Articles in the carbon footprint - Page 2 Category

“Business Daily” reports on growing ewaste problem in Kenya

Posted just today, reported on the major warning signs of improper e waste dumping and handling in Nairobi, Kenya.

This is both a major concern reflecting the negligence and ambivalent attitudes of countries which export large amounts of ewaste, and a major failure on the part of the Kenyan government to allow such toxic material into heavily populated areas. According to this article Nairobi’s largest dumping site, Dandora, is accepting huge amounts of e waste in which the most popular disposal method (burning) is leading to already noticeable increases in lead poisoning in children.

It seems each day here at trade2save we stumble upon another “developing” nation which is exported our own potentially lethal garbage. While the commonly known ewaste dumping grounds in the world such as rural China and India are bad enough, it seems that the rapidly amassing quantities of ewaste are now happily being sent out to all over the world.

Here’s a link to the full article launching in July

Jesse Wakefield packing first parcel at trade2saveThe new pre-owned electronics marketplace, trade2save, will be launching imminently. Last week our 1st parcels went out to some of our earliest beta testing customers. The first parcel sent out was to Kevin Patrick, Manager of Business Development at USPS San Francisco. Jesse Wakefield of (pictured here with Kevin’s parcel) dispatched said parcel with diligence, efficiency and delight. The trade2save team then carried the parcel to USPS and spent the rest of the day celebrating at the Clay Oven Indian Tandoori Restaurant on Church Street Noe Valley. Only the hottest curry on the menu could do for such a special occasion.

Trade2save plans to specialize in buying and selling pre-owned electronics to encourage customers to trade-in their electronics so they can be reused to help cut ewaste – before they become obsolete.

Trade2save will also sell new products so long as customers  trade-in.

To encourage more trading-in, trade2save will be making new products available to customers as well as used electronics, providing that they trade-in at least 20% of the value of any new purchases made.

Customers can track their Carbon Footprint and earn valuable Carbon Points

In addition to paying the highest cash or trade-in prices available on the web, will also give Carbon Points for every pre-owned product bought or sold. On our website, customers can track their carbon footprint as every product has been given a carbon offset total. For example, we have calculated that a Thinkpad has a carbon footprint of 950 lbs of CO2. When a customer trades his in, we sell it on to someone who will buy it instead of a new one. This reduces demand for a new Thinkpad by one unit. If it is resold again, it reduces that demand by 2 and so on.

So his carbon offset total increases by 950 lbs. These Carbon Points can be redeemed in a number of ways. As well as trading them in for more store credit, when you reach certain levels, it will qualify you for special status, such as 10% more store credit for your trade-ins, and special gifts.

Every electronics product, be it a PS3 or an iPhone has to be manufactured, exported and eventually discarded as ewaste. By incentivizing a pre-owned market and making it more secure for buyers and sellers, ewaste streams can be significantly reduced. Currently the electronics industry has yet to be able to recycle more than 15% of an average product – this compares to an average car being over 90% recyclable.

Trade2save has been a massive development project, but we hope that the end result will wow you as much as it has wowed us. For a sneak preview of the beta site still under construction have a look.

Exploding the Green Electronics Myth once and for all


The latest Laptop range from Apple is a new milestone in the company’s ethos to make more environmentally responsible consumer electronics. Critics like Greenpeace, who regularly beat their environmental breast plate to the rhythm of itunes have been strangely silent about the launch until recently. This may have been thanks largely to their inability to adequately market their evidence of ewaste abuse in China and trying to point a finger directly in the face of Steve Jobs.

They learned the hard way that it’s simply not cool to slag off something that’s considered cool to a large sway of their traditional support – college students and graduates. The backlash against Greenpeace was not a calculated stealth mission by a clever PR executive in Cupertino. The backlash came from within and was loudest on the Greenpeace website and blog.

As a result of falling contributions, Greenpeace has had little option but to back off so to speak – but the damage has been done, and it will take some time before they can shake off the conception that they’re a bunch of sanguine pretenders who pick on household brands to gain attention and not much else.

The good they have done on the subject of ewaste should not be swept under the carpet just because they’ve made a few tactical mistakes in their ongoing fight against ewaste.

It was Greenpeace who first opened our eyes to Guiyu, China. It took an organization like Greenpeace with a tradition of cutting through bull and border controls to bring home the shocking images of children, their hands and feet covered in mercury residue while washing themselves in a putrefied river, their single water supply.

