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Crisp Green http://crispgreen.com Bringing you fresh & crisp green goodness Thu, 03 Mar 2016 16:25:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Urban Mining: Harvesting the Treasure Hidden in Old Electronics [Infographic] http://crispgreen.com/2014/06/urban-mining-harvesting-the-treasure-hidden-in-old-electronics-infographic/ http://crispgreen.com/2014/06/urban-mining-harvesting-the-treasure-hidden-in-old-electronics-infographic/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:09:55 +0000 LiveOAK Staff http://crispgreen.com/?p=13597 urban mining gadgets ewaste

There was a time when I couldn't imagine checking my email on a mobile phone. Now I can't imaging not having access to the entire internet in the palm of my hand.

Despite the fact that we're addicted to them, electronic gadgets really do make our lives easier and safer in a lot of ways. What's not as awesome is what we do with them when they break, or get upstaged by a newer model. Tech-obsessed humans generate 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste worldwide. E-waste, the term we use to describe all the gadgets and gizmos no one wants anymore, is the fastest growing waste stream on the planet. With companies like Apple and Samsung churning out faster, prettier models every year, it's doubtful that number will get smaller any time soon.

Unless we start to see this "trash" as the treasure it really is. And I'm not using treasure as a metaphor, here.

Hidden inside smartphones and other sophisticated devices are precious metals like gold, copper, silver, platinum.

E-waste often contains more rare metals than mined ores. Studies show e-waste has 10 to 50 times the copper content than copper ore, and a phone contains 5 to 10 times the gold content than gold ore.

Every time one of these gadgets ends up in the landfill (and trust me, millions of them do) these metals, which were harvested at great expense, are lost forever. That means billions of dollars in valuable resources are wasted.

What if, instead of just trashing these gadgets and all their hidden treasure, we harvested it instead? This unique recycling process is called "urban mining" and it's getting more popular every day. A new and safer way to recover gold from electronic waste has been developed by scientists from the National Metallurgical Laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Jamshedpur, India. Researchers say the new gold extraction process will reduce environmental impact, save natural resources and conserve energy.

Dave Kruchinin, CEO of eCycle Best, an electronics refurbishment and recycling firm, notes that the ability to extract gold with almost 100 percent purity is a huge step forward for urban mining. Moreover, because the process is eco-friendly, there is no more need of toxic chemicals used in traditional methods of extraction such as burning, cyanide, aqua regia, and reverse electroplating.

“This new metal extraction method is badly needed by our industry,” said Kruchinin. "It’s high time we started treating e-waste like the valuable commodity it is."

Check out the infographic below for more info on urban mining. We hope it will encourage you to hand your phone or tablet over to a responsible e-waste recycler at the end of its life, instead of the trash can.

Click to enlarge

Heigh Ho To Waste, Hello To Urban Mining

Image via edvvc/Flickr

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Earth Day: Challenge To Live A Mindful LIfe http://crispgreen.com/2013/04/earth-day-challenge-to-live-a-mindful-life/ http://crispgreen.com/2013/04/earth-day-challenge-to-live-a-mindful-life/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 15:22:25 +0000 LiveOAK Staff http://crispgreen.com/?p=11578 k4k earth day header

Happy Earth Day CrispGreen Readers!!

This Earth-centric holiday has been around for 43 years, and we've come a long way since the very first Earth Day gathering. Now this day of environmental learning and action is celebrated in 192 countries around the world, inspiring millions to consider their impact on our world.

Like most things in this world, Earth Day has become highly commercialized. Every company and organization uses it as a way to promote their product line or agenda, while in reality their actions do harm to the planet they claim to care about. The true challenge of Earth Day is to live a mindful life every day of the year.

Sure, we could have posted a round-up of green gadgets or cool technologies that utilize clean energy, but this Earth Day, we decided to avoid consumption all together. We can't buy our way out of the mess our planet's in. Instead, let's reflect on how far we've come, and how far we have yet to go in our quest to leave this planet to our grand children in inhabitable shape.

Let's think about meaningful actions we can take to reduce waste and be an example of planetary stewards in our every day life. Let's be the change we want, instead of just talking about it. How did you celebrate Earth Day? Tell us in a comment.

Earth Day graphic produced by the Kars4Kids car donation program

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5 Easy Ways to Start Conserving at Home http://crispgreen.com/2013/04/5-easy-ways-to-start-conserving-at-home/ http://crispgreen.com/2013/04/5-easy-ways-to-start-conserving-at-home/#comments Sat, 06 Apr 2013 14:39:17 +0000 LiveOAK Staff http://crispgreen.com/?p=11489 water faucet

You can help your state avoid an energy crisis like California experienced simply by implementing a few common sense changes in your home. Get your family involved and other energy efficient changes will follow naturally. You will be amazed how much your utility costs will come down.

