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Canadian Newspaper Has It Right: To Go Green Cut Down On Packaging

August 30, 2010

Canada is a big source of American packaging material, and that includes newsprint. 

So applause should be offered to a recent editorial in the Peace Arch News, a newspaper which is distributed in the Metro Vancouver communities of South Surrey and the city of White Rock, British Columbia, Canada that face the U.S. border which called for manufacturers and retailers to cut down on the waste.

Here are some excerpts from the piece: 

"The sheer amount of packaging we deal with every day is staggering. According to the U.S.-based Dogwood Alliance, 25 per cent of the 2.4 million hectares of trees cut down every year in the southeastern United States ends up wrapping and boxing consumer goods."

"The computer age, which was supposed to diminish our need for paper, has only made things worse."

"The little plastic cartridges for inkjet printers, for instance, are notoriously over-packaged, contained in complicated boxes, attached to cardboard or plastic trays, wrapped in sticky plastic and accompanied by a series of instruction pamphlets and promotional paperwork."

The problem, says the editorial "is compounded if you happened to order that inkjet cartridge from an online retailer; chances are it was shipped in a cardboard box five or six times larger than the already voluminous box encasing the little plastic cartridge, and then further protected by crumpled paper, bubblewrap or styrofoam peanuts."

 "Responsible, environmentally-conscious consumers can only do so much to keep all these boxes, containers, trays and whatnot from filling landfills."

For Metro Vancouver and environs like nearly every city is facing a waste management problem.

Wealthy Biggest Driving Polluters? No, Really?

May 18, 2010

The wealthy have the means to become the earliest adopters of the latest and greatest home and office green tech devices, methods and solutions. Yet it appears that too many of them are acting otherwise when it comes to mobility, if Canada's elite are any indication.

A Canwest New Service article printed last Friday in The Province revealed, citing new Statistics Canada figures, that "wealthy Canadians were the worst polluting drivers in 2007. While the rich, defined as having annual incomes of $100,000+ were responsible for spewing out the most air pollution per person, at 5,737 kilograms or 12,621 lbs in 2007.

E-Cycling Nortel Gear

October 2, 2009

Jeff Wiener's excellent The contains a prescient entry discussing and a pic showing old Nortel phones going into an Avaya box. Prescient in that Avaya is awaiting word from the Canadian government whether it can complete its $915 million purchase of Nortel's enterprise division.

Jeff, who writes TMC's The Canadan Angle blog explains that Avaya gives his firm Digitcom, which is based in Toronto, Ontario "some amazing credits for the old Nortel hardware. We pack it up, call Fedex, and say good-bye to our old faithful friend who finds its way to an e-waste processing plant."

Avaya, and other manufacturers, should get ready to expect to receive more Nortel e-waste now that once-vaunted communications equipment maker is being dismembered at the same time more firms are switching to VoIP, softphones, hosted platforms, and smartphones. 

While Avaya will if it is successful continue to support the Nortel lines, and the sets that are out there are for the most part rugged and well made the writing is on the wall for them. 

After all, what is a better time and reason than now to buy or get the budget approval to switch to that new IP phone that you've always wanted? While the economy is still slack, the prices are reasonable, and the sellers are hungry?

The interesting question from an environmental perspective is how much new junk will be produced per employee with these new technologies compared with the old ones.

Cash For Comm Clunkers A Truly Green Solution

August 26, 2009

Kudos to companies such as Grandstream, MegaPath, and Netsuite for offering and to Rich Tehrani in his blog for raising and promoting what will turn out to be a much more effective 'cash for clunkers' campaign: turning in old legacy PSTN/TDM equipment and obsolete premises-based solutions for IP and where appropriate hosted tools and recycling them to avoid e-waste. 

The cash for clunkers in the comm industry will arguably be more effective in that this one doesn't involve governments, subsidies, and kowtowing to special interests. The Sierra Club has criticized what had started out to be a well-intentioned program into 'support for gas guzzlers'. Money allocated for this program has arguably come at the expense of more efficient mass transit. While there has been stimulus money to build new systems, agencies are being starved to buy vehicles and operating funds to provide services. 

In contrast going to software-based IP and hosted means less goods that have to be manufactured from raw resources that must be extracted and processed, and lowered transportation costs and the consequent environmental consequences at all stages.

Now If Only Lexmark Made More Of Its Cartridges Refill-Friendly...

