E-waste Causing Problems for Countries

A report was recently released by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) about the rising problem of E-waste in countries like China and India. Electronic sales are said to grow immensely in the next 10 years, raising the question of what to do about all the E-waste that will come from it.

UN experts say action needs to be taken when it comes to recycling materials such as cell phones, computers, and other electronic gadgets or “hazardous e-waste mountains” could occur in many developing countries.                                    

Statistics from the report predict that by 2020 e-waste from old computers will have increased from 200 to 400 percent from the 2007 levels and by 500% in India. Also in 2020, China’s e-waste from mobile phones will be 7  times higher than 2007 levels and 18 times higher in India. E-waste televisions will be almost 2 times higher in China and India in 2020 as well.

Another eye opening statistic that comes from this report is that China’s production of 2.3 million tons of e-waste in 2010 is second to the United States with around 3 million tons.

The solution that the UN seeks is to establish regulated processes for collecting and managing the e-waste. The UN Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP says this can happen by setting up large, efficient facilities in China to collect and manage the e-waste. China, India, and other countries that are facing this problem need to start planning solutions now to hopefully change this statistic.

For more information on e-waste you can also check out the e-waste guide.

For ways on how you can help stop the e-waste, the Environmental Protection Agency is constantly working to provide consumers with information about recycling their electronics (also called eCycling). Their website will help you find state and local government programs along with manufacturer and retailer recycling programs for eCycling all your electronics.

Posted by Megan

How to Realign Your Lifestyle Using Eco-Principles

With our global emphasis on green and sustainable living, many people are actively doing their part to engage in “green acts”. Whether it’s recycling, toting reusable grocery bags, there are a number of ways to engage yourself in balanced living

Seeing Differently

Step 1 to realigning your lifestyle using eco-principles is to begin seeing differently. See your entire existence as emerged within eco-living, rather than you as an individual acting out green acts.

 Stuart Haygarth would have taken this advice literally, inventing a sustainable eye glass chandelier that uses 620 pairs of discarded lenses to form a globe-like chandelier. For the designer, perhaps his living art is not only an example of using creativity to craft lifestyle choices, but also symbolic of what visionary work we can accomplish if we begin to see a little differently.

 Turning a Domestic Green Leaf

Turning over a green leaf begins with ourselves, in how we think and then in how we carry out those thoughts. Once we have internal balance, our focus can shift smoothly to an external balance. And while you may not be able to go save the rain forest, you can begin by changing how you view your home.

 View your home as an eco-habitat in itself, and once you perceive your home this way, you’ll treat it with more green care. The simplest way to begin thinking this way is to look at what toxic elements could be in your home – perhaps in your vacuum cleaner, carpet, paint, whether you have energy-efficient appliances, or even checking to see if the plastics you use to cook and eat with are made with toxic chemicals. It’s really very simple and just takes a small effort in reprogramming how you think. Once you shift how you think, your new thought patterns become healthy lifestyle habits.

 The Mind Body Equation

 Equally as important as your home is another vessel that you inhabit daily – your mind and body. These two are just as relevant in your eco thinking as your actions. When it comes to eco thinking, your habits aren’t just about what products you use or what daily habits you have that save that extra little bit of energy or water. It’s about how you think.

 Eco thinking is about harmony with one’s environment. And one of the most important things that should be in a harmonious state is our central selves. If we cannot achieve this, then in essence our eco habits are just frustrated (but not natural) extensions of ourselves. Achieving an eco balance internally through meditation, exercise, and intellectual stimulation is the simple solution to turning a truly balanced green leaf.

Shireen Qudosi

Eco-superheros Moving Boxes Man and Boxy expose the “recycling” industry by preventing box abuse and promoting box reuse.

Los Angeles, CA January 1st, 2010 — Enter Boxy and Moving Boxes Man, part human, part box, these “cardborgs” have built a website that offers gently-used shipping boxes sold in moving kits with 1-3 day free delivery, nationwide.

Watch their YouTube eco-mmerical here:


They’ve joined the Used Cardboard Boxes, Inc network which has revolutionized the moving and shipping box industries. It supplies high-quality used boxes for moving, packing, shipping, and storage to both consumers and businesses. They’re helping eliminate the need for “dumpster diving” or “box begging” for abused boxes that may be damaged or unsanitary.

