Vertatique's Personal e-Green: reduction of energy, waste, and carbon
We wrote in 2012 about the ecoATM, "…an automated self-serve kiosk system that uses patented, advanced machine vision, electronic diagnostics, and artificial intelligence to evaluate and buy-back used electronics directly from consumers for cash or store credit." Our focus then was post-collection recycling. Recently, EcoATM has been accused of facilitating the theft of e-devices. That a service encouraging e-gear recycling might inadvertently encourage e-gear theft demonstrates that Green ICT is not exempt from the so-called 'law of unintended consequences'.
Our e-devices contain all sorts of exotic materials, many of which, like tungsten, tantalum, and tin, are refined from ores that originate in Central Africa. Called "conflict minerals", they fund warfare in the Congo and neighboring countries. More people are said have been killed here than any conflict since World War Two. Proponents of reform just won a victory in the American court system.
Traditional household appliances have become more energy efficient in the past forty years, but households have not. The growing use of electronics plays a major role in the failure to benefit from more efficient appliances.
Here we track gear for consumers and small businesses seeking ICT resiliency. This is a wide range of ICT-related gear suitable for areas or situations lacking reliable grid power. Our latest is a portable stove uses twigs for fuel to cook and to charge a smartphone.
Looking for the greenest television set? We've had to sort through a complex set of resources in the past to help you buy that green TV. Now, EPEAT has added televisions to its equipment registry. We hope this will bring some clarity to this category.
Wearable tech is of interest to Green ICT because it can drive miniaturization and energy efficient. Miniaturization can reduce resource consumption in the creation of ICT gear and reduce e-waste in its disposal. Miniaturization combined with energy-efficiency can enable a host of applications ranging from "smart building" sensors to compact assistive technology. Is more wearable tech all positive? We look at a number of technologies, including one developed in Kenya which allows shoes to charge mobile phones.
The US ENERGY STAR program looks only at energy efficiency and not other sustainability factors. About twenty set-top boxes (STBs) or cable, IP, or satellite from seven manufacturers came in at less than 65W in the program's Total Energy Consumption (TEC) metric. This is a big improvement from two years ago, when our top twenty cut-off was 100W.
The Apple TV set-top box (STB), which I own, has always been very energy efficient. It is consistently at top the of EPA's ENERGY STAR STB ratings. Now, a third-party test finds the 2013 edition to be the most efficient Apple TV yet.
We were critical of Apple's environmental stance a few years ago, saying that the company was positioned to be a leader rather than a a foot-dragger. Since then, the company has made significant strides, such as improvements to its take-back recycling programs*. On the downside, issues about its Chinese contract manufacturing operations have been slow to be resolved. Recent actions toward addressing labor issues need to be matched with ones addressing environmental issues. Factory pollution takes a toll on both workers and neighbors and a July 2013 report alleges problems still persist.