|Cell Phone Waste|
|Consumers’ Energy Saving Behaviors|
|Recycling Personal Computers Can Decrease Waste, Digital Divide|
|Achieving 100% Renewable Energy by 2030|
Cell Phone Waste
Some 130 million cell phones enter landfills each year: over two million a week. That’s because the average life of cell phones is less than 18 months. Discarded cell phones account for 65,000 tons of toxic waste each year.
Consumers’ Energy Saving Behaviors
A survey by the Shelton Group found that 91% of consumers say they’ve changed their behavior to save energy at home (taking steps like washing clothes in cold water or adjusting their thermostat settings), up from 60% in 2010. Those who now unplug chargers and other electronics when not in use increased to 56% this year, up from 33% last year.
Americans’ reasons for conserving energy include “to save money” (32%), followed by “to protect our environment” (17%), “to preserve the quality of life for future generations” (15%) and “to be responsible and not waste resources” (10%).
When asked which of these behaviors was the easiest to do that would help reduce their utility bill the most, the top answer was “raise/lower thermostat settings” (18%), followed by “install extra insulation” (15%) and “unplug chargers, appliances and electronics when not in use” (13%). In comparison, Americans said the most difficult thing to do was to “purchase an ENERGY STAR® appliance” (24%), followed by “install extra insulation” (18%) and “unplug chargers, appliances and electronics when not in use” (12%).
Recycling Personal Computers Can Decrease Waste, Digital Divide
In today’s digital society, a home computer serves as the library, post office, tutor, bank, newspaper, employment agency, medical advisor, match maker and more. However, one in four U.S. homes – or 28 million households – lacks a personal computer.
On the other hand, U.S. businesses replace about 40 million computers every year – and about 75% of this equipment is four years old or less, meaning it has significant useful life remaining. Unfortunately, more than one-half is stored away in warehouses and closets or thrown away; only 3% is donated.
In addition to reducing e-waste, recycling personal computers through donating saves energy and cuts greenhouse gas emissions related to manufacturing new computers. For example, donating 1,000 computers saves enough energy to power 680 houses for a year, and reduces greenhouse gases equivalent to removing 480 cars from the road for a year.
Achieving 100% Renewable Energy by 2030
A report appearing in the journal Energy Policy describes how it is possible to achieve 100% renewable energy worldwide by 2030. Reaching this goal would mean building about four million 5 MW wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300 MW solar power plants.
The authors excluded all fossil fuel sources of energy and concentrated only on wind, solar, waves and geothermal sources. Fossil fuels currently provide over 80% of the world’s energy supply. They also did not include biomass, currently the most widely used renewable energy source, because of concerns about pollution and land-use issues. Their calculations also left out nuclear power generation, which currently supplies around 14% of the world’s electricity.
- During the past 12 years, humans have created more plastics than were created in the entire 20th century.
- The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that only 13% of the electrical sockets in America have been filled with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which is significantly less than the self-reported 77%.
- Women are 14% more likely than men to select environmentally-friendly packaging over conventional alternatives, per a recent Thomson Reuters World IP Today report.