How Used Cardboard Boxes works:

• a new box is created by any given box manufacturing company

• the box is purchased and gently used once to ship packaged parts or products from a supplier to a manufacturer or distributor

• after the part or product has been unpacked, the box is gently flattened and stacked on a pallet

• when the pallet is fully stacked, it’s either loaded on a truck and sent to another supplier or distributor that purchased boxes wholesale or,

• the boxes are sorted into moving boxes sizes and packed into moving kits, which can be ordered online

• the moving kits are picked up by a UPS truck and delivered for free anywhere in the continental U.S. to retail customers

This new model for box reuse makes it possible for eco- and cost-conscious consumers and companies to have a viable alternative to the agonizing price of new boxes and the anxiety of trying to scrounge used boxes from grocery stores or classified ads.

 This process is environmental education in action and promoted through several “eco-mmercials” posted on the GoGreenMovingBoxes.com YouTube channel. They’ve posted fun and informative videos that help educate consumers about the reality behind the cardboard industry using “eco-super-hero” characters “Boxy” and “Moving Boxes Man”.

 Recycling is a feel-good word… as it should be… but what’s often forgotten is that a lot of what’s recycled can, and should be, re-used. Recycling is costly, a source of pollution and requires water, energy, fuel, chemicals and other inputs.

 Here are a few stats to put the cardboard industry into perspective:

 • The EPA reports that the US commercial sector generates more cardboard than any other material in the nation.

• Over $40 billion in cardboard boxes are produced in the U.S. each year.

• The EPA estimates that 14% of all municipal solid waste is made of cardboard containers.

• Approximately 43 million Americans move each year.

 Most cardboard is recycled, however very few boxes are used more than once. The typical shortened life-cycle of a box means dropping a box’s value from dollars to pennies. With GoGreenMovingBoxes.com and the Used Cardboard Boxes, Inc network, the value of the box is sustained. This allows cycles of reuse to occur and reoccur within the US, thus saving the nation’s trees, sustaining jobs and providing consumers and companies with a green low-cost alternative to new boxes.

 GoGreenMovingBoxes.com, also has a business-to-business offering where companies can buy boxes in truckload quantities for shipping. Alternatively, if a company has pallets of reusable boxes it wants to sell for more than what the recycler pays, it can enter box dimensions, quantity, and location to be evaluated for purchase.


Ben Lawson




Reduce, reuse, eCycle!

Where will your old electronics end up this holiday season?

With the Holiday season coming, many of us will be buying and receiving new electronics for the best part of the holidays – giving and getting presents of course! Cell phones, cameras, camcorders, and televisions are the most popular. A new electronic “toy” is a must-have for many people at Christmas time. I know I fall into that category.

 As a consumer your first reaction is to throw the old ones out, which really means dumping them in the trash or on the sidewalk in front of your house the day after Christmas. I myself in the last six years have had about four new cell phones and sadly they have all ended up in the trash. How about all the cell phone chargers and TV wires too. We forget about all that extra equipment.

As we learn more about the effects of global warming, that first reaction as a consumer of just throwing out the old needs to change. Recycling should be a common effort by everyone. There are actually many different eCycling (electronic recycling) programs out there which I feel a lot of us are unaware of. EPA.gov has a great list of government and local programs along with manufacturer and retailer programs.

The government has donation and recycling programs set up. If you think your electronic device is too old or broken to donate it can be recycled for the recovery of metal, plastic, and glass. For a local program Earth 911 is a website that lets you put in your zip code and find a recycling center close to you. There is also something called the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) which helps you recycle any portable rechargeable batteries found in anything from your remote control, camera, laptop, camcorder, to your power tools. 

As for manufacturer programs, the list is quite long, as it should be. Many of the top manufacturers and national retailers have their own programs. Sony, Best Buy, and AT&T are a few who have their own recycling program which allows you to bring in your old electronics and they will recycle the items for you. I know at my local Best Buy there is a free drop off box right inside the door that is about my height- a staggering 5’1- where you can drop off your old electronics.

The benefits of eCycling are great. You can help others when you donate by giving your old items to people who need it. We also reduce pollution and save energy when we recycle our electronics and they are turned into new products. Most importantly, we protect our health and our Earth by recycling, so don’t forget to eCycle this holiday!

By Megan Lemoi

The Christmas tree debate… real or fake?

I wondered if I had done something really wrong by cutting down my Christmas tree yesterday and decided to find out the truth, which is more eco-friendly, fake trees or real trees? And I was pleasantly surprised by what I found out.

Artificial trees have come a long way and do look more and more real every year, they have come a long way from when they were manufactured by a toilet brush company.  The only thing really missing is that beautiful pine tree smell.

Artificial trees are also cheaper when reused every year opposed to dishing out 50 bucks every year for a real one.  But there are some major drawbacks to that artificial tree, ones you may not have noticed.

Even though getting that chainsaw out seems to be the less environmentally friendly choice, it turns out it may be the greener choice.  Even though a tree is being cut down, it did provide years of carbon dioxide absorption rather than its fake counterpart which most likely released many chemicals into the air while being made, and most tree farms plant two or more trees to replace the one they cut down.

