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  • Device refurbishers assess critical issues
    Nearly 300 IT product refurbishing experts convened in New Orleans this week to consider industry trends and to address barriers to growth. The event was the 14th annual Electronics Reuse Conference, now operated by the consulting firm E-Reuse Services. Source: E-scrap News, 11/2/17
  • iPhone X Release: The Human Cost of Apple's Most Expensive IPhone Ever
    Ten years of metronomic iPhone launches has not muted the mania surrounding the release of the iPhone X--dubbed by Apple as "the future of the smartphone." But beneath the din of delayed deliveries and overpriced devices are resurfacing allegations of human rights violations at supplier factories, including worker protests and abuse. Source: Newsweek, 11/3/17
  • China's recyclers eye looming electric vehicle battery mountain
    After years of dismantling discarded televisions and laptops, a Shanghai recycling plant is readying itself for a new wave of waste: piles of exhausted batteries from the surge of electric vehicles hitting China's streets. The plant has secured licenses and is undergoing upgrades to handle a fast-growing mountain of battery waste, said Li Yingzhe, a manager at the facility, run by the state-owned Shanghai Jinqiao Group. Source: Reuters, 10/22/17
  • Amazon, Microsoft and Google get low grades on recycling policy from Greenpeace
    In a report from Greenpeace, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Samsung all received low grades in the area of resource consumption. Fairphone received the highest grade, followed by Dell, HP, Apple and Lenovo. The organization also released a detailed report card, broken down into categories and sub-categories, explaining how it assigned rankings. Source: Waste Dive, 10/17/17
  • Apple made 2 simple changes to iPhone packaging that drastically cut the amount of plastic headed to the landfill
    Subtle changes in recent Apple packaging has significantly reduced the amount of plastic that ends up in the trash -- and most iPhone buyers probably didn't even notice. Apple was able to redesign iPhone 7 packaging to use 84% less plastic, the company revealed in a new report on its forestry operations. Source: Business Insider, 10/10/17
  • El-egg-tronics: how egg white could help us make transparent, flexible devices
    Materials scientists have found that egg white can be turned into a film-like substance that's perfect for making memory units. Researchers from Southwest University in China, led by Qunliang Song, showed that when egg white is mixed with hydrogen peroxide, a series of chemical reactions occur that allow the material to be turned into a film that can be used to make transparent, flexible resistive memory. Source: TechRadar, 9/29/17
  • French Lawsuit Takes on Printer Manufacturers and Planned Obsolescence
    Whether it has become the norm in the manufacturing of home appliances or smartphones, planned obsolescence is both bad for consumers and bad for the environment. The concept that products should be designed so they will become quickly unwanted or unusable has become the reality in many industries. A French legal organization, Halte Ă  L'Obsolescence ProgrammĂȘe (HOP), says it has seen enough of this trend, particularly when it comes to printer manufacturers. Recently, HOP filed a lawsuit in a local French court against some of the world's most widely-known brands. The lawsuit alleges that Brother, Canon, Epson and HP are amongst companies deliberately shortening the lifespan of both printers and cartridges. The litigation claims these companies' alleged business practice of manufacturing goods that purposefully stop working not long after their purchase violates a law French legislators passed in 2015. Source: Triple Pundit, 9/29/17
  • Welcome to the future, where your phone can fix its own smashed screen
    From self-healing phone screens to concrete that repairs itself, businesses are investing in futuristic materials. But can it curb our throwaway habits? Source: The Guardian, 8/30/17
  • EU body takes aim at planned obsolescence in devices
    A branch of the European Union is calling on stakeholders to improve the repairability of electronics and ferret out devices designed to have short lifespans. The European Parliament on July 4 voted to approve a resolution calling on the European Commission, member countries and producers to take steps to improve repairability. The resolution doesn't place any requirements into law. But it does signal the desire of the legislative body, which is directly elected by voters in each member country, to address the issue through future laws and voluntary programs. The parliament voted 662 to 32 to approve the resolution. The document seeks to have products built to last longer and made easier to repair. It suggests discouraging manufacturers from taking steps to prevent independent repair shops from making fixes, and it calls for spare parts to be made available. Among its long list of suggestions and requests, the document asks the European Commission, the EU's executive branch, to propose a EU-wide definition of planned obsolescence and to explore a system to test products for built-in obsolescence. It also calls for "better legal protection for 'whistleblowers' and appropriate dissuasive measures for producers." It addresses obsolescence for both hardware and software. Additionally, it calls on the commission to consider a voluntary labeling system informing consumers about a product's durability, eco-design features, upgradeability and repairability. Source: E-Scrap News, 7/13/17
