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Are tech companies earth friendly?

International Recycle Symbol

Image via Wikipedia

Tech Goes Strong – StumbleUpon. This article explores some of the questions and challenges that becoming earth friendly cause. He nicely explains and gives examples and there is certainly some truth to what he says. I responded to it with a comment and said:

There is some truth that companies “Greenwash” their products and things that they fought against in the past. It is also true that it takes time to work the mindset of recycling into people. I am fairly young and sometimes I forget to recycle. It isn’t that people don’t care about the world they pass onto their children or relatives, it is just that being a mature adult is sometimes boring and people hate that.

If people were rewarded immediately, directly for recycling in a concrete way then everyone would do it. I am lucky enough to live at a place that pay people for their bottles that they recycle. If more places had that, people would recycle. But to the average person getting a store to pay them 5 cents to recycle a bottle isn’t worth it. Nor is the time/administrative expense to change the current way of doing business.

It is difficult to get people to see that saving money is as important as making it. I work as a consultant and explain how they can save money if they switch technologies and invest and the hard numbers to prove they will make the investment back in a few months. Do you know what most people do? “Oh well, let me think about it.” People are afraid of the unknown and we can’t push people to change. People change at their own pace.

There are so many great technologies that just haven’t been given support due to the same kind of thinking that causes other problems. “Good enough” isn’t good enough when it poisons the present and future. Take for instance this talk from TED.

How many people do you think are doing this when it would not only increase their health and energy but others as well? If that isn’t enlightened self-interest I don’t know what is.

Repair4Laptop: How to Clean, Upgrade, Repair, Disassemble a Laptop or Notebook Keyboard

My BenQ Joybook 8100 showing the Dutch BenQ ar...

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Repair4Laptop: How to Clean, Upgrade, Repair, Disassemble a Laptop or Notebook Keyboard.  An extensive list of instructions and guides.  Great work!


How Gadgets Designed For The Dump Are Killing The Planet – The Consumerist

Recycling bins at Timisoara, Romania

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How Gadgets Designed For The Dump Are Killing The Planet – The Consumerist.  Always informative videos.  This might be a good introduction to recycling.


Nature has the best technology – it might be eating plastic

A portrait of the bizarre future of marine life.  They seem to live in conjunction with plastic.  Maybe not so indestructible after all.

Why do we waste so much?

Goodwill Industries

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I live in an apartment building where people love to throw out perfectly good products.  I have been able to completely furnish my apartment with things that have been thrown out.  Today I found two comfy chairs that look and smell new.  I understand that people may get new stuff, but why not give to someone who can use it rather than throw it out?

What else I have found in the trash and what it would have cost to buy second-hand/new: 40 inch perfect Sony CRT TV set($100), 1 perfect floor indirect halogen light($50), 1 tilting/swivel desk chair probably worth ($75), 1 Vacuum cleaner ($100), 1 flashlight ($10), 1 bamboo organizational container ($10), 1 plastic organizer ($5), 1 Metal Asian style vase($50(still has sticker). So $400 I have saved by recycling.  There are even things that I didn’t salvage because I didn’t need them: 1 beautiful love seat ($100), 1 student desk ($100) (solid wood), 3 mattresses (good condition-$100), 1 blender (works-plugged it in $50).

I do not go to the trash everyday so I am probably missing even better stuff.  In the past when I didn’t want/need something I would put it in the alley on top of my garbage lid and see how long it would take to disappear.  Normally it was gone in 30 minutes.  I lived in a middle class neighborhood and everything that I put out someone apparently could use.

I like that we can reuse instead of throwing away things.  I understand that people’s time is valuable and they may not want to bother with what they consider junk,  but a Goodwill is literally 15 minutes away in the car, and The Salvation Army is 20 minutes away.  With so much economic difficulty in the US now why wouldn’t someone think of this?  I am not judging those who throw things away, just curious how things have so little value.

P.S. Thanks for a reader who wrote in with other suggestions of places that do pick up donations.

Another one is Purple Heart Veterans organization

Another one is Brown Elephant in Chicago.

New Finds: Brand new ethernet cable ($5), 5 CD’s in perfect condition in their cases ($25), 1 Couch good condition ($50), 2 high bar chairs ($50), 1 princess Diana coffee book perfect condition ($25), 1 electric fan new condition ($40).

Grand Total: $600 in stuff I’ve kept.