Real trees are natural, although some farmers use pesticides and fertilizers (buying organic is better).  Artificial trees are made from polyvinyl chloride or better known as PVC.  It is a non-renewable and a polluting material.  To make the PVC needles for a fake tree, manufacturers sometimes use lead and other additives that have been linked to many reproductive system damage in animals such as liver, kidney and neurological damage.  Some trees come with warning labels due to their lead content.  Not something I would want my cats playing under, never mind my nieces and nephews.

The disposing of the trees is also a huge factor on which tree to purchase.  A real tree can be recycled into woodchips and mulch; it is also 100% biodegradable, while the artificial tree is not biodegradable and is not recyclable.  It will permanently remain in the landfill FOREVER.

So from an environmental perspective the real tree is definitely the winner.  Financially yes that fake tree will bring you artificial joy for years to come but will forever pollute our planet.  So my advice to you is to visit your local tree farm, pick out that masterpiece nature has provided just for you and although somewhat painful, put those LED lights on, have some eggnog and temporarily enjoy the smell of a forest in your home.

National Christmas Tree Association – for some fun facts!

By: Kate Kiselka, follow me on Twitter

The Marriot Courtyard Hotels get a makeover

Marriott, one of the largest hotel chains in the US, has started down the path to being green.  Every small step this huge hotel chain makes is going to be a big impact with hopefully more hotels will following in their footsteps.  Marriot is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions close to 100 million tons by 2010, what an impact.  So they started in Washing D.C. where their headquarters is located.

By switching over to compostable plates and silverware they will be significantly helping the environment.  What a great way to leave a positive footprint in the ground!  They even went a step further by supplying their employees with re-usable coffee mugs and water bottles, to cut down the usage of paper ones.

Marriot headquarters even made an office model to how a green office should run.  With bubble cut outs in a carton like effect they showed which containers recycled what.  They even placed signs to show how shutting of a lamp that isn’t needed will save energy as well as their printers and monitors when not in use.

In the next five years Marriot plans to have their Marriot Courtyard hotels be LEED certified, they currently have more than 160 hotels in development.    The Courtyard Settler’s Ridge in Pittsburgh, Penn., will open next summer.  It will be the first hotel structured and designed with these standards. More than 30 of their hotels are being designed to receive LEED certification as of now – very impressive.

For a dollar a day Marriot is also offering their guest the ability to green their stay.  They have adopted a creative saying, “Green Your Marriott Hotel Stay for $1/Day.”  It is only offered to guests who book online and the $1 a day will go towards the preservation of a Brazilian rainforest.  By doing this it allows the guest to offset his/her carbon they generated throughout their stay.  What a fun an innovative idea!

By Kate Kiselka /  Follow me on Twitter

A Look at Green Roofs: DaVinci Roofscapes

DaVinci Roofscapes is famous for their slate and shake tile.  DaVinci Roofscapes began in 1999; they are located in Kansas City, KS.  DaVinci prides itself on being the lead provider of authentic looking and durable synthetic slate and shake tile roofing.  They are maintenance free and backed by a 50 year limited warranty.

The DaVinci products resist curling, cracking, mold, fading, algae, insects and fungus.  Because DaVinci tiles resist water it allows the tiles to be installed in all weather conditions.  Also their shake and slate synthetic tiles resist fire, high wind and high impact. DaVinci Roofscapes slate and shake synthetic roof tiles are contributing to the LEED certification process (LEED-NC Standard 2.2).  They are aiding us in our continued effort to gain our LEED certification for our Green Life Smart Life home.

The Green life Smart Life house has chose to use the slate roofing for its exceptional appeal and durability.  Although it is a synthetic slate it comes with the same look and durability as its natural counterpart.  It allows the Green Life Smart Life home to gain the look of slate without using up natures resources.  It is also much more cost effective than using real slate.  In addition the instillation process is also remarkably easier than installing natural slate with the changing of size and texture.

The DaVinci roofs are easy to install and require no special tools or instructions.  They are embedded with state of the art UV stabilizers.  The product was developed with contractors in mind, they are packaged by size and color making them easier to use.  They are also made in 5 different shapes and sizes allowing for a more authentic look and easier installation.

The DaVinci tiles are also all 100% recyclable making them even more appealing to the consumer, rather than the traditional roofing which takes up enormous space in the local landfill.  To save on transportations costs DaVinci compounds, molds and finishes all the lightweight tiles in their Kansas facility to save energy and also transportation costs.

By Kate Kiselka. Follow me on Twitter