Tag Archives: recycle

Microsoft aims to save the oceans with new mouse

The environment is on almost everyone’s mind these days. It’s hard to ignore when it keeps reminding us with things like one-hundred-year storms every couple of years and going through the Latin alphabet and into the Greek one while naming storms during one season. 

Most of us try to be conscious of what we do with waste and watch our energy consumption, but the giant garbage pit of the Pacific doesn’t shrink any. There has to be things we can do about it, right? 

Now Microsoft claims to be putting some of that waste to use as part of a new mouse. The shell of the new peripheral is made of twenty percent ocean-recycled plastic and the pack is from one hundred percent recycled material. 

The plastic outer part of the body uses a resin with recycled material made from plastic trash that is recovered from our oceans. The plastic waste then gets turned into pellets, which are eventually blended in with the other materials that make up the outer layer of the mouse. 

The mouse is available now for pre-order, priced at $24.99, and will begin shipping on October 5th. 

GreenSmart Eco-Friendly Gadget Gear

GreenSmart Laptop SleeveA good bag can make travelling a pleasure and it’s important to choose the right bag for your needs. It’s even better if its a “green” bag. Andy and Courtney interview Tom Larsen from GreenSmart on their range of eco-friendy travel bags and gadget gear.

GreenSmart’s unique selling point is not just that the bags are good-looking and functional, it’s that the bags themselves are made from recycled materials, hence both the “green” and “smart”.

On show are laptop and tablet sleeves in a neoprene-like material made from recycled plastic bottles. There’s also a backpack made completely from recycled materials.

To reduce packaging waste, GreenSmart designs the retail display of the product as part of the bag itself. For example, a carry handle is used to hang the bag from the display rail while it’s on show in-store.

GreenSmart bags are on sale on-line and in select retail locations.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Ford Announces the Green Escape, Focus on the Enviroment

Much of the focus lately on Ford products has surrounded technology, as in Ford Sync.  That changed yesterday, however, with the announcement of the new Ford Green Escape.  That’s green as in environmentally friendly, although you can get it in green the color also.  The emphasis for the Green Escape is in two areas – the components and the noise.

The components that go into building the Green Escape are all made from environmentally friendly materials designed to make it 85% recyclable.  Some of the features include seats that contain 5% soy foam, carpet made from 25 recycled 20 ounce plastic bottles, dash insulation made from 10 pounds of scrap cotton from the clothing industry, and a climate control gasket made from 100% recycled tires.  In addition to the eco-friendly components, there are also features like the EcoBoost engine and a six-speed automatic transmission.

Ford’s engineers also put a lot of thought into noise levels and worked out ways to make the new Green Escape as quiet as possible.  For instance the body structure is 20 percent stiffer to help reduce road noise, the sunroof has a fabric mesh deflector to reduce wind noise when open, and the exterior mirrors are what Ford calls “aero-acoustically optimized” which also helps to reduce wind noise, both with the windows open and shut.

Ford also used special sound treatment methods to audibly insulate the carpet, dash panel, and interior trim panels to further reduce the transmission of noise.  They even enhanced door and windows sealing.

Of course, the Green Escape still contains those great tech features that today’s Ford customers have come to expect.  The Sync computer system helps the driver control everything from music to phone to directions.  The Green Escape also has a great aerodynamic look that fits the small-sized SUV.


Disposable Tech

1005156_18613642“They sure don’t make things like they used to!”  There is a rich person somewhere collecting a nickle for every time that is said.  Is it true in the tech industry?  Automakers saturated the market and tried to keep making more.  The solution?  Make them break down quicker.  Whether that is true or not, it certainly would do well on a national poll.  The tech industry is even more dependent on short product life.  With the rate of innovation turning over every six months they need to sell their “better” products.

So are the products better or just feature improved?  Better in my mind means that they do more and last longer.  The physical life of tech products is shorter compared to years ago.  My mother had her washer and dryer for 25 years before they died.  I had mine three years.  My mother had her digital alarm clock/phone for 15 years.  My digital clock lasted 6.  Does this mean that the price of smarter, smaller, more high tech gadgets is that they do not last as long?

Are the products meant to be repaired?  It is not only the Maytag man that is out of business, the local tech repair shop is as well.  Gadgets are not meant to be repaired, they are meant to be replaced.  Sure you can send them off for repair, and then spend as much as a new one in the end.

Are manufacturers convincing us we need to replace our tech?  When the item does not break on us, the marketing breaks our will.  The company ceases to offer upgrades or make sure their system plays nice with it.  “Sorry can’t save the contacts of your phone and put them on your friends old one.  Why don’t you look at our newest. . . ”   Or perhaps the commercials convince us we need a new one.  2 months ago I heard people saying “I will never by the 13 inch white macbook.”  Now Apple changed the name to “Macbook PRO”  and did some minor tweaks and what do you know but they are a hot ticket.  My white macbook is working great, but it seems broken.

The tech industry is making great effort to become “green” with their products so that when the end of life comes the item can be safely recycled (tech recycle information here).  And so they should since they are making the lifespan of a product to be about two years!  And yet this is the new way of life.  The economy of the world is now dependent on disposable tech.

My wife and I are preparing for a major move across the ocean.  And wouldn’t you know it but both of our cell phones are showing the death rattle.  Hers has to restart often and is slowing to a crawl.  Mine seldom lets me know of text or voice messages.  Maybe I could just start carrying around my mothers old rotary phone somehow.  It has seemed to last.