How Apple Reached an Agreement with Greenpeace

Written by Bryan Schiele

Steve Jobs’ accomplishments as a tech innovator are undisputed, but not enough has been mentioned since his passing about his achievements in the green movement and a shift towards environmentally friendly electronics. SlickWear took great interest in a recent article written by Candace Lombardi on the CNET Blog Network explaining Jobs’ influence on the environmental impact of Apple’s products while he was CEO.

Jobs has left Apple with significantly greener products than its competitors, a mission that Apple is continuously striving to improve upon. But the backstory behind how Jobs battled with Greenpeace for several years about the “green-ness” of Apple’s products is quite interesting.

Starting in 2005, Apple was targeted by environmental watchdog groups regarding the use of toxic substances in its products. Not one to back down from public criticism and pressure, Jobs took the criticism to heart and conducted an internal audit of Apple’s recycling and manufacturing practices.

The result was Jobs’ environmental vision for Apple, called “A Greener Apple”, which explained that Apple had listened to the criticism and had already begun banning and restricting several toxic substances in its products, including mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium. Jobs also acknowledged that Apple needed to increase its transparency regarding the company’s environmental efforts and would start disclosing all environmental details in an annual environmental report.

However, Jobs had to let it be known that he disagreed with some of Greenpeace’s practices and policies, particular focusing too much on the future and not enough on the present. In 2007, he publically addressed Greenpeace representatives to express his opinions, telling them, “I think your organization particularly depends too much on principle and not enough on fact. You guys rate people based on what people say their plans are in the distant future, not what they are doing today.”

In response, Greenpeace issued a report in October 2007 called “Missed Call: Apple’s iPhone’s Hazardous Chemeicals.” The report noted that Greenpeace conducted a laboratory analysis of Apple’s iPhone and found that Apple was in compliance with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electronics years before the deadline to reach compliance with these regulations. Apple complied with the regulations by banning the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium and brominated flame retardants in electronic products.

Since then, Jobs took steps to ensure that all MacBook models “have mercury-free LCD displays, arsenic-free display glass, polyvinyl chloride-free cables and components, and no internal components containing BFRs.”

In 2009, Jobs increased Apple’s transparency by creating an Apple Web site that tracks the company’s environmental efforts, offering statistics on Apple’s total carbon footprint as well as a breakdown of categories, including manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling, and facilities. The improvements Apple has made in all of its environmental efforts under Jobs become evident while taking just a brief look at the statistics on the Web site.

In 2010, Greenpeace praised Apple and Jobs for the improvements made in just five years. By 2010, all Apple products were completely free of PVC plastics and BFRs, according to both Apple and Greenpeace.

Put simply, Steve Jobs was one of the greatest innovators this world has ever known, but his most important accomplishment might just be his swift and constant efforts to make peace with Greenpeace and the environment by dedicating a steady focus to Apple’s effect on the environment, a lesson that must remain a priority for Apple and all electronic companies into the future.

 

About Bryan Schiele

Bryan is currently a student at Colorado State University and will be completing his B.A. in Communication Studies in December 2011. Bryan has years of writing experience for various publications and has recently taken an interest in blogging. By working with SlickWear, Bryan hopes to bring to light some of the issues regarding global sustainability, social justice, nonprofit development, and the latest headlines concerning the green movement. Check back often to see what Bryan has to say! 

5 of America’s Greenest Cities

Written by Bryan Schiele
 

Oakland, CA: Hydrogen-Powered Buses

The local AC Transit agency, serving Oakland, Berkeley, and other East Bay cities has a fleet of 16 hydrogen-powered buses, by far the largest in the nation. The buses themselves are 40 feet long and silently glide around downtown streets, leaving the environment undisturbed and water vapor as the only emission. By contrast, diesel buses emit 130 tons of carbon dioxide per year. The first three hydrogen-powered buses were introduced in 2006 and 2007 and quickly gained acclaim for their eco-friendly operation and fuel efficiency. The fleet now accounts for more than 10,000 hours of operation, made all the more impressive by the fact that each bus is still operating using its original fuel cell. Oakland’s bus system is proving the viability of hydrogen and gaining the attention of other major cities around the country for their environmentally friendly transit system.

