Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saving the world: It's a job for you.

Environmental protection and conservation that is. It's a job for me too.

As climate change and sustainable alternative energy resources dominate social conciousness for the next 30 years, humanity is quite obviously becoming more and more dependent on technology.

We may not be zipping around in warp-capable Starships yet, but we're certainly using more consumer electronic devices than ever. Though many tout amazing e-Reader devices like the Amazon Kindle as the way to reducing our carbon footprint and saving trees. Fact of the matter is, environmental scientists are just beginning to discover that these advances in eco-friendliness are ultimately set back when there are little avenues for electronics recycling.

"Truth is, tossing an old newspaper for recycling is still easier and more commonplace than electronics recycling."

The deeper you look, the more complex the issue becomes. Take Apple for example, one of the few firms to receive the Gold standard from the Environmental Protection Agency, its products are as friendly as it gets. However, with more batteries running on their popular mobile devices, the non-removable batteries will degrade and need replacing. Though Apple gets kudos for a take-back program to replace old batteries, fact is, after a few years, people are more likely to buy a new device than upgrade the batteries. This in turn, creates more waste.

Though more are turning to the ever expanding and hyper fresh media content of the internet, the death of print is still far from certain. The advent of television didn't herald the death of radio, nor did in-home VCRs hasten the demise of the cinema. Though intuitively, it seems that e-Readers like the Kindle will ultimately consume less energy than the multitudes of petrol guzzling chainsaws that harvest trees and the fleets of trucks that transport them- it's still difficult to draw any definitive conclusion.

A recent study conducted by The Center for Sustainable Communications in Stockholm, Sweden, compared reading a newspaper on a PC for 30 minutes with reading a printed newspaper. The results were surprising- There was no discernable difference in the carbon footprint between the two activities.

At the end of the day, I suppose it's up to us, the end-user to make the best choices we can possible.-JH

How you can do your part
The Apple Recycling Program offers free and environmentally friendly disposal of your Apple products.
In Singapore, you can contact designated Apple Recycler- Li Tong at
Internationally, you can locate your local Apple Recyclers here-

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