Saturday, May 25, 2013

Importance of proper battery recycling

Just noticed an article in NY Times discussing the business of recycling batteries.
It tells about how unregulated small businesses in poor countries can pollute  the ground and poison kids from the waste generated from old car batteries.

It is discouraging to know that a vital product in our daily lives also has the possibility of being so toxic to our children and our environment.

How much regulation is needed to insure proper disposal and recycling of these toxic byproducts?
Is there technology that allows for easier and more cost effective ways of battery recycling so that used batteries do not have to be sent to poor countries who have less-to-no regulation on the disposal of the toxic by products?

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Not All About LEED Certification: Celebrating Eco-Friendly Travel

This is a guest post from Sam Marquit, he is an independent ‘green’ contractor and co-author of Fair Marquit Value.

It's Not All About LEED Certification: Celebrating Eco-Friendly Travel

Being a commercial contractor gives me some insight into the building practices and materials used in today's construction world. While many businesses are choosing more self-sustaining products and environmentally friendly materials, they focus too much on becoming LEED certified. Of course it is a great achievement and it's a step in the right direction, but I'm definitely more interested in businesses that are going above and beyond to be more eco-friendly. Many businesses in Asia compete for awards in the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards. With categories such as wildlife preservation, cultural awareness and resource efficiency, businesses can earn recognition. Businesses get recognized for celebrating local culture or even installing materials or products that cut down on waste. That's the sort of thing that businesses should be celebrating in America as well.

There are some businesses gaining recognition for their usage of green technology. The hospitality and tourism industry is perhaps one of the most wasteful business economies in America. While there are many ways to use energy and resources more efficiently, many businesses often don't take these steps. The primary reason for this is that it's difficult to start or more costly to make the investment. That hasn't stopped a myriad of hotels in Las Vegas from making these changes. As one of the most popular destinations in travel today, Las Vegas saw 40,000,000 travelers last year and has over 120,000 hotel rooms.

The Las Vegas Palazzo Hotel won the "Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America." This hotel has a variety of ways in which it cuts down on waste and even reuses waste. In addition, its facilities have self-sustaining technology, which again cuts down on resources. There are plenty of hotels in America that are becoming more eco-friendly. The changes hotels are making result in some great benefits for both their guests and the organization itself. In New York City, for example, the ink48 Hotel has a program called Earthcare. This program allows members talk about ways that we can positively affect the environment. Businesses can incorporate green technology, eco-friendly materials and also create community development programs.

I'm so proud to be a part of the construction industry at this juncture. There are a ton of businesses that want to replace their facilities with self-sustaining technology. Making sure that they will be using less energy and even creating green energy. There is still a ton of waste out there, but as the eco-friendly travel trend grows, I think more businesses will see the benefits of becoming more than LEED certified.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Personal Power Generator on the Cheap

So you could use some emergency portable power for that eventual power outage. You just need enough power to keep your personal conveniences available.

All you need is a 12 Volt Battery and a 400 Watt power inverter to create a personal emergency power source. Both can be had for under $100. With that you can power your laptop and cell phone for several hours before having to recharge the battery.(depending on the battery size)  You can even plug in a low watt fluorescent light bulb to keep you out of the dark.

I have two car batteries I had changed out (but kept) that are perfect to use in this manner. I keep them rotated on a battery tender to keep them charged in the winter. In the summer I have a 20 watt solar panel I can use to keep them charged. I did add a charge controller to keep the batteries from getting over charged and losing charge. Still my total outlay is well under my budget.

Now the nice part is that I can use the power safely inside with just a little noise from the fan on the inverter and no pollution.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School Recycler

Going back to school can be a challenging time for being green especially when you get a big list from your kids' teachers indicating what supplies they need to start back up in class.

I don't like to buy new unless I know that we can reuse the old stuff first.  Are you re-using those folders you purchased last year? Any left over pens, pencils and crayons?

Remember to recycle as much as you can.