Articles Posted in the Business category

Africa e-waste pilot project shows promise

February 18, 2009
Posted in Business

The first results of a pilot project to tackle the problem of electronic waste (e-waste) in Africa were released this week.

This initiative was carried out in South Africa, Morocco and Kenya and has produced information on how African governments, organisations and society are dealing with the rising problem of e-waste management, as well as test solutions on the way forward.

The project – a joint initiative of IT company HP, the Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa) – aims to assess and improve the management of e-waste in Africa so as to generate jobs in the informal recycling sector.

The main focus of the pilot project, an e-waste recycling facility in the Cape Town suburb of Maitland, processed about 60 tonnes of electronic equipment, generated an income of around $14,000 (R140,000) from February to November 2008 and created direct employment for 19 people, the project partners said in a press release.

The facility concentrates on low-tech and labour-intensive material dismantling and recovery. Its aim is to refurbish, repair and reuse IT equipment, with environmentally responsible dismantling and recycling only as a last resort. Some non-toxic e-waste is turned into art (see pictures here).

“Our research has … demonstrated some of the incredible entrepreneurial skills we can tap into in the informal sector in Africa,” said project manager and Empa researcher Mathias Schluep.

“By providing tools and training we have removed potential environmental and health problems that can be caused by handling e-waste incorrectly. What’s more, we have created a channel to full employment for creative minds in the informal sector.”

Cisse Kane from the DSF said: “Information technology represents a real opportunity to boost the African economy, but the question of what we do with old equipment once it no longer works is an important one. This project has helped us move some way to closing the loop by providing a model for safe and efficient treatment and disposal of e-waste.”

Assessment studies were carried out in Morocco and Kenya. These “provided a clear picture of the e-waste management landscape in those countries, particularly on the legislation in place, local awareness and behaviour, infrastructural needs and total amount of waste generated”, said the statement.

Kenya, for example, is producing 3,000 tonnes of e-waste per year, with an increase of 200 percent per year, but there is a clear lack of legislative framework and practical e-waste management systems, the study found.

The information and experience gathered in this project, which also included contributions from local organisations and NGOs, will support the launch of the second phase of the project, which aims at engaging corporate and government partners to extend e-waste management programmes to other countries and tackle the problem of e-waste in the entire continent.

“HP has a responsibility that starts with the design of a product and goes right through to its disposal and we take that responsibility very seriously,” commented Klaus Hieronymi, director, environmental business management, HP EMEA. “We see these projects in Africa as both providing employment opportunities for local communities and as a step towards a sustainable solution for tackling electronic waste in Africa.”

Guide to climate friendlier gadgets

November 26, 2008
Posted in Business, Lifestyle

The lastest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics has just been released and this time, in the run-up to the big UN climate change talks in Poland next week, the focus is on climate leadership.

Consumer electronics can play an important role in moving the world towards a low-carbon future, but most companies have been slow to get serious about climate change, says Greenpeace. Although they have made “gradual” improvements on toxic and e-waste issues over the past few years, only a minority of consumer electronics companies are really leading on energy and climate change. And now Greenpeace wants them to step up to the challenge and show leadership.

Since June, the greener electronics guide has examined companies on their climate and energy criteria, which include, their direct emissions, their product performance, their use of renewable energy and their political support for emission cuts. And here’s what Greenpeace found:

Of the 18 market-leading companies included, only Sharp, Fujitsu Siemens and Philips show full support for the necessary emissions cuts of 30 percent for industrial nations by 2020.

Only HP and Philips have made commitments to make substantial cuts in their own emissions from the product manufacture and supply chain.

All the other companies in the guide make “vague or essentially meaningless statements about global emissions reductions and have no plans to make absolute emissions cuts themselves”.

Many companies have gained points from their products’ efficiency improvements.

Most companies use little renewable energy. Nokia, which is still in the number one spot, sources 25 percent of its total electricity use from renewable energy and is committed to sourcing 50 percent by 2010.

