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Preventing Pollution

Dell: Plant a Tree for Me?!

Uhhhh...Dell, aren't you a multinational corporation with a large and high-powered marketing department? If you're going to do something environmentally fantastic, will you please give it a less inane name? Honestly, it sounds like an episode of Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
Plant a Tree for Me is a new campaign from Dell that allows customers to offest the carbon impact of their computing upon purchasing their new device. For a laptop, $2 covers the carbon for the life of the computer while desktop customers will be asked to volunteer $6. 
The system has absolutely no drawbacks for Dell, as customers aren't required to pay, and Dell has basically handed off responsibility for the devices carbon footprint to the consumer.
Nonetheless, the new website is an absolutely wonderful resource, and the Plant a Tree for Me campaign is genuinely a fine idea. I've heard some better ideas in my time, but I can see this not only increasing the number of trees in the world, and helping to support some good organizations, but the campaign will also increase awareness of their impact on the environment, and there's nothin' wrong with that.
Dell continues to be a leader in environmental technologies, and while this is cheap cialis from uk significantly less interesting, in my opinion, than their global recycling efforts, it's good to buying levitra online canada see them continually making steps to differentiate them from the rest of the pack. 

RFID Tags Enable Recycling Rewards

recyclebankPeople like to say they're going to recycle. They get excited about it, and cities, realizing there is, in fact, money to be made, get excited too. But then, something happens. It just seems so inconvenient to walk all the way across the room to put that can in a separate bin. In the end, recycling trucks end up driving around half empty, wasting more gas than their saving.

So, if there's money to be made, why not see that you, the recycler gets a piece of buy levitra in canada the action, instead of basing the online us cialis system solely on us healthcare inc cialis the guilt consumers feel. By putting RFID tags in recycling bins and having the waste collectors weigh the bins, a new start-up, Recycle Bank, calculates who actually recycles, and can thus grant those people rewards.
Now, they don't actually get paid, they just get free stuff from cool companies.
Whole foods, Starbucks and Bed Bat and Beyond are all in on the deal, providing free stuff to good recyclers. You can even track how much you're recycling online. The companies are happy to cialis generic brand get their name attatched to a cool cause, the city saves money on landfills, and the recyclers get free stuff. In the end, Recycle bank is able to charge the city less than the city saves, and everyone comes away with more money in their pocket. Genius.

Via Sustainablog and Forbes


Toshiba Launches Efficient and Non-toxic Notebooks in Asia

The new Toshiba M500 Portege notebook computer has been released in Asia while complying with Europe's Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) guidelines. This little computer (less than 2 kg), features everything I'd like in a laptop, but for a price that I can't seem to locate. A swappable optical drive, 100 gig harddrive, built in wireless, etc.

There is mention of it's increased efficiency (and thus battery life,) but no numbers on power consumption are given. However, with a 12 inch diagonal screen, the M500 would have a hard time using too much electricity. That 12 inch screen probably has a lot to do with why this computer isn't being sold in the American and European markets, but chances are, the advancements made here will find their way into inexpensive, low power, RoHS compliant laptops from Toshiba for the English speaking world in the near future.

Via ZDNet 

Generating Energy from Heat with a Chip


We've talked about passive energy generation before, but those devices pulled minuscule amounts of power from heat or vibration. Eneco, a company I've never heard of before, has created a solid-state (no moving parts) device that converts heat to electricity with 30% efficiency. The device consists (very basically) of two pieces of metal sandwiching some kind of mystery semiconductor. The trick is that one piece of metal is specially designed to lose electrons when heated, and the other is designed to accept them at a lower temperature. If electricity is applied to the chip, the bottom piece of metal becomes extremely cold, if heat is non persription viagra applied to the bottom piece of metal, electricity comes out.
The first applications are obvious ones. Off-grid electricity for pipeline monitoring (pipelines are usually quite hot to cialis from european online drugstores keep the oil flowing well.) But the possibilities for the automotive and consumer electronics industries excite me much more. We all know about waste heat from our laptops. All that wasted heat means a hot lap and less battery time. But the Eneco device promises to harness a lot of that energy and turn it into heat. The result is longer battery life and less heat produced. The same goes for cars, which lose a ton of their energy as heat, and even for fossil fuel power plants, which lose up to half of buying viagra from india the energy created as heat.

Eneco is already in talks with BMW, Apple, Dell, the US Military and NASA. There's no word yet on how much the devices will cost, or what dangerous materials they might or might not use, but the technology sounds extremely promising. Representatives say that the we like it where to get cialis cheap first devices will be in use by 2008, but the time line for consumer devices is unspecified.

Cities Eating Own Smog


A chemical compound that catalyzes the break down of pollutants into less harmful chemicals is finally finding its way into cities around the world. The compound, TX Active, which has been in development for over ten years, breaks down organic carcinogens like benzene, converts carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, and breaks down nitric oxides into nitrogen and oxygen. TX Active is a type of titanium photocatalyst that pushes overly active molecules into less energetic states with energy provided by the light of the sun.

The greater the surface area of TX Active, the more pollutants it can break down. So how do we spread this stuff all over the world?  The answer: Mix it in with concrete, paint, or window laminate. Cities all of Europe are using the compound in roads, parking lots and paint and have measured drops in pollutants of up to 60%.

The substance is surprisingly cheap, adding only about $160 to the cost of paint for a five story building, which could be more than offset by minor government payback programs.

It's not a replacement for catalytic converters and clean fuels, it's an extra step that will make the world a much cleaner place.
Via BuisnessWeek 
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