Posts Tagged ‘plastics’

Make you Fink on Friday

toxic-chemical-pollutionToxic Chemical Pollution

Extract…

After global warming, global pollution, especially toxic chemical pollution, is probably the next-greatest environmental threat we face. Scientists since Rachel Carson have warned that human survival, and the survival of many other species, is increasingly at risk because of the growing assault on our bodies and the environment from the tens of thousands of different kinds of toxic chemicals pumped, dumped, leached, sprayed, vented into the environment every year by the chemical industry, polluting factories and farms, power plants and so forth. Except for lead, PCBs, DDT and a few substances that have been banned or partially banned, toxic chemical pollution of all kinds has worsened dramatically in recent decades, all over the world – especially because of the flood of new synthetic chemicals in pesticides, plastics, fabrics, pharmaceuticals, cleaners, cosmetics, etc. – thus into our food, water and the air we breathe. The average American apple or strawberry is laced with pesticides, some of which did not exist in Rachael Carson’s day. America’s favorite seafood, shrimp, “is a health and environmental nightmare.” Chemicals used in rocket fuel and dry cleaning turn up regularly in baby formula. In the United States, the increasing contamination of public water supplies all over the country has become a scandal and raised alarm. Everywhere we turn, we’re exposed to more and more toxins. Today, some 80,000 chemicals are in use in the United States, barely 200 of which have even been tested for toxicity to humans and only a handful actually banned. They’re in our homes. They’re in our bodies. And many are known to cause or are associated with birth defects, cancers, chronic illnesses and physical disorders, neurological disorders in children, hyperactivity and deficits in attention, developmental and reproductive problems in humans and animals – and these are on the rise around the world.

Source: truthout

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Monday Moaning

Electronic waste: we must design gadgets that don’t poison the planet

We discard huge amounts of electronics every year, creating a toxic wasteland – often in the poorest countries

We love our gadgets, but we need to find safe ways of disposing of them. Photograph: Oliver Stratmann/AFP/Getty Images

Record sales of tablets, laptops and smart phones. Ever smaller computers, and thinner televisions, brighter screens and sharper cameras. What could possibly be wrong with the worldwide explosion in sales of electrical and digital equipment seen this Christmas? Consumers love the sleek designs and the new connectivity they offer, businesses can’t make enough for a vast and hungry global market, and governments see technological innovation and turnover as the quick way out of recession. This is a new age of the machine and electronic equipment is indispensable in home and workplace.

But there is a downside to the revolution that governments and companies have so far ignored. In the drive to generate fast turnover and new sales, companies have deliberately made it impossible to repair their goods and have shortened the lifespan of equipment.

Hardware is designed not to keep up with software, a computer’s life is now under two years and mobile phones are upgraded every few months. Many electronic devices now have parts that cannot be removed or replaced. From being cheaper to buy new devices than to repair them, it has now reached the point where it is impossible to repair them at all.

The result is that much electronic equipment is impossible to recycle. As devices are miniaturised, they become increasingly complex. A single laptop may contain hundreds of different substances, dozens of metals, plastics and components which are expensive to dispose of. As we saw last week from Ghana, vast quantities of this dangerous “e-waste” is being dumped on developing countries where it is left to some of the poorest people to try to extract what they can in dangerous conditions.

The scale of e-waste growth is shocking and has left governments and authorities behind. By 2017 it is expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices alone.

From under 10m tonnes of e-waste generated in 2000, it has now reached nearly 50m tonnes, with every sign that this will increase by 33% in the next five years. Britain will discard over 1.3m tonnes of electronics this year, much of which will be buried in landfill, incinerated or exported.

The old corporate model of “take, make and chuck” is not sustainable. Our obsession with gadgetry and technology is now driving industry to open new mines around the world, squandering energy, biodiversity and water at every stage of extraction. Enormous areas of toxic wasteland are created and left for future generations to deal with.

Designing goods so they can be easily recycled is now critical. Companies must be challenged to rethink the way they make and source their materials to ensure there is no waste from start to finish. Gadgets must be reusable and repairable, and built-in obsolescence discouraged. Companies, too, must become responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, especially when they become obsolete.

Governments must better monitor waste shipments from ports. E-waste is easy to conceal, and the black market is attracting organised crime. Natural resources have long been used to fuel violent conflict and human rights abuses, but now we must accept that gadgets can be equally dangerous. The sale of millions of computers and mobile phones, even the electronic toys that we will give this Christmas, is being driven by an increasingly flawed business model which is leading to a depleted and polluted planet.

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Opinion:

No need to express an opinion here, because it’s bloody obvious!

Any company that sells any electronic gadget must be legally bound to accept that back on the purchase of a new one; and, be responsible for the responsible disposal of that gadget.

It boils down to this: If companies insist on planned obsolescence, then they are to be made responsible for the end disposal.

 

Change the World Wednesday – 25th July

I have an hour before my class starts. Can I do it?

Rubbish Audit

My rubbish days are Thursday, Saturday & Tuesday (Yes, I know Tuesday comes before Thursday, but that is the order since the challenge… sheeeesh!) So, I watched my rubbish.

I love my fancy cheeses, but they come with stupid little packets to throw away

So, what did I throw away. Plastic, everything comes wrapped in plastic, whether it’s clingfilm, or something more sinister; 3x pint plastic bottles (sparkling mineral water, I have taken to drinking that in place of soda); paper and cardboard packets, the scraps of labels from two jars that are awaiting re-use, milk boxes ( I could have saved and cut for plants, but I have so many already). A small piece of aluminium foil (blue vein cheese comes wrapped in it). One broken (beyond redemption, my neighbour’s car ran over it) metal dish rack that I used in the garden. A black plastic rubbish bag that I saved from the street for the plant pots and then re-threw away.

What did I compost? Coffee grounds, daily. vegetable peelings, egg shells, lemon peels and a jar of dried parsley that smelt funny (not the jar).

This is the sugar I use for my coffee, it’s raw sugar, bag used for rubbish

What did I recycle? One small jam jar and one glass that came with cream cheese in it.

What did I scrap? One piece of meat from yesterday’s lunch and the pork bones from another meal., the neighbour’s dog loved them.

What did I use to contain my rubbish? Plastic bread bags and a sack the sugar came in.

Weights:

Thursday: 1lb (½kg)

Saturday: ½lb (¼kg)

Tuesday: 8lbs (because of the other rubbish sack and metal dish rack) (3kgs) Only ½lb was household rubbish)

Total: Household rubbish. 2lbs (1kg)

That’s it, my rubbish audit.

No, I didn’t. Been to work and back again…

This week’s challenge:

This week, suggest a challenge. This can be a repeat of a past challenge, a version of something we’ve already done or something completely new … anything which you feel we should address.


And/Or …

Tell us about something you’re struggling with … a green-living activity which is difficult to adopt in your life.

Damn, this is a tricky one. Just about most everything has been thought of one way or another.

But, I did find something new during the previous week and posted on it; This is a Shocker.

Does this netting leach dangerous chemicals into the soil and ultimately to your veges?

So I guess my suggestion would be, “How green is your yard?” While the linked post concentrates on the garden hose, the idea can be expanded. What plastics are yard swimming pools made of, the yard toys (slides, swings and dolls houses) for your kids, are they made of dangerous plastics? Buckets, tools, garden pots and the potted plants on your patio, terrace or veranda. What about the plastics used in window netting for insects and the garden?

There, food for thought!

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