Before then, people didn’t have any visual perception of how great the problem was. It was never considered a humanitarian crisis. Visual perception is a powerful weapon that can get things done fast – a power mobilized to full affect during the Ethiopian famine of 1984/5. For months previous we heard of thousands of people starving in Africa, but it took a crack team of BBC journalists to bypass border controls and get the images out. The rest was Bob Geldoff history, live aid and a fund raising PR machine which still raises millions today and provides rock stars like Bono and Sting a ringside seat at G7 summits – such is their influence as power brokers of global public opinion.

The revelations from towns like Guiyu had a similar opportunity to broker a new movement to tackle ewaste as a humanitarian issue, but the solutions proved to be complicate – it was much easier for Geldoff to scream at the camera “Give us your fucking money!” Raising money to buy food for the starving is a challenge – changing the fundamental problems of an eight hundred billion dollar electronics industry is something else.

If the problems of an industry can be distilled down to a single issue it is this: Only 10% of consumer electronics is recyclable. 90% will end up either in the ground or littered on the ground. Extracting the precious 10% out of this ewaste takes the lives of tens of thousands of peasant workers and their families every year through illness and disease caused by the toxic pollution created from the medieval recycling methods employed by their employers, who are (to all extent and purposes) gangsters.

Today GM and Chrysler are chastised for poor cars and wasteful management practices. But they are still able to produce cars which are over 90% recyclable. How is it that a car can be 90% recyclable, yet the greenest computer is still only 10% recyclable?

A car is 90% recyclable, the greenest Laptop is 10% recyclable… here in lies the green myth.

We don’t see mountains of cars rotting in piles so large they can be seen from space because legislation has been active for decades which demands adequate recycling and re-use. Your shinny new Hummer may guzzle that petrol, but you can be sure it’s made of 90% recycled material. Something to consider the next time an eco-warrior on his bicycle smugly tuts you to the tunes of his 10% recyclable iPod.

What’s more, 90% of cars are re-used 2-3 times (through second hand resale) before they are eventually recycled… compare this to 7% of consumer electronics.

90% of cars are re-used 2-3 times before recycling… only 7% of consumer electronics are re-used

Until electronics manufacturers have to abide by the same laws as car makers, the piles of ewaste will continue to double every 4 years. We are not going to stop buying electronics. What we can do is increase the reuse of electronics from a paltry 7% to a more respectable 50-70%, bring them more in line with the car industry. This would mean a significant drop in electronics sales and a dent in the trade of unrecoverable ewaste. We’d still be using the same cool gadgets with the same cool feature. Second Hand is cheaper of course, and with the economy on the bring of a depression, greener use of electronics might come sooner than later.

How can I reduce ewaste?

ewaste is something most people don’t attribute to themselves. But did you know that there is as much ewaste hidden away in homes as there is polluting the drinking water in places like Guiyi, China ?

As ewaste crusaders we want to see more folks trading in or selling their un-used electronics to other folks before they become obsolete. Because once they become obsolete, they become ewaste by definition.

   the answer is to trade in your electronics BEFORE they become obsolete

And that’s why we’re launching trade 2 save.

trade 2 save has been designed to make trading-in and trading up easier, while giving customers an honest trade-in price which is not the case with the ‘we buy’ trading portals currently available on the web.

At trade 2 save you’ll be able to buy and sell in the same transaction. You’ll be able to use the credit from what you’re selling immediately and you’ll get what you’re buying first. This is especially convenient for someone upgrading their cell phone. You get the cell phone you are buying first, and then send us your old cell phone in the packaging we supply (in most cases with free shipping) – all you pay is the difference in price if any. And in the same transaction you could also trade-in a DVD, a computer, some music, an iPod or something else.

And because we test and certify everything we buy off of our customers, the product you buy from trade 2 save will be graded for condition and guaranteed for a full year of normal use. This will enable customers to buy pre-owned with complete confidence.

When you sell to trade 2 save you’ll get 2 prices to choose from, a store credit price and a cash price. The store credit price is usually about 10-15% more than the cash price. The cash price is always good, however, if you are intending to buy something else from trade 2 save now or in the future, it’s always better to take the store credit, which never expires.

trade 2 save also has a marketplace where customers will be able to sell their products to each other using the same trade 2 save product pages. For this service, trade 2 save will take a small commission if you sell but will charge no listing fees whatsoever. It can remain their indefinitely.

trade 2 save will also level the playing field for small private sellers and so called power sellers. There won’t be any preferential rates – everyone will be able to take advantage of the same super low rates for selling on the trade 2 save market place.
We can’t always buy pre-owned, but when you trade something in to us we can sell it on to someone else before it becomes obsolete. Buying pre-owned reduces the amount of units demanded through manufacturing more, which will ultimately end up as ewaste.

