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E-waste

Batteries from old laptops could find new life ... in UrJars (Photo: Shutterstock)

A study by IBM researchers has revealed that many discarded laptop batteries have the potential to provide enough power to keep the lights running in homes in poorer countries around the world. The India-based team conducted a small study to test the viability of the idea, with work now focused on streamlining a prototype system.  Read More

Just what the world needs: self-illuminating deodorant

A new Kickstarter campaign aims to make the deodorant stick more environmentally friendly by cutting back on plastic packaging. By replacing the disposable stick with a reusable dispenser, ClickStick's designers claim plastic waste is cut by as much as 90 percent. That's a sound idea, but one that risks undoing its good work by overcomplicating a simple product.  Read More

The Addicted Toaster is designed to bring attention to areas where e-waste can be reduced

A household full of smart, connected appliances could have benefits beyond waking up in a toasty warm house to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. As part of his Addicted Products project, Italian product designer Simone Rebaudengo has created a connected toaster that becomes unhappy when it goes unused, drawing attention to areas where e-waste can be reduced.  Read More

'If we can't comprehend the issue then we don't feel anything, therefore we don't act. I'm...

Around the world there are hundreds of millions of discarded mobile phones lying around in drawers and boxes, displaced by the bigger screen or better camera of the latest version. But truth be told, even if we were talking about hundreds of billions it would be unlikely to elicit a much different response, because ridiculously big numbers are ridiculously big numbers, right? Seattle-based photographer and activist Chris Jordan is on a mission to make these measures of consumerism manifest through visual art and, as he explained to Gizmag, bridge the disconnect between our mass consumption and its largely invisible consequences.  Read More

Phonebloks is a conceptual smartphone comprising modular components chosen by the consumer

We live in a throwaway society, where products often aren't made to last long, and generally aren't easily fixable. Smartphones are a case in point, with the average handset being replaced by its owner within two years. And when that happens, the whole thing is trashed intact and replaced with another, slightly better, model. With the Phonebloks concept, Dave Hakkens plans to change this short-term way of thinking about gadgets.  Read More

The Pass IT On For Good USB card erases an old computer's hard drive, and installs new edu...

What should you do with your old computer? Chances are that no one will want to buy it, but you don’t want to just throw it away – especially with e-waste being such a huge environmental concern. Recycling or donating are possibilities, but how do you know that all of your personal information is really deleted from its hard drive? Well, that’s where the Pass IT On For Good project comes in. It supplies you with a USB card that deletes all the personal content on your computer, installs educational software, and then instructs you on how to donate it for use in schools in developing nations.  Read More

A sample of the new circuit board material, being prepared for salvage

As our smartphones and computers continue to become obsolete and get discarded, the environmental problem of electronic waste gets worse. Needless to say, the greater the number of electronic components that can be reclaimed and reused, the better. That’s why scientists from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a printed circuit board that falls apart when immersed in hot water.  Read More

Dhairya Dand's prototype ThinkerToys are edutainment modules designed to put functional e-...

Electronic waste is a huge global problem, and its often devastating impact on our environment is not going to lessen any time soon – in fact, it's predicted to get worse. Faced with a panorama of mountainous e-waste when passing an immense landfill site in suburban Phnom Penh, Cambodia and seeing young children working there instead of going to school, a researcher at Keio-NUS CUTE Center and Mixed Reality Lab in Singapore came up with a novel idea to help tackle both issues. His plan involves creating simple and cheap-to-produce edutainment kit modules that could be shipped out to those unfortunate areas of the world where e-waste is transported for disposal, where they would be paired up with discarded but functional tech such as PS/2 keyboards and mice, speakers and old CRT monitors.  Read More

MIT's backtalk project aims at tracing the journeys of discarded electronics by applying l...

Have you ever wondered what happens to obsolete electronics once they are discarded? How far do they travel and what are the "second lives" of donated computers? MIT's backtalk project aims to answer those questions simply by tracing discarded devices with location trackers applied to a number of e-waste items. The tracking data will be available to the public in the form of real-time visualizations, exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York from July 24.  Read More

It took three years of searching electronic junkyards to gather all discarded parts for Ma...

We tend to quickly forget about technology that's no longer shiny and state-of-the-art, which is part of the reason that piles of discarded electronics are becoming larger and larger. Polish sculptor Marek Tomasik, however, thought of a way of bringing them back to life ... sort of. He created an enormous and disturbing rectangular, walk-in sculpture made of several thousand discarded computer parts. The piece, entitled "Sometimes You Have To Be Open," is in the form of a room measuring 5m x 4m x 4.5m (16' x 14' x 15'), based around a wooden structure.  Read More

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