William's home for discarded gems and concepts-in-progress.

Welcome to William Van Winkle's blog, home for everything from notes on his latest ebooks to leftovers from his articles in CPU, Tom's Hardware, Smart Computing, and other media outlets. Check out his author pages at Amazon and Smashwords!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Toxic Tech Improving

One of the ebook projects I'm working on is a compilation and updating of the Strange Horizons column I wrote in various regional tech magazines from 1997 to 2002. One entry from 1998 discusses the toxic waste created in tech manufacturing and how companies such as Intel and Texas Instruments were generating EPA Superfund hazard cites and gobbling down mountains of natural resources. Now, a dozen years later, the situation has improved in many respects.

In the '90s, as scant pressure from the U.S. government failed to force positive changes in the tech industry, Europe took the lead with mandates such as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and ongoing TCO certifications. If American tech manufacturers wanted to sell products in Europe, they had to comply with these standards. Such changes lent more strength to ENERGY STAR and helped enable new programs, such as EPEAT from the Green Electronics Council and the 80 Plus Energy-Efficient Computing program.

As for EPA Superfund sites, we can take cues from Scorecard.org. Just looking in California, it seems that Intel only has one location still on the list: the Mountain View plant in Santa Clara County. HP has one listing. AMD has two. Ignoring private contractors to the military, the U.S. military itself has 15 sites on the California Superfund list. This national defense is supposedly keeping us safe, right?

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