   Did you know that only 12% of the material in electronics is recyclable?

Production of electronics and components have more than trebled in just a few years and only 12% of the material from them is actually recyclable (contrary to popular belief).

edmontonsucks21256105020_std.jpgIf you’ve got an old Pentium 3 in your garage that’s been sitting there for 4 years, then it’s too old to be re-used and re-sold. Recycling is the only viable option – providing it is not sent across the water to join a toxic dump (once 12% of it is extracted using toxic chemicals and a blow torch).

If you had traded the Pentium 3 in earlier before it became obsolete, someone else would have bought it pre-owned instead of buying another one new, reducing ewaste by a factor of 1 unit, or about 900 lbs of CO2.

These are tangible small changes to consumer habits which we can make at a time when we need to save money too. Trading-in your electronics and buying pre-owned when feasible doesn’t just make environmental sense it makes economic sense at a time when most of us are having to tighten our belts.

trade 2 save is set to open its beta site by Christmas.

The new Apple Laptops not as green as a Sony Vaio

Well that’s according to Greenpeace, who all but lost their credibility during their pitched battle with Steve Jobs – a quick look at the comments section shows what even their readers think of their persistent Apple bashing.

The new Mac Books now don’t contain mercury or arsenic which is a great start whilst the circuit boards and connectors etc are free of the usual bromine or PVCs. They still do contain cadmium  beryllium and antimon – I figured this simply because their removal is not indicated in any marketing information from Apple.

Apple have also published the Mac Book’s Carbon Footprint for the first time. Apple have included customer usage with this calculation in addition to the manufacturing of the unit. A Mac Book’s Carbon Footprint is about 1000 lbs of Carbon Dioxide, however, about 400 lbs of this is attributed to its usage.

It’s conceivable that a consumer might use their Mac Book wholly from renewable energy, say for example, their home electricity might be run through wind power or solar panels on their roof. Including a substantial ‘usage’ estimate into the mix is a good way of sharing the footprint blame with their customers  (while sharing the love of the Mac Book too).

Trade 2 save measures the Carbon Footprint differently. We don’t include usage estimates but base the Carbon Footprint on manufacturing, raw materials, transportation and the toxicity of none recyclable components.

Of course the greenest computer you can buy is a pre-owned one because you are not adding demand for a new one to be manufactured for you. And to make it greener still, don’t let it lie idly in your cupboard when you have finished using it, trade it in for an upgrade before it becomes obsolete – you’ll save money whilst saving the environment too.

Windspire: answer to the Global Gadget Energy Drain

Windspire by Mariah PowerWith an annual energy production rate of 2000 KWh and an instantaneous power rating of 1.2 kW (1200 watts), the Mariah Power Windspire turbine could be the answer to the global energy drain being caused by consumer electronics.

Strong Black Friday trading suggests that come recession or depression, most of us now consider our gadgets integral to the running of our daily lives.

For $5,000, the Windspire can stand relatively unnoticed in your back yard and make all your gaming consoles, LCD TVs and other electronics instantly greener.

Unusual design

Because of it’s unusual design, cheap installation price and comparatively high energy production rating, the Windspire has won a host of awards, including the “GoingGreen” Top 100 Winner.

The first multi-unit commercial installation of 6 Windspires was ordered in Reno, Navada by Devon Bank, an LEED registered project. he LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Green Building Rating System is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Combined with the banks solar panel program, they hope to create up to 40% of their own energy needs.

At $5,000, the Windspire is certainly low cost, and standing at 30 feet tall and 2 feet wide, offers a sleek propeller free design – a great relief to bird lovers and birds alike. The 30 feet height is also below most residential and urban zoning restrictions, making it ideal for placing on top of blocks of flats – who can share the installation cost whilst benefiting jointly.

Extremely Quiet

The most common complaint from residence living near propeller wind turbine farms is not the destruction of their view, but the annoying noise these turbines produce. The unusually slender design of the Windspire allows it to operate virtually silently thanks to its lower operational speed.


