Are 3D printers eco friendly?

3D printers can be eco friendly and they can be energy efficient. Like most technology developments the early prototypes are energy and environmentally disastrous and then science and people get to work to create better , more efficient models. We don’t need more plastic which cannot be broken down or is toxic. We don’t need devices which burn up energy. We do not need devices which add small particles to the air we breathe. Since 2013 a lot of work has gone into 3D printers and their energy and environmental impact. If you want to look at the issues 3D printers can cause with the environment you can look at this post on LIVESCIENCE but the world has since been tackling some of these issues. 3D printers could save overall energy and environmental impact by printing locally and in smaller numbers to match need. There is a 3D printing pen which recycles plastic bottles. Quora has been discussing the environmental impact of 3D printing but it comes down to us as consumers to know what we are looking for. If you want to know the materials used in 3D printing they are explained here on 3DPrinterHelp. As with anything else we buy we need to look for the environmentally friendly, energy efficient models. We cannot do that unless we know what we are talking about.

The internet uses a lot of energy

 

 

green energyIn more ways than one. There is the CO2 footprint and then the footprints all over our daily living and lives. It needs to be managed both physically and psychologically. The video looks at how they are trying to manage data centres so they are more energy efficient and the reasons why they are energy intensive. That way you understand some of the issues and mechanics behind internet energy use. Some big companies are investing in 100% renewable energy for their internet output so they are not dependent on the finite and dated fossil fuel energy. The carbon use infographic  from climatecare gives a lot of useful information about our internet energy use.

…the carbon output of hitting “send” on 65 mails is on par with driving an average-sized car a kilometre (0.6 of a mile)…

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-11-carbon-footprint-email.html#jCp

Enerdata has an informative interactive map showing the increasing use of energy in the world.  China is currently at the top of the list. You can also look at CO2 emissions and China is top again. As you look at the top 10 countries you can see there is quite a difference in energy use between the top five and the next five. This particular site offers a great deal of information about world energy use and also offers a daily update. Technology is increasing energy consumption and in a connected world the answer is not going to be using less. It is going to be about using renewables and creating technologies which are less energy demanding. Those ideas are already being implemented and worked on. We need to be mindful of that and encourage ourselves and others to keep coming up with better, more energy efficient ways of using technology. Stopping spam emails would be a good start!!

 

Recycling technology

 

Linux Tech Tips acknowledges the beginning of the video is a bit silly. Not as silly as actually letting your devices go to landfill so they can contaminate the soil and water in the area. This video is from Canada but it offers a sensible approach to how you recycle technology. In Australia we know about Mobile Muster for phones. You may or may not know about IKEA for recycling batteries and spent longlife globes. Batteries and ink cartridges can also be taken to Officeworks and some council offices and/or local libraries are battery drop off points. The video makes the point it is important to first gather what you no longer need and cannot be reused and purposed and then look in your local area to find how to recycle what. Yes, you have to make an effort. That’s why the video alludes to the fact that people will just put things in the bin because they can get away with it and because it is still effort on your part to recycle electronic and digital devices. I am lucky I have an e-waste recycling depot near my home now. It is also important to get to know your normal recycler because bit by bit they are coming onboard with e-waste. The e-waste recycler near me will recycle most things for free and then there are charges for things like electric sewing machines. The list is published online and is clear. The video also explains why you get these charges. Collecting and recycling e-waste is not that easy so now we need to make a big effort to try to streamline these processes. We need to make it easy for people to recycle e-waste and we need to find the ways to make it easier for the companies to process the e-waste resources which they recuperate. CRT monitors are heavy and not everyone would be able to load them in the boot of a car. Those weight issues with electronics need to be considered.

So the plan at the moment is:

Collect and separate the waste

Check online for e-waste recyclers near you

Check your local council e-waste programme

Check if your library recycles e-waste of any kind

Check if stores take back items for recycling

Check if stores are e-waste drop off points

 

Sustainable computing

We can do better. We are busy, time poor and run ragged at times but we can do better with our energy use and technology purchases. It’s thinking about it which creates the change and then mapping out a plan which will work, won’t confuse anyone and will make a difference. We can recycle a lot of technology now. E-Waste recyclers are not easy to find , though, necessarily, and are sometimes open for short amounts of time. My e-waste has now made it to organised groups of waste in my garage. I can now recycle in peace because it is all in one spot. I have just replaced one of my monitors with a new (secondhand) more energy efficient one. I had the money to do it so I looked for one at a price I could afford. We can’t just throw things out and replace them. Technology does not come cheaply but it is a case of looking around on the Net and finding the bargains and thinking about how energy efficient and recyclable the new purchase will be. Upgrading is a good option because it is cheaper than buying new and can be done in stages. You need to know someone who can upgrade or learn how to do some of the things yourself.  Yawarra has some good and workable tips as to how you can easily go about rethinking your computing so it is more sustainable. Deborah Howell the associate director of IT facilities at Cornell University has made a slideshow pdf available so that organisations can look at how Cornell goes about sustainable computing. I explained how I made my blogs carbon neutral quite a while ago.  We are doing better to create green technology so we need to keep  doing our bit to make computing and personal technology more sustainable.

Ergonomics month

America is having an ergonomics month. Not a bad idea given we are all tethered to our devices and need to be mindful of how this impacts on our bodies. I got that information courtesy of The Ergonomic Times which is worth keeping up to date with. I regularly blog about ergonomics because we use different devices. They absorb us and then we may forget what that is doing to us. There is some really good and useful ergonomic quick advice on Humanscale which will help you to do an easy overview of your ergonomic approach to workspaces. There is also an interesting article about how the Aeron chair has had a 21st century makeover. We can do things better because we have technology and access to data:

Today’s designers have access to more data, newer materials, and more sophisticated manufacturing capabilities, and those all factored into the new Aeron.”

fastcodesign.com

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