Other brands with points for renewable energy use are FSC, Microsoft, Toshiba, Motorola and Philips.

Although Philips and HP score well on energy issues, Greenpeace says they’re position on toxics is letting them down.

Those who score well on toxic chemical criteria already have products on the market free of the worst substances, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, FSC and Sharp.

Overall, the biggest moves up the ranking are Motorola, (from 15th to joint 7th), Toshiba (from 7th to 3rd) and Sharp, (up from 16th to 10th).

The companies falling down the ranking are the PC brands Acer, Dell, HP and Apple. Although Apple drops a place, it has improved its total score this time because of better reporting on the carbon footprint of its products, and although not scoring any extra points, its new iPods are now free of both PVC and brominated flame retardants.

Read more about how the companies fared.

Nokia tops eco-friendly chart

September 18, 2008
Posted in Green News

Thanks to its expanding cellphone take-back programme Nokia has reclaimed the top spot in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. Second and third place went to Fujitsu Siemens and Samsung respectively.

Bringing up the rear of the guide were Nintendo and Microsoft. Nintendo scored just 0.8 out of 10 as the company had made no progress on dealing with e-waste and it still had no timeline in place for eliminating PVC in its products. When burned, PVC releases dioxin, a well-known carcinogen.

In 17th place Microsoft scored just 2.2 points for its failure to deal adequately with toxic chemicals and a timeline of 2010 for eliminating phthalates – a toxic chemical – in its products.

The major PC makers including Dell, Toshiba, HP, LG, Acer and Panasonic all scored less than 5 points in guide.

Further down the list are Lenovo and Apple. Lenovo was rewarded for its e-waste programme while Apple was marked down for its failure to put in place a proper e-waste programme.

Apple did, however, gain good marks for energy efficiency along with Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung.

Greenpeace says that to date no company has released a computer completely free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and PVC, though several are restricting the use of the neurotoxin. Last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the new iPod line will be free of BFRs, PVC and mercury, following the lead of companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

“This is a great step by Apple towards its commitment to eliminate these toxic chemicals from all its products by the end of 2008,” said toxics campaigner Casey Harrell. “They should continue this positive work and improve their ranking by announcing a free, global recycling programme.”

In related news Intel this week released its new Xeon 5400 processors that use Hafnium which allows them to avoid using fire retardants such as BFRs.

E-waste drop off point in Pretoria

September 15, 2008
Posted in Lifestyle

If you live in Pretoria and you have unwanted or broken electronic equipment that you want to get rid of, drop it off at the e-waste collection point at UNISA so that it can be recycled in an environmentally acceptable way.

Johnny Clegg told delegates at a recent Gartner conference that 460 000 PCs reach “end-of-life” every day and 550 million mobile phones reach “end-of-life” every year. That’s is a lot of unwanted gadgets. This electronic waste shouldn’t be thrown away with other rubbish because it could leach toxic chemicals. It also contains a number of valuable materials, such as copper and aluminium, that can be reclaimed. The plastic from PCs can also be recycled, and it is used to make new products such as benches and fence posts.

The e-waste drop-off point in Pretoria is at UNISA’s Muckleneuk Campus. There is a container marked E-WASTE at the back of the TvW building, 3rd floor service entrance below the parking north of TvW. (Entrance: c/n of Mears street and Willem Punt).

For more information contact the E-waste Association of South Africa

Your help wanted for e-waste survey

September 2, 2008
Posted in Lifestyle

The e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) and the IT Association are conducting a survey about the kinds and amounts of (potential) e-waste in South African homes. They have put together an online questionnaire and ask if you could take 10 minutes to fill it out.

Click here for the questionnaire.

Please forward it to your friends and associates. They need as many submissions from South Africa as possible.

E-waste recycling hub opens at Makro

August 28, 2008
Posted in Business

Time to dig out the bits of old computer and broken cell phones you’ve had lying around your garage for years because Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Makro have opened an e-waste recycling hub where you can dispose of it all safely.