Feel Good Factor

One thing we really like about the Wind Spire at Trade 2 save is that the turbine allows you to wirelessly check your power production at any time, a bit like the Carbon Footprint rating that Trade 2 save will be launching at the end of the year.

The Windspire comes with a 5 year limited warranty and a quote can be obtained from Mariah Power

Will the recession create a greener economy?

It’s no secret that a primary factor in today’s credit crunch was our inability to say no simply because the geeks at Best Buy said it was OK – why pay now when no one else is!

As house values rose, so too did consumer confidence, borrowing against their primary asset. Buying that 42″ LCD screen to replace the 38″ was a reality, not just a fantasy.

Apple and Sony never had it so good. In those gravy years all the electronics giants were churning out wave after wave of upgrades, sometimes only weeks after the previous models to take advantage of a new sea of credit rich consumer spending.

The consistent weakness of the dollar over the past few years was a sure sign that too many dollars were chasing too much product – and now that the money has gone, the dollar has regained 30% over other major currencies in the past 4 months alone.

So how is this going to create a greener economy?

For starters, the good old days of endless upgrades by the electronics industry is surely over for the foreseeable future. When money was cheap, consumers could ignore that there wasn’t much difference between a 4 Mega pixel and a 5 mega pixel camera – they just wanted the latest one.

Over the last decade, the lifespan of the average electronics product shrunk from 6 years to 3. This more than quadrupled the size of ewaste junk yards still festering in Asia, polluting the water sources of countless villages. As the electronics feeding frenzy dries up, the amount of ewaste on the dumps will diminish significantly.

The beginning of a product’s life also has an impact:

It takes 2 tons of raw material and a rhino’s weight in water to manufacture a new laptop. A drop in demand will spell a significant drop in this energy consumption. What’s more, there will be less freight from China too.

The stock price crash of Sony (among others) is not a second hand reaction to the credit crunch -  projections on future supply and demand is more the culprit here as American Consumers simply won’t be interested in that latest gadget anymore.

The pre-owned market will also suffer

It’s a long held belief that in times of recession, you could always turn to the pre-owned market to be bolstered by such conditions. Not anymore. These days, the pre-owned market has come to rely heavily on one type of consumer (trend setter: I must have it today) – selling onto another type of consumer (value conscious: I must have it tomorrow).

In this credit crunch, unlike the crises of 1991 and 2002, the first type of consumer (trend setter) will be wiped off of the map. There simply won’t be the amount of sellers that there were, and this harsh new reality has hit eBay shares (and revenue) in ways that few thought possible.

The pre-owned consumer market will fair better than most, but it will not enjoy the pre-owned gravy train of previous recessions.

Fewer goods being bought new and fewer being manufactured is one definition of a recession. However, a greener economy shares this definition also.

Over the past few years, the consumer electronics industry spent millions on promoting their green credentials, while churning out more CO2 than ever before. Now that the market for their products has fallen, they’ll be saving billions of tons of CO2 for the first time. Most, however, will decline to promote such an astonishing achievement.

Does this iwaste belong to you?

Should recycling your PC really make you feel green?

It’s what we’re being told to do by every consumer electronics institution on the block, from Best Buy to Apple. But what actually happens to that monitor or PC once we drop it off and slip back into our Prius’s, tutting smugly at passing Hummers?

Well don’t feel so green greenies, because although your PC will no longer end up in a landfill somewhere in Alabama, it WILL be sold by the tonnage (for a healthy profit I might add) to the highest bidding e-waste merchant, who’ll then pile it high on a gas guzzling tanker to be shipped off to Hong Kong. From there it will be resold to another trader until it eventually ends up on the swelling e-waste dumps of China.

Children don’t last long living on e-waste dumps

Yes – these pictures are real, and these children do die of lead and mercury poisoning as they blow-torch or hack their way through millions of circuit boards.

Still – there are plenty of children where she came from when she reaches a life expectancy of 15 – and plenty of throw-away PCs, laptops, monitors, MP3 players, speakers, headphones, cellphones etc to grow the never ending mountain of e-waste being created to the rapturous sound of iTunes.

I make no secret of my suspicion of recycling programs and the greener than green recycling stores, many of whom actually charge to recycle your e-waste, only to make a clean (or dirty) profit as they shift it along the dirt never ending conveyor belt to China.


Is there an alternative? For an eight year old PC maybe not – none of the internals are up to date, but the real crime is that most of the stuff ending up on e-waste dumps today are between 2 and 3 years old.