April 24, 2009

You would never hear a car maker say 'drive less' or a cookware firm recommend eating raw food to save the planet. Nor would one expect a printer manufacturer suggest that its customers print less or don't buy their goods if they don't need to.

Yet that is what Lexmark, in a remarkable display of corporate responsibility has done in via research and advice, reported on TMCnet.

Among its suggestions are:

The Next Steps In Cellphone (and Electronics) Recycling: Redesign, Refocus on Software

January 22, 2009

Cellphone recycling is beginning to take off and that's great news for the environment and ultimately for all of us.

The latest such move is Recycle My Cell, a new Web-based nationwide initiative launched by Canada's wireless industry that lets users find out where and how to properly dispose of their cell phones and other wireless devices - regardless of carrier, brand, or condition. 

The free program in the country that brought us the BlackBerry incorporates numerous existing cell phone recycling initiatives is being organized by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) in conjunction with cell phone service providers, handset manufacturers, and recycling companies.

Recycle My Cell can be adopted by provinces and municipalities as part of their initiatives to manage e-waste. Nova Scotia, on Canada's east coast, is the first province to have done so.

Canadian retailers are already on board with cellphone recycling.

SoundBite's Sensible 'Coupons On Demand'

August 18, 2008

SoundBite Communications has a 'greensmart' solution that saves trees, which convert CO2 to oxygen among other life-providing benefits, which is reminding consumers or businesses of coupons or other rewards they are entitled to by receiving the coupon or reminder through e-mail, text messages or an automated phone call. 

By simply showing the text message, the reward could be activated at their next purchase. If someone doesn't want the promotional offer, they simply delete it. It doesn't get any easier than that, and all while reducing the consumption of paper.

Those savings are significant. According to SoundBite's PR, one tree can make almost 17 reams of paper, with a significant portion of it ending up as direct mail or bills.

To Go Green, Go Dumb (as in computing)

July 21, 2008

The smartest computing solution environment-wise for organizations is to go dumb, as in dumb terminals.  

Richard 'Zippy' Grigonis, executive editor, Internet Telephony reports that network computing either with purpose-built thin-client systems or even 'lobotomized' PCs connected to a network server use less power than 'intelligent' PCs. 

Let's look at the numbers. Assuming flat panel LCD monitors (FPMs) at each workstation, and 300 watts (W) for a router, hubs, and firewall appliances for all scenarios: 

'Smart System' --120W for typical PC  

'Dumb' Systems: --100W for dumb PC 

Or --43.5W (40W alone for the FPMs) for fanless thin-client dumb terminals 

Plus 1000 W for fat server, off two load-sharing power supplies, to support dumb PCs and terminals 

Based on this it only takes 9 to 10 dumb units: thin-clients or dumb PCs connected to a fat server to equal the power consumption of 11 smart PCs. Beyond that you are 'green computing'. 

There are also other advantages of going dumb. These are lower IT support costs and improved security because employees cannot knowingly or unknowingly load sniffer software or 'bot' the system or download and walk off with data. Theft risk is less because who wants a computer that is 'stupid'? 

There are thin-client computers such as by , but by no means exclusive to Devon IT, Netvoyager, and Sun: 

Getting rid of the EW! (E-Waste)

July 11, 2008

Today is garbage and recycling day in my neighborhood. As I sort out the plastics, paper, and metals from the blue bin under our kitchen sink I am reminded why producer/seller-pay e-waste recycling programs like that just announced by the Province of Ontario can and will work: by assigning costs to waste. 

My community charges for trash pickup. You have to buy garbage tickets. The way to minimize the number of tickets you need to purchase is by recycling.

Tandberg Data Offers Recycling Rebate Program

April 16, 2008

Tandberg Data has announced a new program called Rebates for Recycling, a “green” initiative that helps IT managers save money as they help save the planet by reducing energy consumption.   Called Rebates for Recycling, the program provides incentives from $50 to $600 for those who sign up to recycle old, inefficient tape storage devices and replace them with new, high-efficiency tape storage products.   The offer is valid through June 30, 2008 and offers a variety of green discounts, starting with $150 toward the purchase of any Tandberg Data StorageLoader and $300 toward the purchase of any Tandberg Data tape library.   Existing customers of select Tandberg Data or Exabyte legacy products are getting a bigger incentive to purchase new energy efficient solutions with twice the discount: up to $600 on any Tandberg Data tape library.  
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