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  • 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
  • Indiana County Makes Changes to E-Waste Recycling Program After Theft, Illegal Dumping
    La Porte County, Ind., Solid Waste District is making some changes to its e-waste recycling program following multiple theft and illegal dumping incidents. Starting on January 30, the district's e-waste recycling trailer will only be open during office hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday). Outside of office hours, the trailer will remain locked. Source: Waste 360, 1/30/17
  • E-Waste in East and South-East Asia Jumps 63% in Five Years
    The volume of discarded electronics in East and South-East Asia jumped almost two-thirds between 2010 and 2015, and e-waste generation is growing fast in both total volume and per capita measures, new UNU research shows. Driven by rising incomes and high demand for new gadgets and appliances, the average increase in e-waste across all 12 countries and areas analysed -- Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Province of China, Thailand and Vietnam -- was 63% in the five years ending in 2015 and totalled 12.3 million tonnes, a weight 2.4 times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. China alone more than doubled its generation of e-waste between 2010 and 2015 to 6.7 million tonnes, up 107%. The first Regional E-waste Monitor: East and Southeast Asia, was compiled by the United Nations University through its Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE) programme and funded by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. Using UN University's estimation methodology, the research shows rising e-waste quantities outpacing population growth. Source: UN University, 1/15/17
  • Chicago-area recycler charged with fraudulent disposal of electronics
    The Chicago-area recycling business owner who allegedly operated a multimillion-dollar scheme that fraudulently disposed of potentially hazardous electronic parts was set to be released on bond Tuesday after a hearing in federal court. Brian Brundage, the former owner of Intercon Solutions and current owner of EnviroGreen Processing, was arrested Monday and charged with five counts of income tax evasion, four counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud. According to a federal indictment, Brundage fraudulently misrepresented to customers that the electronics received by both companies would be disassembled and recycled "in an environmentally sound manner." Instead, the indictment alleges, he caused "thousands of tons" of electronics parts and potentially hazardous materials to be placed into landfills, resold to customers who shipped the materials overseas, or stockpiled in his warehouses. Several private companies and governmental entities hired Chicago Heights-based Intercon and Gary, Ind.-based EnviroGreen, according to the indictment, which said the alleged scheme went on for more than a decade. Source: Chicago Tribune, 12/20/16
  • NJ:Preventing the E-Waste Stream from Becoming a Flood
    Gov. Chris Christie has signed a bill to overhaul the state's e-waste recycling program, a step advocates say will ensure the safe disposal of old televisions, computers, and other electronic equipment. The legislation (S-981) is designed to put the onus on electronic manufacturers to bear the cost and obligation of recycling e-waste, which includes in many cases toxic materials such as lead. By most accounts, New Jersey's e-waste recycling program was nearing collapse, with old electronic equipment piling up around the state, including in many public works' garages. A couple of years ago, the market for e-waste declined, causing many manufacturers to cut back on what they picked up from towns and counties while reducing what they paid recycling vendors. That left counties and towns, which collect the material, with no place to recycle the e-waste. "This law clarifies the manufacturers' obligation and gives the state Department of Environmental Protection new power to act should the product makers drop the ball," said Dominick D'Altilio, president of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers, which lobbied for the changes. Source: NJSpotlight, 1/10/17
  • 80% of Companies Don't Know If Their Products Contain Conflict Minerals
    Manufacturing used to be highly vertically integrated in the U.S. For example, Ford's River Rouge plant not only assembled cars but also made its own steel, glass, fabrics, power, and cement on-site. But since outsourcing has become an increasingly common approach to cutting costs, many producers now rely heavily on globally dispersed supply chains. For example, Apple works with at least 200 suppliers and 242 smelters and refineries across the world. There are similar stories in the electronics industry, pet food, pharmaceuticals, and even national security. It's no wonder so many consumers have no idea where their favorite brands come from. But are businesses any better informed than their customers? We wanted to find out. (Article by Yong H. Kim and Gerald F. Davis.) Source: Harvard Business Review, 1/4/17
  • EPA Recognizes Electronics Manufacturers, Retailers and Brand Owners for Making Electronics More Sustainable
    Tomorrow, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will recognize leading electronics manufacturers, retailers, and brand owners for their significant contributions in diverting electronics from landfills. The winners will be honored during an event at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Electronic products are a global economic driver, with supply chains reaching around the world. By designing with the environment in mind and through a lifecycle lens, the product can be made to be more readily repairable and reusable, while toxic materials can be designed out of the product, which extends product life and facilitates recycling. In the spirit of innovation, the EPA is unveiling a new award this year: The Cutting Edge Award. This award promotes bold ideas that have the potential to make a huge impact on the future of sustainable electronics management across a product's full supply chain. It is designed to encourage life cycle thinking while creating ambitious and new ideas that have the potential to be game changers in addressing sustainability in electronics. Source: US EPA, 1/6/17
  • The E-Waste Aftermath of Samsung's Galaxy Note7 Recall
    Samsung and waste management companies are facing the challenge of safely disposing or recycling the massive amount of e-waste caused by the recall. Source: Waste360, 11/16/16