San Francisco, CA: Solar Panel Rooftops

San Francisco, known more for its fog than the sunlight, is leading the way with its use of solar panels. In 2004, San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission teamed up with PowerLight Corporation to cover the convention center’s roof in solar panels. Originally scoffed by many people from San Francisco, the 60,000-square-foot expanse of solar panels can supply the entire convention center during events and more than 180 homes when the center is dark. The photovoltaic cells used in the solar panels do not need strong sunlight to produce energy. With the success of the solar panels on the convention center, city officials are fast at work installing solar panels on rooftops of municipal buildings, libraries, and even a waste-water treatment facility.

Santa Rosa, CA: Tapping Geysers for Watts

The underground steam reservoir called the Geysers, just outside of Santa Rosa, is the world’s largest geothermal installation. Drilling for steam is like drilling for oil or gas, except that the drill is sent down into a reservoir of hot steam. Pipes send the steam to central collection facilities where it powers 31 steam turbines, generating more than 850 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 850,000 California homes. In the 1990s, the steam fields appeared tapped out. In 1998 though, a massive city initiative allowed for the replenishment of the Geysers. Since the project’s completion, 12 million gallons of the city’s wastewater are routed back into the steam fields, which help replace conventional processes that would have released 570 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year.

New York City, NY: Underwater Turbines

http://hydropower.wiki.lovett.org/file/view/verdant_turbine.jpg

New York is already one of the world’s most energy-efficient cities, but it is now looking to transform the East River into a power source. The city and state have partnered with Verdant Power to install a group of submerged turbines that the city hopes can generate enough power for 8,000 homes. The turbines are similar to wind-farms, generating electricity from kinetic energy. The tides from East River turn the rotors once every two seconds, allowing each turbine to send up to 36 kilowatts to the grid. Within a decade the city plans to have 300 turbines installed, enough to produce 10 megawatts of power. Hydropower is still a work in progress, but similar systems are being planned in the St. Lawrence River in Ontario and in Seattle’s Puget Sound.

Chicago, IL: Cogeneration plant

Fuel-burning power plants are wasteful due to the harmful emissions that are produced and the fact that they lose two thirds of the energy they generate. Chicago decided to confront the energy loss. The city has invested in cogeneration, which produces heat and electricity simultaneously while being twice as efficient as conventional fuel-burning power production. Instead of accumulated heat escaping through exhaust vents, cogeneration facilities collect the hot steam exhaust and disperse it into a network of pipes that distributes it throughout the building. The steam can be used for heating, cooking, and hot water. Cogeneration plants drastically reduce greenhouse-gas emission and produce just one third the CO2 of a coal-fired power plant. Other cities around the country are looking to develop similar cogeneration plants based on Chicago’s system.

—————————————————————————————————————-

About Bryan Schiele

Bryan is currently a student at Colorado State University and has years of experience writing for various newspapers and periodicals. By working with SlickWear, Bryan hopes to bring light to the issues regarding sustainability, social justice and the latest headlines concerning the green movement. Check back often to see what Bryan has to say!

10 Things You Can Recycle Right Now!!

While big strides have been made in reducing, reusing, and recycling waste, the fact of the matter is that we could be doing more. The most common recycled goods, such as paper, plastics, and cardboard, represent only a fraction of the recyclable waste we produce. Here are 10 things that can also be recycled that you may have never realized before.
“Techno-trash”

As technology continuously evolves, you may be left behind with outdated products such as VHS tapes, game cartridges, digital cameras, MP3 players, cords, cables, cassettes, or even VCRs and computer monitors. These out-dated tech products can all be recycled by a company called GreenDisk (www.greendisk.com). For $30, GreenDisk will mail you a cardboard box that you can fill with up to 70 pounds of any of the above to be recycled, with shipping and recycling fees covered.

Athletic shoes

If your shoes are too worn out to donate to charities such as Goodwill, don’t fret. Through Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program (www.nikereuseashoe.com), Nike will recycle any brand of athletic shoe. The company recycles the shoes to make surfaces for basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks, and playgrounds. You can drop off your old sneakers at any Niketown store or Nike Factory store, or by you can send them by mail if there is not a store close to you. So far, almost 20 million athletic shoes worldwide have been recycled by the Reuse-A-Shoe program.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

Many hardware and home improvement stores accept your old CFLs for recycling. IKEA is well-known for accepting and recycling these bulbs. If there is not an IKEA nearby, LampRecycle.org lists businesses and organizations that will recycle CFLs.

Foam Packaging

We’ve all received a package with hundreds of lightweight “peanuts” designed to protect the contents of the package, only to find that we don’t quite know what to do with them once the package is opened. The “peanuts” are made from expanded polystyrene (EPS) and actually contain 25 to 100 percent recyclable material. The Plastic Loose Fill Council (www.loosefillpackaging.com) has a “Peanut Hotline” (800-828-2214) that you can call to find recycling centers nearby to discard your “peanuts.”

