Can Stuffstr become the Uber for stuff?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Recently, I wrote a post for GreenBiz where, among other things, I mused about the circular economy, touching on its generational aspects and also the notion that makers of things really don’t have a good handle on what happens to their products in the post-purchase phase.

Coincidentally, shortly after the post appeared, I was asked to test a new data platform created by Seattle-based B corp Stuffstr that touched on these themes.

The experience brought me back to some work I was involved in roughly seven years ago when I was working on sustainability at Best Buy. It made me realize how little progress we’ve made in the intervening time. At the same time, I believe we’re on the cusp of some fundamental, radical changes in societal consumption patterns that finally may tip the balance towards a more sustainable future.

Making The Cloud Green: Tech Firms Push For Renewable Energy Sources

Read the full story from NPR.

At Green House Data in Cheyenne, Wyo., energy efficiency is an obsession.

When someone enters one of the company’s secured data vaults, they’re asked to pause in the entryway and stomp their shoes on a clear rubber mat with a sticky, glue-like finish.

“Dust is a huge concern of ours,” says Art Salazar, the director of operations.

That’s because dust makes electronics run hotter, which then means using more electricity to cool them down. For data centers, the goal is to use as little electricity as possible, because it’s typically companies’ biggest expense.

In 2013, data centers consumed 2 percent of all U.S. power — triple what they consumed in 2000. Wendy Fox, Green House Data’s communications director, says the sector has a responsibility to source that electricity sustainably.

The power Green House Data draws from the grid mostly comes from coal. The company offsets that by purchasing green energy credits that support renewable energy development elsewhere.

But larger companies are no longer interested in simply buying credits. Instead, they want to get more of their power directly from renewables.

E-Waste Empire

Read the full story at The Verge.

Over several weeks in early 2016, The Verge tracked just one of the countless e-waste recycling paths around the country, from a garbage room in an apartment building in Manhattan, to a drop-off site in Staten Island, to a sorting facility in New Jersey, to a bustling recycling warehouse in Massachusetts. The goal was simple: to get a broader sense of where all our old televisions, phones, and computers go when we don’t want them anymore.

These 4 Games Will Teach Kids How We Can Tackle Climate Change

Read the full story in Fast Company.

For both kids and adults, games are sometimes a great way to learn about social issues and brainstorm creative solutions. The nonprofit Games for Change has worked on this idea for more than a decade, and at its upcoming annual festival in New York, it will present four new games that tackle the most pressing challenge for humanity: climate change.

Why Tech Companies Design Products With Their Destruction in Mind

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal.

Apple introduced a piece of technology recently that will likely never be used by any consumer. Instead, it kind of cleans up after them: a robot that breaks down iPhones for recycling…

The company spent more than three years building Liam, of which there are currently two. Each carefully separates iPhone components such as the camera module, SIM card trays, screws and batteries. Instead of tossing the whole device into a shredder—the most common form of disposal—Liam separates materials so they can be recycled more efficiently.

Other electronics makers take a different recycling approach, designing products that simplify disassembly by replacing glue and screws with parts that snap together, for instance. Some also have reduced the variety of plastics used and avoid mercury and other hazardous materials that can complicate disposal.

 

10 climate change-fighting energy apps to tap

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

There seems to be an app for everything, whether you’re looking for a ride across town, finding a place to crash for the night or even hoping to advance renewable energy.

Energy is responsible for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from burning fossil fuels for electricity. A cornerstone of the Paris Agreement coming out of the U.N. COP21 climate talks was investing in renewable energy, such as solar and wind, alongside energy efficiency.

Want to be a part of expanding the renewables economy? Here are 10 nifty apps for businesses and consumers alike.

Industry Experts Discuss E-Waste Recycling Trends and Obstacles

Read the full story at Waste360.

The recycling industry is in an ongoing battle with the decrease in commodities prices and improper disposal, but the growing sector of e-waste recycling is especially difficult to manage. For example, if e-waste is improperly disposed of, toxic materials could seep into soil and ground water, as well as pose a risk for those who are handling the e-waste.

While commodities will continue to fluctuate, recyclers are faced with the decline in the value of materials, and in increase in the returns of low-value devices.

Waste360 recently spoke with Jason Linnell, executive director for the National Center for Electronics Recycling, and Eugene Niuh, business development director for Omnisource Electronics Recycling, about the latest e-waste recycling trends and challenges and the future of the e-waste recycling industry. The duo will lead a discussion on electronics recycling trends and markets at WasteExpo in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.