The pilot project is at Makro’s Woodmead store in Johannesburg and people can bring all their electronic waste – notebooks, PC’s, monitors, cell phones and calculators – irrespective of brand. The e-waste will be being stripped, recyclable elements recycled, and hazardous materials disposed of in an environmentally correct manner, say the companies.

“When one considers that about 240,000 notebooks and 120,000 PC’s are sold through the retail channel in South Africa annually, there is the potential for a great deal of e-waste posed by the devices and units that these are replacing. We see it as our responsibility to facilitate the disposal of as much as possible of this waste in an environmentally correct manner,” says Bruno Persic, consumer channel manager at Fujitsu Siemens Computers.

Persic says the companies plan to roll out the project in all Makro stores nationwide in the coming months.

Source :: IT Online

E-waste in numbers

August 21, 2008
Posted in Green News

Green IT was the theme of this year’s Gartner Symposium Africa, held this week in Cape Town. Over the course of the event speakers rolled out facts and figures on e-waste and the impact information technology is having on the environment. Here are a few of the many stood out for us:

460 000 – The number of PCs that reach “end-of-life” every day.
550 million – The number of mobile phones that reach “end-of-life” every year.
2% – The contribution of the IT industry to global carbon dioxide emissions, roughly equivalent to the output of the airline industry.
60% – The percentage of toxicity in landfill sites due to e-waste.
2%-3% – The percentage of landfill sites that are e-waste.
95%-98% – The percentage of PC materials that can be recycled.
6 ounces – The typical yield of gold from 1 ton of PC boards.
1 ounce – The typical gold yield from 1 ton of rock.

Space junk keeps falling on my head …

March 12, 2008
Posted in Green News

Satellite picture, NasaWe humans are a messy bunch, not only has our rubbish turned into a problem in our cities, but tons of it is whizzing around above our heads in space. There are now 9,000 pieces of space junk, weighing more than 5,500 tonnes, orbiting the Earth, according to Nasa. They range from an astronaut’s glove lost in a 1965 space walk by Ed White, to solar panels, cameras, pliers, bits of exploded space craft and God know’s what else, reports Britain’s Observer newspaper. It’s amazing that to date only one person seems to have been injured by falling space debris – an Oklahoma woman who was hit on the shoulder by a piece of a rocket’s fuel tank.

Some of the junk is very high up, about 36,000km above the Earth’s surface, in what’s known as geostationary orbit, which is apparently where communications satellites are programmed to hover. There are reportedly about 200 dead satellites in this part of space at present. But other bits of space trash are just a few hundred kilometres above Earth in low Earth orbit. Space experts warn that this debris proses the most problems. A space shuttle had a near-miss with a piece of old satellite in 1991 and, in 2006, pieces of another satellite came very close to hitting a passenger plane, reports the Observer.

Space experts now say that the space debris has reached critical proportions and is a risk to future space missions. We really do need to clean up our act.

Via :: The Observer

Help make gaming greener

December 29, 2007
Posted in Lifestyle

clashofconsoles2.jpgEarlier this month, Treevolution wrote about how to make a greener gadget choice and how poorly games consoles fared in the rankings of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics. Well, Greenpeace has taken things a step further now with its “Clash of the Consoles” website. This is where you can check out how your favourite game heroes stand up against their rivals, and how you can help battle the boss monsters to green their game. Watch the video, take action and make saving the world your New Year’s resolution!

Go to Clash of the Consoles

Make a greener gadget choice

December 1, 2007
Posted in Lifestyle

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

It’s that time of year again. With Christmas just around the corner most of us will find ourselves down at the local mall some time in the next two weeks spending our annual bonuses on shiny new electronics. Whether it’s a games console for the kids (and dad), a laptop or a mobile phone you can try and make your holiday splurge a little greener by reading the sixth edition of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics. And once you’ve done that, you may actually want to reconsider that games console you’ve been hankering after.

Read more

keep looking »