Handheld Devices

When you upgrade to a new phone, don’t just simply throw your old one away – these small devices are full of toxics. Instead take your old cell phones, pagers, and PDAs to any Staples store in the country. Staples is partnered with the nonprofit CollectiveGood, which, when possible, collects and refurbishes old phones to be used in developing countries. If the phones cannot be refurbished, they will be broken down and the metals separated for reuse or proper disposal.

Potato chip bags

The next time you “accidentally” finish off an entire bag of potato chips in one sitting, think twice before throwing the empty bag away. The foil packaging that is used to wrap up junk food can often be recycled at Terracycle.net.

Old Medicines

Your medicine cabinet may quickly fill to maximum capacity if you don’t make a point to clear out your expired medicines often enough. Rather than flushing the medicine down the toilet or throwing them away, check and see if you can recycle the medicine first. The following states have enacted drug recycling programs, including: AK, CO, IL, KS, MA, MN, NE, NM, NY, OK, PA, SC, and WV.

Wine corks

Next time you pop open a bottle of wine, hang on to the cork. Yemm & Hart (www.yemmhart.com) produces recycled building materials and can turn used corks into floor and wall tiles.

Mattresses

Just because mattresses are often not accepted by recycle centers or charities like Goodwill doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to reuse the mattress. If the mattress is still in usable condition, try using the Freecycle Network to find your old mattress a new home. Freecycle Network is an internet community that allows people to offer their unwanted items for free. You can also give away your mattress for free by posting an advertisement on Craigslist for people in your area.

Soiled glass and plastic

People are often unsure if they can recycle their glass and plastic items even if they are slightly soiled (a lime slice stuck at the bottom of a beer bottle or the last bits of jelly in the jar, for instance). Usually the recycling plant is able to remove most contaminants, so simply place the items in your regular recycling instead of throwing them away. Just know that the cleaner your recyclables are the less energy it takes to process them.

Next time you’re throwing something away, consider whether or not that item could potentially be recycled. With a little bit of research, you may be surprised by all of the items that can be recycled that you didn’t know about.
Written by Bryan Schiele

The Catalyst Foundation Community Center

Our vision is to build the Catalyst Foundation Community Center with ten different buildings and areas to provide families with access to services and facilities that contribute to their community’s long-term growth and sustainability.   The most essential service at the center will be a safe shelter for women and children that have been abused and victimized.

Our multi-faceted development approach is community driven, low-tech and sustainable for the long run. It will be guided every step of the way by the community and targeted specifically to meet their needs. During the last 3 years, this approach has had huge successes with women starting their own businesses, children learning to read, families staying healthier with proper medical attention and more food, and some members of the community even have better housing.  The Community Center will offer buildings for vocational training, production of sellable goods, marketable services, childcare, computer and adult education classes.   A community garden will be used to teach about growing and eating nutritious and wholesome local produce. There will also be an open-air marketplace and cafeteria that will serve as a gathering place for community members to come together.

We want to continue to empower, and provide the information and tools that this community needs to make a sustainable difference in their future. We know that the Catalyst Foundation Community Center is the best way to break the cycle of poverty. This is the best way to make a positive change: one woman, one child, one family at a time.

Working with SlickWear is helping us to reach this goal….please help make a difference!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL6IGVGM3M0&feature=player_embedded

Industrial Textiles vs The Organic Textiles

The booming industrial revolution in parts of Asia, fueled in part by the textile industry, has been a great boost for the economies of countries like Taiwan, Thailand, and other South Asian countries.

The textiles produced are very inexpensive, and produced in bulk. This model is seemingly flawless however, what effect does this have on the environment? As many realized during the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, there is a severe pollution problem in these countries that have settled into a system of mass production.

In an effort to subdue global warming, reducing the amounts of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere is a must. Not only do unregulated foreign factories cause pollution but outsourcing textile production also leads to the production of more greenhouse gasses. By staying local, from agriculture, to processing and production Organic Farming aims to not only reduce the release of excess greenhouse gasses, but to also create jobs for the countless unemployed Americans.

One of SlickWear’s focuses is to highlight the importance of sustainable farming by discussing both the detrimental environmental hazards of industrial farming, as well as focusing on the incredible benefits of producing organically sustainable fibers in textiles.

