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September 30, 2014

Innovations in mobile phone recycling: biomining to dissolving circuit boards

More than 1.8bn mobile phones were bought in 2013, but within just a few years, 44% of them could end up “hibernating” in drawers according to research from Hywel Jones, a materials scientist at Sheffield Hallam University. He estimates that the same share will be resold and passed on, 4% will end up in landfills and only 3% will be recycled.

The recycling challenge
Jones unsurprisingly sees major environmental and resource implications in the lack of phone recycling. Each phone contains about 300mg of silver and 30mg of gold. Between now and the end of 2020, 10m tonnes of electronic products will be purchased in the UK. This will include silver, gold and platinum group metals with an estimated total market value of £1.5bn.

Of the 20 different materials in a phone, only a small fraction are ever recuperated, even in the most sophisticated electronics recycling plants such as the huge smelting and electrolysis facility run by metals firm Umicore in Antwerp. In developing countries, where manual disassembly of electronics often takes place, the recovery rate is far lower and comes with the added risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals.

In a bid to head off this growing problem, private technology firms are developing systems to make phone recycling easier, cheaper and less hazardous. Academics meanwhile are hoping that designs for extending the useful life of phones (such as modular phones featuring replaceable components and “skins” that look better with age) can prevent them from being left in drawers in the first place.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

September 26, 2014

DuPont Printing Technology Halves Emissions

DuPont Packaging Graphics’ installation of two thermal processing systems at Wisconsin-based Bemis Graphics has helped cut the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent.

DuPont’s Cyrel Fast 3000TD offers a 53 percent savings in greenhouse gas generation and a 63 percent reduction in non-renewable energy consumption compared to solvent processing, based on a life cycle assessment by DuPont.

The Cyrel Fast is a plate making system that uses dry, thermal technology to process high quality photopolymer plates, which eliminates all solvents and aqueous solutions from the plate room.

Bemis Graphics had previously used a solvent-based plate making system. As that system neared the end of its useful life, the company was also approaching the emission limits established by the state environmental regulatory agency. Since the move to the DuPont system, solvent emissions are no longer a concern.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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category : Topics

September 18, 2014

E-waste recycling goes big in Singapore

Joint initiative by telecommunications company StarHub, e-waste recycler TES-AMM and courier firm DHL will allow consumers to dispose unwanted cellphones, laptops and other electronics in 100 bins islandwide by end of the year.

Recycling old cell phones, laptops, and other electronic waste (e-waste) in Singapore will now be easier, thanks to a new programme by global courier company DHL Express, telecommunications provider StarHub, and e-waste recycler TES-AMM which will see 100 e-waste bins installed across the island by year end.

The three companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at Singapore’s Environment Building on Tuesday to launch the ‘Recycling Nation’s Electronic Waste (RENEW) programme.

This is an expanded version of StarHub’s E-Waste Recycling Programme which began in 2012, and in partnership with TES-AMM, collected and processed e-waste from 30 bins islandwide.

The National Environment Agency estimates that Singapore produces 60,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, equivalent to the weight of 172 MRT trains. Half of this comes from consumers, and half from the industry sector.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

September 15, 2014

Carton Recycling Network Formed

The Carton Council of North America has formed a Carton Recycling Champions network, a group of companies committed to improving carton recycling.

Inaugural members are: Boxed Water Is Better, Crystal Creamery, Dean Foods, Fat Tuesday, GoodBelly, Just Beverages, Kemps, Leahy-IFP, Pacific Foods, The ReWall Company, Turner Dairy Farms and WhiteWave Foods.

A survey of American adults commissioned by CCNA and conducted by Research+Data Insights last fall further found that 86 percent of respondents say that they expect food and beverage brands to actively help increase the recycling of their packages. The survey also indicated that 76 percent of consumers look to the actual product packaging they purchase for recycling information ? even before turning to other resources, such as a city website.

Read more at Environmental Leader.

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category : Topics

September 12, 2014

The rise of south-south trade: a challenge for sustainable agriculture

Patterns of trade and the distribution of market power in the global economy are shifting ? rapidly. In the past, most trade in agricultural commodities occurred between the countries of the global south (sites of production) and the countries of the global north (sites of consumption).

But, in recent years, the volume of south-south trade has increased significantly. Today, some of the environmentally most problematic crops such as soya and oil palm are predominantly traded amongst southern countries. With a total import volume of 63m tonnes in 2013, China is now by far the largest buyer of internationally traded soya, and India’s share of the global palm oil trade is estimated to have reached 20% (China 16%, EU 14%).

The booming demand for soya and palm oil in emerging markets has further fuelled agricultural expansion, deforestation, and biodiversity loss in producer countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia ? creating a new sustainability crisis in the global south.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

September 2, 2014

Bridging the emotional disconnect between people and cities

Urban dwellers who care about conservation and are mindful about reducing energy consumption are a must-have for cities to achieve their sustainabilty goals, say experts at the International Green Building Conference 2014.

An economics-driven approach to urban development will inevitably aim to maximise the value of land area; this has led to the construction of dense, high-rise urban jungles in many countries and resulted in a swathe of identical, generic urban skylines across the globe.
This is no way to create cities that are sustainable or liveable, according to British landscape architect Andrew Grant, one of the key figures behind Singapore’s award-winning park, Gardens by the Bay.

Speaking at a plenary session at the International Green Building Conference on Tuesday, Grant, who founded and heads UK-based architecture firm Grant Associates, said that most urban expansion globally is taking place at the expense of surrounding natural spaces.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics


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