn't accept televisions -- but no worries. Oregonians and Washingtonians can recycle TVs, computer monitors, desktops and laptops for free via new statewide programs. Visit Oregon E-Cycles or E-Cycle Washington to find a drop-off site near you.

• If your computer is still usable, keep in mind reuse organizations such as Portland's Free Geek that refurbish discarded computers for people who need them.

written By:
Abdul Bin Muammar

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Oil Cleanup Dirty, Not Toxic, For Workers

Oil Cleanup Dirty, Not Toxic, For Workers
About 20,000 workers are toiling long hours to clean up all that oil in the Gulf of Mexico. It's a dirty, exhausting job. But are these workers endangering their health by spending all that time around crude oil and chemical dispersants?
Sometimes they are, says Damon Dietrich, an emergency room doctor at West Jefferson Medical Center, just south of New Orleans.
The hospital has seen 11 cleanup workers in the past few weeks with symptoms such as dizziness, headache and nausea, Dietrich says.
"We've got to believe that it's either the burning of the oil, working around the oil spill or the dispersants that are causing their symptoms," he says.
Most cleanup workers, though, haven't had problems. And air quality measurements from around the gulf suggest that pollutant levels are actually quite low.
So at the moment, the greatest health risk is probably not chemicals, says Joseph Hughes, Jr., from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' training unit for workers with hazardous materials. It's heat stress from people working "incredible hours" in temperatures hovering around 95 degrees.
Experience with the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska may explain why oil isn't causing more health problems. Scientists realized that even though oil contains highly toxic chemicals like carcinogen benzene, they usually dissipate within a couple of days of being exposed to air and light.
And it's reassuring that a federal study of 11,000 workers involved in the Exxon Valdez cleanup did not find many health problems.
But things might be different in this spill because the gulf is so much warmer, and lacks the wind and wave patterns of Alaska, says Bob Emery of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
Higher temperatures, he says, could release toxins that would otherwise stay locked inside of tarballs. Also, nearly a million gallons of chemical dispersant have been used to break up the oil in the Gulf — far more than was used in Alaska.
By: Abdulaziz Aljasser

How to Protect Animals when recycling plastics

How to Protect Animals when recycling plastics

Recycling cans, paper, plastic and bottles is an important thing that we can do to protect our environment. By taking the time to collect these items and putting them out for them to be collected and reused, we can leave a smaller footprint upon the earth. If you keep your recycle bin outside you should be aware that animals may be attracted by the smell of food if containers have not been thoroughly cleaned. I walk my dogs every morning. On one particular trash collection morning I noticed a plastic peanut butter jar lying on the ground. The trash collection trucks had already stopped on my street. So, I picked up the jar and took it to my house where I dropped it in my bin, not thinking much about it. Bear in mind that I keep my recycle bin outside in a fenced in area with the garbage cans. 
A day or so later I noticed what I believe to be the same jar, only this time it had been partially chewed away. Again, I picked it up and took it to my bin. The next day I found it in the neighbors yard. This time it was half eaten away. At this point I realized that because there was still a small amount of peanut butter in the jar some animal was trying to eat it's way to the peanut butter. This time I picked up the jar and put it in my garbage can, which has a locking lid.

By: Abdulaziz Aljasser

Why is Recycling Important?

Why is Recycling Important?

The importance of recycling can be observed in multiple ways. If you are wondering in your mind as to "why I should recycle" then here are some causes, which should convince you to do so.

• Recycling Saves Energy When new products are manufactured from the raw material obtained from recycled products, it saves a lot of energy, which is consumed for the production. When new products are manufactured from ‘virgin materials’, the amount of energy consumed is much higher. Besides, the energy required to acquire and transport the ‘virgin’ raw materials from their origins or natural sources is also saved. Add to that the energy which is required to clean and protect the environment from the pollutant waste products, especially those which are non-biodegradable (plastic) and fill up the landfill areas.
• Recycling Saves Environmental Conditions and Reduces Pollution Recycling helps in preventing global climate change to a great extent. By minimizing the energy spent on industrial production, recycling also helps in reducing greenhouse gas emission. Some of the major fossil fuels used in most industries include coal, diesel, gasoline etc. All these emit harmful gases such as methane, sulfur dioxide, carbon-dioxide to the environment. The processing of fresh raw material also creates toxic materials which pollute the environment. By reducing the energy used, recycling also minimizes the amount of fuel usage which in turn reduces the amount of harmful pollutants in the environment.

• Recycling Saves Natural Resources We know that recycling involves the processing and usage of the core elements of an old product for the production of new products. This helps in saving our natural resources to a great extent. For example, once an old newspaper is recycled we do not need to use the resource of another tree to produce new paper products. This way, proper recycling can help us preserve our natural resources for our future generations and maintain the balance of the nature.

• Economic Benefits Similar to energy and natural resource, recycling also helps in saving a lot of expense, demanded for the production of new products from ‘virgin’ materials. These expenses include the entire production cycle starting from acquiring the raw materials, transferring them from their origin to production places, processing and manufacturing costs. 
Recycling process creates employment opportunities for a lot of people, involved in the various stages of the process. This in turn contributes to the economic development of the state or country.

• Recycling Saves Space for Waste Disposal Most of the landfill sites are filled up with a lot of waste products that could have been recycled effectively. Some of these waste materials belong to non-biodegradable category which takes a long time to decompose. Recycling enables proper usage of these waste products and saves space for landfills. The pace with which landfills are getting filled up, soon we might run short of landfills unless we start following recycling at our own home and spread the word to others.