Blog Post Submitted by Jake Walker.
Chief SlickWear Blogger, and Press Coordinator

A little about SlickWear

Slickwear is an eco-fashion, retail store that specializes in designer eco-bags.  We also take great pride in providing information and opinions on the rapidly growing eco fashion industry, and support environmental initiatives by donating a portion of our profits to up and coming green projects. Slickwear was founded by Yash Raval (@SlickEcoCEO) and Pranav Reddy(@preddyc) in the fall of 2010, and has quickly become and active voice for eco-friendly fashion in the retail industry.

Our store offers a diverse product base that centers around top notch products, sustainable material, and unique merchandize from socially conscious brands. We continuously strive to bring creative lines into our store, and promise to conduct business efficiently and effectively with all of our customers.

Slickwear’s blog offers insight into relevant updates, opinions and stories about environmentalism, and the growing green revolution. We encourage users to comment on any of our posts, and love it when guest writers submit their own articles. Feel free to comment on our posts or contact us directly slickwear@gmail.com

Perhaps our most direct contribution to “going green” has been our “Initiatives” mission. Every month Slickwear donates a portion of our profits to a green project. We also immerse ourselves in the projects objectives, dreams and results in our blog and hope to open some eyes in the process. Follow us on Twitter (@Slickwear), “like” us on Facebook, or just peruse our site and give us your 2 cents on how we are doing. Be part of the change.

Organic Cotton vs Industrially Produced Cotton

Organic cotton refers to cotton that is grown, natured and harvested without the use of pesticides or chemicals. Many fashion lovers are surprised to find that high profile designers are using fabrics made from Organic Cotton, so this made us wonder… “Why opt for organic cotton rather than Industrial cotton?”

Regular cotton consists of pesticides. These pesticides rapidly increase the growth of cotton, and deplete the soil of much needed nutrients. In addition these pesticides stay on the shirts, and have risk factors relating to skin allergies. In addition these Pesticides that are used in making regular cotton have high risk factors on your skin and health.

Organic cotton is safe to use and helps in sustaining our environment and keeping farmers around the world employed. Organic cotton does not contain pesticides, and can be farmed without causing harm to the soil. Perhaps the only downside to growing organic cotton is that it requires much more time and care to grow. But in an economy where people are hurting to find jobs, why not support an industry that has the need for more and more individuals to mass produce their goods.  Add this to the fact that to growing industrially produced cotton requires 3000 more cubic meters of water than organic cotton, and the slick choice becomes clear

3 unique uses for Hemp

Yea we know, Hemp is the same thing as marijuana, but did you know that this little plant has many just as important, if not more important uses than its ability to produce those funny smelling cigarettes?  In fact, hemp has somewhere close to 30,000 uses since it combines the utility of the soybean, the cotton plant, and Douglas Fir Tree into one leafy package. So the next time you and a couple of buds are casually discussing hemp, visit SlickWear’s Blog and follow our series on the unique uses of hemp. Learn about the other buzz hemp is creating.

  1. Slick Hemp Fabrics:  Hemp Fabrics have been around for a long time. The plant grows well without herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. Cotton on the other hand uses almost half of the agricultural chemicals available for American crops. Additionally Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent, and more mold resistant than cotton. Hemp is also a better insulator than cotton. This makes sure that you stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Hemp is also more effective than cotton at blocking the sun’s harmful rays. This is because hemp fibers are more absorbent to dyes than cotton fibers. Hemp is also less prone to fading like cotton; hemp can be made into a variety of fabrics from linen, to silk. Hemp also has a deep root system that prevents soil erosion and soil depletion.

2.    Biomass, and Alternative fuels: Hemp is one of the highest yielding fiber crops in the world. This means that    Hemp produces more biomass per acre than almost any other crop. What does this mean? Hydrocarbons from hemp can be used as a low polluting alternative to fossil fuels. Hemps versatility makes it an ideal plant to producing fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol.

3.   Paper and paper products: Hemp paper is the highest quality paper available. Hemp resists decomposition, and does not yellow as it ages. This is the main reason that hemp paper is used in Europe for bibles. Samples of hemp paper have been dated to over 1500 years old.

Over a period of 20 years, one hectare of hemp produces the same amount of paper as 4 hectares of forest. Tropical rainforests are being destroyed at an alarming rate, and paper products are a major reason for this. Hemp paper can be recycled many more times than wood-based paper, its natural texture eliminates the need for chlorine bleach.

Written by: Yash Raval (SlickWear Founder)

Your browser is outdated, please updgrade your browser
Safari Chrome Firefox Opera IE x