  • States Grapple with Implementing E-Waste Recycling Laws
    Even though many of states are moving the needle forward on e-waste, some are running into barriers while working to implement these newly developed laws. Source: Waste360, 7/20/17
  • States Grapple with Implementing E-Waste Recycling Laws
    To date, 25 states and Washington, D.C., have electronics recycling laws, most of which are producer responsibility statutes. Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Minnesota are among those that have recently taken action to deal with fast-accumulating electronic waste. But even though many of these states are moving the needle forward, some are running into barriers while working to implement these newly developed laws. Source: Waste 360, 7/20/17
  • Lawmakers scramble to reform e-scrap program in Illinois
    Fearing a veto from the governor, Illinois stakeholders are attempting to iron out last-minute changes to legislation that would reshape the state's e-scrap law by requiring manufacturers to fund recycling of all covered material collected through the program. Following the successful passage of Senate Bill 1417 by both the state House and Senate late last month, lawmakers in Illinois have held back on sending the legislation to Gov. Bruce Rauner and have instead worked on a separate bill, HB 1955, to add several tweaks to the legislative overhaul. The changes, according to the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA), are aimed at appeasing concerns from the Illinois EPA that likely would have caused Gov. Rauner, a Republican, to veto the original legislation. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has also raised concerns about the bill. Source: E-scrap news, 6/29/17
  • HP Creates Social and Environmental Impact in Haiti with Launch of Ink Cartridges Made from Recycled Bottles
    HP has announced the launch of Original HP ink cartridges made with plastic from bottles recycled in Haiti. This joint initiative with Thread and the First Mile Coalition aims to improve the lives of the children who collect recyclable materials by providing them with educational opportunities, including scholarships, as well as full access to medical care and health and safety trainings. Source: CSR Wire, 6/15/17
  • American Chipmakers Had a Toxic Problem. Then They Outsourced It
    Twenty-five years ago, U.S. tech companies pledged to stop using chemicals that caused miscarriages and birth defects. They failed to ensure that their Asian suppliers did the same. Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, 6/15/17
  • 4 ways AI helps business protect the environment
    Growing global attention is leading to increasing regulations, deeper research and deployment of advanced sensing and mapping technologies. However, connecting the dots for better insights and solutions is difficult because the relevant information is often siloed, and decision makers are reluctant to act without a high degree of certainty. Today's complex supply chains make this an even tougher puzzle to unravel. Cognitive technology, enabled by artificial intelligence, or AI, is uniquely adapted to helping with these challenges, from finding patterns and interconnections within macro datasets to providing local, personalized diagnosis and predictions that learn and improve over time. With its ability to understand, reason and learn, cognitive technology is proving a great ally in protecting our planet in four key ways. Source: GreenBiz, 6/15/17
  • A more sustainable way to refine metals
    A team of chemists in Canada has developed a way to process metals without using toxic solvents and reagents. The system, which also consumes far less energy than conventional techniques, could greatly shrink the environmental impact of producing metals from raw materials or from post-consumer electronics. Source: McGill University, 6/7/17
  • U.S. Supreme Court to settle major cellphone privacy case
    Police officers for the first time could be required to obtain warrants to get data on the past locations of criminal suspects based on cellphone use under a major case on privacy rights in the digital age taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The justices agreed to hear an appeal by a man convicted in a series of armed robberies in Ohio and Michigan with the help of past cellphone location data who contends that without a warrant from a court such data amounts to an unreasonable search and seizure under the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment. Source: Reuters, 6/5/17
  • Nevada processor pushes forward on unique e-scrap project
    A fertilizer and silver producer has begun processing scrap printed circuit boards to isolate precious metals. Reno, Nev.-based Itronics provided an update on its process this week, explaining it is using two furnaces to recover gold, silver, palladium, tin and copper from circuit boards. Publicly traded Itronics processes scrap electronics sourced from New2U Computers, a nonprofit computer repair and disassembly operation in neighboring Sparks, Nev. that employs about 130 people with disabilities. Source: E-scrap news, 5/25/17
  • Dell Says the Circular Economy Is Good for Business: Q&A with Michael Murphy
    At Dell, obsolete electronics are viewed as a resource rather than waste. In North America, the Dell Reconnect program with Goodwill Industries accepts computer equipment of any brand for refurbishment or recycling. Since 2008, the company reports that it has collected 1.6 billion pounds of electronics from its global take-back programs.