By: Abdulaziz Aljasser

How to Go Green: Recycling

How to Go Green: Recycling

Recycling got it's start almost four decades ago, when a U.S. paper company wanted a symbol to communicate its products’ recycled content to customers. The design competition they held was won by Gary Anderson, a young graphic designer from the University of Southern California. His entry, based on the Mobius strip (a shape with only one side and no end) is now universally recognized as the symbol for recycling.
To many people, recycling conjures up the blue plastic bins and bottle drives. But recycling is a design principal, a law of nature, a source of creativity, and a source of prosperity. For anyone looking to make recycling a more integral part of their lives, this guide is an overview of the basic legwork as well as some of the finer and more advanced concepts that have emerged in recent years.
By: Abdulaziz Aljasser

Cradle to Cradle - Paper or Plantain?

The term “Cradle to Cradle” was first conceived in the 1970’s by Walter R. Stahel. Authors McDonough and Braungart took this concept a step further in their book, “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” suggesting that we can learn a thing or two from nature’s example. The notion of taking recycling to the next level by promoting a completely sustainable product just might be the solution for the future.

While we may try to lessen our impact on the environment by choosing paper instead of plastic or selecting an alternate source of power, there is ultimately a price to pay in terms of end result. Eventually, refuse must be disposed of and ends up in our landfills or oceans. In nature, sustainability is ever present. Everything works together and is useful. Trees bear fruit and while some of this fruit will produce more trees, a large quantity will drop to the ground and rot. This fruit is not waste. It will provide nutrients to the earth to promote the growth of new trees.

Glass is one container that is 100% recyclable and reusable from cradle to cradle. It can be reused over and over again for food and beverages. Think how many plastic milk jugs are produced and end up as garbage, while a glass container could be returned to your local supermarket shelf in as little as four weeks time. In addition, recycling a single glass bottle can save enough energy to power a 60 watt light bulb for four hours or a computer for thirty minutes.

In the interest of the environment, we might choose a paper plate instead of a plastic one. But maybe we can take it one step further and make it a cradle to cradle, sustainable plate!

by Debra Mosso

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vacuum cleaners at their worst...

Written By: Dan Flatten

Have you ever noticed how ineffective, and useless your standard vacuum cleaner is after sometimes only a month of use? Well I sure have, I just recently purchased my 4th vacuum in the last 3 years. Granted, vacuums endure lots of use and abuse, however, not enough use to last less than a year for me. The most recent vacuum I purchased was over a hundred dollars and was a name brand, Dirt Devil. This vacuum, much like the others I've purchase in the past, worked great at first! Soon there after using it for about a month, I noticed the suction went way down. I took it apart, didn't notice any broken or missing parts, yet it seemed to not work nearly as well.

I'm a single male, living by myself in a relatively small house, and only vacuum at most 3 times a month. How is it that this nearly brand new vacuum works at roughly 50% capacity after only a few times of use? I would argue that this is planned obsolescence at it's worst!

Now, I may come off as some vacuum salesman here, but I assure you I have no affiliation to any vacuum cleaner company. Having been fed up with my current vacuum cleaner, I was complaining to my boss about it in a casual conversation and she mentioned that she just recently bought a Kirby vacuum cleaner from Goodwill, only paying $20. Some of these vacuums are nearly $3000 new, but according to her are well worth it. She stated that the 15 year old Kirby vacuum works better than any other store brand vacuum she had ever used and she could still purchase parts for it even though it's so old. This tells me that if Kirby can do that, there's really no reason other companies don't have similar life expectancies other than planned obsolescence.

Not only do Kirby vacuums work better and last longer, they come with those spare parts and parts that you can order from the company to get the vacuum in working order again instead of throwing it away and purchasing a new one. Have you ever known a company like Dirt Devil to sell parts for their $100 to $200 dollar vacuums you see so commonly displayed at retail stores such as Wal-Mart? Of course not, and that's because these companies want to build vacuums at a low cost, keeping profit margins high, and keeping you coming back to by a new every so often.

The next time you consider buying a vacuum, try and weigh these pros and cons. Just think, if you have to by a vacuum every couple months for $100, that's about $600 a year, or $3000 in just five years. Money is one thing, but also think about the usability. These cheap vacuums hardly work, more or less pushing dirt around your house, versus sucking it up. So when you're in the market for a new vacuum, which is likely pretty soon given the facts, consider buying a product that is well made, has spare parts or parts you can order, and cut your cleaning time in half with just a larger initial purchase.

No Replacement Parts?

One of the trickiest tricks in a company’s planned obsolescence strategies is the discontinuation of manufacturing replacement parts. It’s a good strategy for companies to increase their revenue. If there is not a replacement part for one of the older products you own, then you will be forced to go out and buy another product. Sometimes this means buying the exact same product but in a different “model number.”

Anyone with a cell phone has experienced the incredibly short life cell phone batteries have. My last cell phone battery initially would stay charged for at least a week. Over the course of about six months, that diminished to a day. Now, it stays charged for about three hours. So, I went out to buy a new cell phone battery – which they don’t make anymore. Instead of buying a $40 replacement battery, I left with an $80 cell phone.

I’ve had this happen with computer printers and ink cartridges, too, and other products around my house that I use every day. In the case of my printer, the “new” model I bought didn’t perform as well as my “outdated, old” model.

Maybe it’s time, then, to lobby for replacement parts to be accessible until the last “model” just won’t function anymore. Any suggestions?

By: Abdullah Alarifi

Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer or Electronic Products?

Many people may want to be more environmentally conscious with their old consumer electronics, but just they just don't know how or where to do so. Luckily, there are many different places and programs available to people and a lot of information on how to find them is located right here:


Posted by Brian Lemmon