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Posts Tagged ‘environment’

EWASTE

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

By Clint Dehnert

I have never considered myself and environmentalist or “tree huger” on any scale. But with today’s society it is impossible to not at least be aware of some of the environmental  issues. One issue in particular has stuck in my mind since I saw a show about ewaste a few years ago. We live in a day and age that things that are here today, can be gone tomorrow. Things are changing faster than we have ever seen in the history of the world. In my research for this subject, I found a quote by a reporter at the New York Times that sums it all up; There is no heaven for cellphones.”

The information that I am bringing up is all over Youtube and Greenpeace’s website. We have recently started the holiday shopping season and witnessed “Black Friday” “Small Business Saturday” and “Cyber Monday.” Most of the hot products are electronics like big screen TV’s, Smartphone’s, and the tablet.

Every holiday season around Thanksgiving time you see the new technology hit the shelves and airwaves. With this all in the back of your mind, I ask, what happens to the old TV? What happens to the old computer or laptop?

According to Urbanmining.org 41.1 million computers, 20 million TV’s, and 100 million cellphones are being replaced every year. Only 13% of these millions of electronics are recycled and disposed of properly. To put it bluntly, we are polluting our entire world with toxic chemicals with our insatiable appetite for the latest electronic technology.

Even the recycling centers are a business. To keep profits up, some are breaking the law. After the good, reusable components are reclaimed; they are sending it to the same places that it would have gone if you would not have recycled it at all.    

The examples are in Asia and Africa where policy and regulation is nonexistent or not enforced in some cases. What happens there is what is polluting the environment as well as killing fellow human beings. It is what is putting toxic chemicals in our food chain.

Things like lead, mercury, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals are making it into landfills here in the U.S. Some of the components that are recycled are being burned to claim the precious metals and making it into the air and water supply in other countries. All water eventually ends up in the ocean doesn’t it? The ocean supplies food for all over the world right?  Having to have the latest technology is putting toxic chemicals in your food, water, and the air you breathe.

With the almighty dollar driving our every move, I noticed something in my research that was not stated on any of the sites. On YouTube, I found videos about extracting the minimal amount of gold that is in a circuit board. These videos have been viewed by over 160,000 viewers. Some of the videos that show what this is doing to the environment have been viewed by only a couple thousand. This extraction process utilizes things like Nitric and Hydrochloric Acid.

In this process, you can see the vapors (nitrogen dioxide)  spewing from the container and making it into the open air, this cannot be good for the environment, and in the end, us. I find it ironic that the very products that are causing this “ewaste issue” are a necessity so we can further pollute the vital resources of our everyday life. We need a new computer so we can watch a YouTube video with better picture quality on how to claim gold out of our old computers! See a pattern?


Go Green, for $13.75 per month.

December 14, 2011 Leave a comment
 Written By: Kim Graff
 “Going green” is the new trend that is sweeping the nation. We all have the opportunity to get on board, Madison’s own (MGE) Madison Gas and Electric has received national recognition for doing their part in going green.
Now let’s do ours. The program is called Green Power Tomorrow (GPT). We can all make this choice to go green. The cost of this is around $13.75 more per month more than electricity that creates carbon dioxide emissions.
Green power costs money to generate. There is a cost which lies in building the infrastructure to generate the power. The cost to build and install the power costs a bit more today to convert. For us it is important to build this into our power source for the future.
MG&E is required to offer a Green solution. So we can choose on our MG&E bill to use green wind milled power or electric generated power as our choice. Instead of making everyone share the cost, they make it optional for those who want to support this form of energy.
By participating in this, the benefits of this can reduce the climate change, reduce our dependency on scarce resources, and foreign resources.
There are a few forms of green power utilized by and generated at MG&E. The first is called Biomass. It is solar energy that gets stored in organic matter which gets burned. Landfills are a great source of biomass energy. When it rots it releases methane gas which generates power and that power is purchased by MG&E. The energy is transferred by generators. Also the fuel can be created by burning paper and plastic waste.
Then there is  Solar power which converts sunlight into electricity and can heat your water. There are many solar projects in Madison from Fires stations to the zoo. You can actually log-on and see the power being used on MG&E web site to see the power being generated at these solar project locations. But when the sun is not out the solar power does not get generated. At night the solar power does not work due to the sunlight being gone so it is not a perfect yet.
Wind power is the other green power. MGE has their own wind power. The windmills are located in about four different counties. I have seen these myself and they are majestic looking. They are so large that it its hard to even describe. This power is used to offset carbon dioxide emissions.
Today electricity gets generated by burning fossil fuels which are coal and natural gas and in turn that creates the bad “Greenhouse gases” CO2. If we choose wind farms, natural resources are kept intact and untouched by using wind power instead.
These wind farms are normally located on actual working farms and use very little space. They leave about 7.4 acres unavailable on the farm for their turbines, and access roads. Windmills are installed high in the air where the winds are most steady. The windmills run mostefficiently at 25-30 mph wind speeds. When the wind speed reaches between 35-40 mps the windmills shut down because it poses a danger to run them at that speed and it can cause structural damage. They are at the mercy of mother nature.
The more renewable energy we generate the more we can improve the environment. As our need for electricity keeps growing, so does our need for more renewable energy. Each day the wind renews itself when the earth heats and cools. No need for us to restore any resources because we are not depleting them. As part of a natural process plants and trees absorb CO2, we would need a forest of 3,776 acres to remove the CO2 that the wind farm prevents. The future holds plans to expand this technology into the future.