Self-Watering Plants

Just because you like having houseplants doesn’t necessarily mean you are an avid green thumb. It just means you like plants and you know they help to purify the air in your home in addition to looking nice.

The trouble is, unless you are conscience of their needs, they easily die. To help avoid forgetting to water them there are a lot of self-watering options available including some you can make yourself. Not only will this save your plants and your sanity, it will also save you money. No water is lost due to spillage, leakage, or evaporation. In addition, you won’t have to be constantly replacing plants or switching to fake alternatives because you forgot to water them.

Water Saving Toilets and Faucets

Did you know that on average it takes 1 - 7 gallons of water every time you flush a toilet depending on the toilet you have? Items like water saving toilets can save your family of four up to 16,500 gallons of water annually. That’s a lot of water worth saving!

Equally, water saving faucets will help cut down on tens of thousands of wasted gallons when you wash dishes or run the disposal. Washing only full loads of dishes or laundry can save an additional 50 gallons every week. Saving water also saves electricity so you get two perks for the effort of one.

Lights

Replacing old incandescent bulbs with energy efficient bulbs makes a huge difference in energy usage. You will get the same amount of light, but only use one fourth of the amount of electricity to run them. An added bonus is they can last for many years there for leaving less waste for the landfills.

Doors and Windows

Many people are losing nearly half of the household energy they use right out their doors and windows. Check for leaks and drafts. This can be as easy as going window to window with a lightweight ribbon or thread and holding it up to see if any breeze makes it move. Seal the draft out with caulking or weather stripping. You can also use heavier curtains to help keep out excessive hot or cold air which will help with heating and cooling bills.

Energy Saving Appliances

Washers, dryers, refrigerators, microwaves, and dishwashers take a lot of energy. The older they are, the more they use. Thanks to federal energy efficiency standards appliances now use considerably less energy than ever before. In fact, the most energy efficient models today use less than half the energy a model from twelve or more years ago.

There are so many benefits to conserving energy, especially in our homes. Saving energy helps you to do your part for the environment, it helps you raise environmentally conscience families, and it saves your household money you can spend it on other things your family can do together.

Photo: Attribution Some rights reserved by D.H. Parks via flickr

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From Fungi to Fish: A New Aquaponics Kit http://crispgreen.com/2013/01/from-fungi-to-fish-a-new-aquaponic-kit/ http://crispgreen.com/2013/01/from-fungi-to-fish-a-new-aquaponic-kit/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:02:09 +0000 Karen MacKay http://crispgreen.com/?p=11038 Aquaponics-self-cleaning-fish-tank-gardenBack To The Roots, who revolutionized growing mushrooms at home, has just released another user-friendly green product. Raising twice their goal on Kickstarter, Back To The Roots' Home Aquaponics Self-Cleaning Fish Tank combines growing herbs with an aquatic pet. Five small plants are nestled on top of the fish tank while the fish's waste naturally fertilizes the plants above. Minimal maintenance is required, but the fish does need to be fed!

aquagarden7

How it works: 

  • The fish, poop and pee, and all that waste-water gets broken down by beneficial bacteria into nutrients.
  • The waste-water from the fish is then pumped up & upcycled as fertilizer for the plants. The plants take up the nutrients and, at the same time, clean the water which then falls back down for the fish.
  • There is no soil - the plants are growing hydroponically.
  • There is no need to clean the water because the plants naturally filter the water

What can you grow: Choose from a variety of fresh produce, including spinach, baby greens, oregano, beans, basil, mint, parsley & thyme.

A useful learning tool for the classroom, this aquaponic kit is also great for any family or urban dweller's kitchen. To learn more or purchase this Home Aquaponics Garden please visit the Back To The Roots website here.

aquagarden3

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Bonnaroo Announces Permanent Solar Array http://crispgreen.com/2013/01/bonnaroo-announces-permanent-solar-array/ http://crispgreen.com/2013/01/bonnaroo-announces-permanent-solar-array/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 06:10:19 +0000 Karen MacKay http://crispgreen.com/?p=11030 Roo Solar Banner

Celebrating 12 years of good tunes and maintaining its position as the leader of environmentally conscious concert events, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has once again raised the green bar. This week, Bonnaroo and it's partners announced the installation of its first permanent solar array. Although the use of PV panels and solar-powered stages is not new to the festival circuit, Bonnaroo is treading on new ground with a permanent installation. Generating more than 61,000 kWh per year, this system will mark the first of it’s kind for any US musical festival.

To read more details about Bonnaroo's environmental programs and the new solar array please visit our sister site, Green Up Music.

