Electronic Waste or e-waste


Day 20“Electronic waste” can be defined as all secondary computers, electronics, mobile phones, and other items such as television sets and refrigerators, whether sold, donated, or no longer wanted by their original owners.

E-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste, much of it ends up dumped in Africa and Asia. Take a look at Greenpeace’s electronic waste trail map.

The United Nations tells us some, 20-50 million tonnes of electronic waste – or e-waste – is produced every year. The recycling of electronic waste in developing countries such as India causes serious health and pollution problems because electronic equipment contains some very serious contaminants such as lead, cadmium, beryllium and brominated flame retardants. Exposure to these dangerous chemicals is rewarded with as little as $3 per day, picking through these parts leaves people, many of them children, with constant cuts, scrapes, watering eyes and headaches.

Even in developed countries like our own, recycling and disposal of e-waste involves significant risk to workers and communities and great care must be taken to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leaching of material such as heavy metals from landfills and incinerator ashes.

We all want to be part of developing technology so we owe it to ourselves and our planet to recycle responsibly. Manga-Fu and PDC are two companies within the UK that can help you recycle that unwanted IT and Electrical equipment. So if you get a new mobile or computer for Christmas, think twice about what you will do with the old one!

Green is the new White!

Day 8Liverpool city centre is to have the city’s Greenest most environmentally friendly Christmas tree ever to celebrate the city’s Year of the Environment.  The project comes after the city has basked in the lime light as European City of Culture and also enjoyed its Bicentennial celebrations. 

Thursday 19th November 2009 saw Liverpool’s  greenest Christmas tree  unveiled.

The tree, takes centre stage in Church Street, the city’s main shopping street and is decorated with miles of eco-friendly Christmas lights.  A record-breaking 9000 eco-LED lights are helping save energy and reduce the tree’s carbon footprint considerably; the tree also has 298 baubles decorating its branches.  The eco friendly lights are also making their debut in the Cultural Quarter and will illuminate the streets all the way to William Brown Street and the sparkling new Liverpool One development, a major part of the new look Liverpool City centre. Year of the Environment 2009

The tree has been sourced from the sustainably managed Kielder forest in Northumberland, saving even more energy from previously Scandinavian sourced trees.  The tree is part of the city’s best and greenest ever Christmas light show, with 4km of cables illuminating a staggering 139500 individual eco friendly lights, the lights will also entertain record Christmas crowds for the rejuvenated City where hundreds of thousands of festive visitors will celebrate the Christmas period.

Amongst the special displays this year are the Go Penguins Winter Trail, 2010 Shanghai EXPO display and Bold Street traders amongst many other superb displays, all in all the City despite having more lights than ever will use 44% less energy than just 2 years ago in 2007.  A massive positive step in the right direction for a city determined to make Liverpool’s Year of the Environment make a real difference. 

Culture

Heritage

Christmas Tree

Blue Coats

Lord Street

Ballbells

Happy Green Christmas.

Mapumental: where can I live?

Channel 4 and mySociety – the non-profit organisation who build cool stuff for the public good – have teamed up to create a new website to help people work out where to live, work or holiday.

Mapumental, currently in invite-only beta, takes data about public transport, house prices, senic-icity and combines them with free mapping to clearly show where you can get to in a given time. I’ll discuss some of the data in a moment, but first watch the demo:

For travelling into Edge Hill you can see that most of North and central Liverpool is accessible by public transport in an hour or less. Nudging the time up to 1h15m allows me to get the train in, which is pretty much spot on:

Mapumental 1:00 Mapumental 1:15

The data they combine comes from an interesting range of sources. Traveline supply the National Public Transport Data Repository (for ~£9000 – a snip!). House prices for England and Wales is supplied by the Land Registry. The other data, however, is free!

The base mapping layer is from OpenStreetMap – a project to create a free (as in beer and speech) map similar to the ones available from Google Maps, or even from the OS. It’s created by volunteers who go out with GPS and plot the routes online. Almost all major roads are on there already and certain areas have excellent quality coverage – take a look at South Liverpool for an example of how good it can get.

Edge Hill University Faculty of Health Copyright Bryan Pready, Creative Commons LicenceThe scenic-icity of places was determined by mashing up some other data. Geograph is a project aiming to have a photo of every 1km x 1km grid square in the country. All photographs submitted are under Creative Commons licence so you’re free to use them (with some restrictions).

mySociety took the images and created a game, ScenicOrNot, asking people to rate how scenic a photo looks – nearly 15,000 people took part building up the third layer of information.

The kind of information Mapumental exposes is stuff that’s previously only been known through experience or painful manual analysis of train/bus timetables and estate agent windows. In a time when many people are trying harder to make better use of public transport, knowing all your options is essential.

If you’ve not come across mySociety before, check out some of their other websites:

Channel 4’s involvement in the project is through its new 4iP fund for investing in public service media.

>