Lead and mercury poisoning result in permanently brain damage the the children lucky enough to live into their teens.The bottom line is that most people today upgrade after about a year or so and leave their old laptop or cellphone lying around in a bottom draw until it’s no longer any good to anyone – before driving down to that (ever so lovely) environmental store with green tea and rose who’ll take it off your hands for $15 – you’ll get back into your Prius, tut at a Hummer and – well I think we’ve been here several million consumers before – Oh what a gravy train – an industry booming at both ends!

If people sold their one or two year old digital cameras, PCs, laptops, cellphones as pre-owned, and if possible, upgraded to another pre-owned but up to date model, then the e-waste merchants would suddenly find their business cut by 75% within a couple of years. The buy, sell or trade pre-owned model as advocated by new trading portal trade 2 save needs to feature strongly in the minds of Americans if the problem of ewaste is to be tackled in the short to medium term.

The downside to this, of course, is that the profits of Sony, Apple, Samsung and Acer among others would suffer from fewer sales. But then, is this such a terrible thing? We love the things they give us, but at some point we have to conclude that it may be too much of a good thing.

Upgrading to stay ahead with technology is becoming more and more important. It’s about time that as Americans we started to do it responsibly – oh and guess what – you’ll say a fist full of dollars too!

Can buying pre-owned electronics REALLY reduce e-waste by up to 4 times?

At a time when everyone is looking for ways to save money, what could be better than saving money and helping to save the planet at the same time. This is what you can do when you trade in your old model and upgrade it to a model you want which is pre-owned and works and looks perfectly fine. iphone-2.jpg

OK, so you won’t have the self gratifying pleasure of pulling a virginal iPod out of the factory sealed sleave for the very first time, but hey, you’ll have a staggering effect on the global e-waste crisis, if you and a few million other Americans thought the same way.

And after a few days of owning it, you’d have forgotten you bought it pre-owned in the first place!
Upgrading to stay ahead is paramount for tech enthusiasts, many of whom are now upgrading their first generation iPhone after just 6-8 months of use.

You’d be surprised what you can find pre-owned. Many people may use a cellphone for a month, or even less and want to get something else, or perhaps a newer model has just come out. Maybe they were given a free upgrade by their phone company and are quite happy with the one they’ve got.

Virtually anything that has been on the market for a few weeks is available pre-owned in a like new condition.

So why does buy it pre-owned reduce e-waste and your carbon footprint? Buying it pre-owned means that you are reducing the demand for that product by one unit. Little girl on e-waste dump in china holding a mac keyboard

And if you go ahead and trade it in or sell it to someone else down the line, you are reducing the demand for a new one to be sold to someone else by another unit again (because he’s buying a pre-owned one off you instead of a new one from Best Buy).

When you trade it in and purchase another pre-owned, again, you are reducing the demand for another product too – and so the cycle continues. Now imagine a few million consumers having the same idea?

Each MP3 player, for example, takes roughly 300 lbs of CO2 to produce. Then there’s the small matter of transportation by road and shipping to the store (from China usually) and ultimately to you. Millions of products – millions of upgrades, millions of tons of e-waste every year, the cycle is endless.

When you buy pre-owned instead of new it means that at the end of the product’s life, there will 3 to 4 times less of that product ending up as e-waste, because as you have reduced the demand, less is being produced as a consequence, especially when you are one of thousands of consumers wanting to save money when they upgrade, and reduce their carbon footprint in the process.

But it’s not just millions of tons of less e-waste every year. China’s demand for oil projected over the next decade has created the speculative price surges we see today. What most people don’t know is that this isn’t totally the blame of Chinese People lining outside the Cadillac showroom in Beijing.

Manufacturing is the biggest single consumer of oil in China, and the biggest (and fastest growing) sector of manufacturing is, yes you guessed it, consumer electronics.Men queuing outside an Apple Store waiting for the latest iphone

Steve Jobs would love you to upgrade every time he brings out a new iPod or iPhone. Well, providing you trade in your old model (and keep it nice for the next person) and then buy a pre-owned upgrade that someone else may have had for a few weeks or months, then you’ll be doing exactly what he wants and saving money and the planet in the process. Not sure he’d be as happy as I’m suggesting though.

Trading portals like trade 2 save will enable consumers to buy, sell and trade their used electronics, computers, games and movies – with more confidence and for better value so they can upgrade readily while still saving money and reducing ewaste.