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The Bloombox: So You and Your Plants Can Rock Out http://crispgreen.com/2012/09/the-bloombox-so-you-and-your-plants-can-rock-out/ http://crispgreen.com/2012/09/the-bloombox-so-you-and-your-plants-can-rock-out/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2012 18:50:40 +0000 Karen MacKay http://crispgreen.com/?p=10276

Simple materials and technology combined make for a fun and plant-friendly iPhone/iPod dock.

As an urban ag enthusiast and a green-thumbed gal, I love to see plants incorporated into products, especially when it's not over-thought or complicated. In the age of Portlandia and urban ag proliferation, where "put a bird on it" has become "put a plant in it" some plant-centered products take the simple act of growing at home a bit too far. The Bloombox manages to keep it simple. Most iPhone/iPod docking stations leave something to be desired, but the minimalist design of the ceramic Bloombox is enticing. The Bloombox both amplifies your phone's speakers up to 30% and provides a home for your favorite succulents.

Created by Nicholas Hyde and Brennan Conroy of Portland, OR, the Bloombox has just over two weeks to go before completing their Kickstarter campaign. With only $304 left to hit their goal, I'm fairly certain they will join the ranks of thousands of successfully backed projects via crowdsourced funding.

To support Bloombox please visit Kickstarter here.

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How To Choose A Solar Charger For Your Mobile Devices http://crispgreen.com/2012/09/how-to-choose-a-solar-charger-for-your-mobile-devices/ http://crispgreen.com/2012/09/how-to-choose-a-solar-charger-for-your-mobile-devices/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2012 13:00:54 +0000 LiveOAK Staff http://crispgreen.com/?p=10259 solar, phone charger, solio

Tired of being tethered to the outlet? Set yourself free with an off-grid charger.

Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Rebecca Keller of AndGeeks.com.

As a writer, I depend on my 14 inch laptop and take it with me everywhere I go. However, lately I've become interested in greener alternatives when it comes to my electronics usage. That’s why I decided to invest in a solar charger to charge my laptop—as well as my other small electronics, like my digital camera and my cell phone.

Solar chargers work by drawing electric energy from the sun via a small solar panel—kind of like the solar panels that folks isntall on their roof to provide energy, except this one is much smaller. The solar charger I chose is specifically for small, portable electronic devices so I just tuck this one in my overnight bag or laptop bag and take it with me wherever I go.

The great thing about a solar charger is that it doesn't need an outlet, just add sun and power up. Not only does it save me money on my utility bill, it’s also really handy in areas where electricity isn’t available—for instance, when I’m camping, travelling by car or train, etc., or in countries where my plug isn’t compatible. I took my solar charger with me to France this past year and was able to use it wherever I could get access to direct sunlight. I even bring it with me on hikes when I’m camping so I can access the sun’s rays and juice up my cell phone and camera when I get back to my campsite.

How handy is that?

Now that you’re familiar with the way that they work, here are some simple tips for choosing a quality solar charger to power your portable electronics…

1. Do your research

Of course, a little research can go a long way when choosing a solar charger that’s compatible with your electronic device(s). For instance, there are 3 important factors you’ll need to consider before purchase:

  1. Solar panels—which come in two types—crystal silicon solar cells, which will give you an electrical current but are limited in low light and amorphous silicon solar cells, which can conduct an electric current over a larger range, but tend to be more expensive.
  2. Battery conversion rate—or where solar energy is collected in the charger to power your electronics efficiency. Obviously the higher power the solar charger’s battery conversion rate—the more efficiently it charges.

2. Ensure the charger is compatible with your device(s)

My portable solar charger is a universal style model. It simply connects to my electronic devices directly via a collection of cords to transfer power over. Most universal models come with a series of power transfer cords so you just choose the one to fit your specific electronic inputs so they’re compatible with the majority of electronic devices. However, it’s important that you check the packaging to make sure or talk to a salesperson to ensure the charger will work with whatever portable electronics you wish to power. A universal solar charger, like the one I purchased, can be used to power a variety of devices.

3. Test the charger before you throw out the packaging and receipt

I would recommend testing the solar charger to make sure it works to power your portable electronics. That means, keep the packaging as well as your sales receipt and test the charger to make sure it works before making a firm commitment. For example, a high-quality solar charger should be able to charge a laptop or digital camera many hours beyond their original battery limitations. If it doesn’t cut it, return the charger for a full refund. I recommend looking for a solar power charger that has at least 0.75 watts or more otherwise the charge current will be too small to charge even a small calculator efficiently.

About the author: Rebecca Keller is a graduate of the Arts and Technology program at the University of Texas. An admitted tech-junkie, freelance writing about Android devices for AndGeeks.com offers the perfect outlet for a tech geek like Rebecca. When she's offline, which isn't very often, Rebecca enjoys volunteering for her local animal shelter and off road mountain biking.

Top image via cogdog/Flickr

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