    Scaling up is essential, especially to meet aggressive goals for incorporating post-consumer recycled content (PCR) into products, according to Michael Murphy, vice president of global product compliance engineering and environmental affairs at Dell Technologies. Murphy will be talking about the circular economy at the 2017 Environmental Leader Conference in June. Recently Environmental Leader caught up with him to find out how the world's largest technology recycler is closing the loop. Source: Environmental Leader, 5/10/17

  • Food packaging gets smart -- and poses a recycling nightmare
    Use of electronics in packaging is on the rise, raising questions about the recyclability of everyday products. Source: The Guardian, 5/10/17
  • Self-charging battery could put an end to your phone dying
    Source: The Telegraph, 4/25/17
  • Apple Forces Recyclers to Shred All iPhones and MacBooks
    Apple released its Environmental Responsibility Report Wednesday, an annual grandstanding effort that the company uses to position itself as a progressive, environmentally friendly company. Behind the scenes, though, the company undermines attempts to prolong the lifespan of its products. Source: Motherboard, 4/20/17
  • Samsung and Greenpeace: what you need to know about e-waste
    At the smartphone world's annual shindig in Barcelona, there are some things the tech giants have been trying to get people talking about -- the relaunch of the Nokia 3310, BlackBerry's new fingerprint scanner, Samsung's virtual reality headset. But there's another, less glamorous story that they haven't been so keen to promote. And that concerns the fate of their gadgets when consumers have finished with them. Source: The Guardian, 3/1/17
  • UL Environment, Green Electronics Council Unveil UL ECOLOGO/EPEAT Joint-Certification for Mobile Phones
    UL Environment, a business division of UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science leader, and the Green Electronics Council (GEC), managers of the EPEAT program, today announced a collaboration enabling mobile phones certified to the ANSI/UL 110 sustainability standard to also be featured on the EPEAT Registry, which is used by public and private institutional purchasers globally to identify and buy sustainable IT products. The UL ECOLOGO/EPEAT Joint Certification is now available for brands that wish to certify mobile phones to the latest version of the UL 110 standard and make them eligible for procurements and tenders that require EPEAT-registered products. Source: Green Electronics Council, 2/28/17
  • Dell Ships First Recycled Ocean Plastics Packaging in Its Industry
    Dell announces the technology industry's first shipment of ocean plastics packaging, the result of an innovative, commercial-scale pilot program. Dell recycled plastics collected from waterways and beaches for use in the new packaging tray for its Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, building on Dell's broader sustainable supply chain strategy. In 2017, its ocean plastics pilot will keep 16,000 pounds of plastic from entering the ocean. Dell will transition its award-winning XPS 13 2-in-1 to ocean plastics packaging beginning April 30, 2017. The company also will include educational information on its packaging to raise global awareness and action on ocean ecosystem health solutions, an area of shared interest between Dell, its Social Good Advocate, Adrian Grenier and the Lonely Whale Foundation. To help ensure the packaging does not end up back in the oceans, Dell will stamp each tray with the No. 2 recycling symbol, designating it as HDPE (which is commonly recyclable in many locations). Dell's Packaging team designs and sources its product packaging to be more than 93 percent recyclable by weight so that it can be reused as part of the circular economy. Source: Dell Inc., 2/22/17
  • NASA's new efficient super computing facility will save 1.3 million gallons of water a year
    The Electra system uses a fan technology that uses less than 10 percent of the energy of mechanical refrigeration systems in place at other supercomputing facilities. The system will save about 1 million kWh of electricity every year -- the equivalent of 90 households -- and 1.3 million gallons of water every year. Source: Treehugger, 2/22/17
  • IL: Will County hopes to expand electronic recycling
    Will County will continue its electronic recycling program at five locations this year, with hopes of expanding that to seven sites, officials said. The county board is expected to approve a one-year contract with A-Team Recyclers, LLC, of Joliet, the sole bidder for the recycling program at a cost of $91,600. More sites could be added for $13,800 each. Marta Keane, recycling specialist with the Will County Resource Recovery and Energy Division, said with additional money in the budget, she also wants to increase one-day collection events from two in 2016 to at least six collection events in the coming year. The county will continue to partner with the city of Lockport to operate a permanent electronics drop off center, which is open from 6 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday at 17112 Prime Boulevard. Source: Chicago Tribune, 2/10/17
  • Samsung's Note 7 recycling center catches fire, company blames faulty batteries
    On Wednesday, 19 fire engines and 110 firemen reported to a fire at Samsung SDI's Chinese manufacturing facility in Tianjin. The fire was put out without widespread damage to the plant, which mostly remained on a normal manufacturing schedule. As for where the fire started and what caused it, there's some confusion in that regard. According to Samsung SDI spokesperson Shin Yong-doo, the fire began in a part of the facility used for waste and faulty batteries -- and, of course, the Samsung SDI subsidiary in China was responsible for manufacturing many of the batteries in the Note 7 that failed under stress. There's no indication that it was actually Note 7 batteries, specifically, that caused the failure -- but the Wuqing branch of the Tianjin fire department had a rather different explanation for what had happened. According to them (and Reuters) the "material that caught fire was lithium batteries inside the production workshops and some half-finished products." If that's true, it implies some other problem at the plant -- which may be precisely why Samsung SDI put the blame on the recycling division. Source: Extreme Tech, 2/9/17
  • Tokyo Olympics: Medals to be made from recycled mobile phones donated by the public
    Organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics say the medals will be forged from recycled metal from old mobile phones and appliances donated by the general public to give them a sense of direct involvement in the Games. Source: Australian Broadcasting Corp, 2/1/17
  • Five States Are Considering Bills to Legalize the 'Right to Repair' Electronics
    Lawmakers in five states have introduced legislation that would enshrine the "Right to Repair" electronics, meaning manufacturers will have to sell replacement parts to independent repair shops and consumers and will also have to make their diagnostic and service manuals public. Source: Motherboard, 1/23/17