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Archive for April, 2009

With the overnight rain in Houston it is important to help out if you can; not only your fellow Houstonians, but the environment as well. If you see debris floating around, or in your yard, please take a minute to pick it up and dispose of it properly.

With all of the garbage that was floating around now displaced, it is not only a potential hazard to humans and animals, but to our local environment as well. Any kind of toxic chemicals that were washed around last night will seep into the ground or local waterways. These toxins are hazardous, and we all need to do our part to make sure they are cleaned up properly. If it is a small spill please take the time to clean it up, if it is larger, contact the City of Houston so that they may handle the containment and disposal of the spill.

By picking up any trash or debris that is now lying around you are also helping to keep our drainage systems clear so that they will function properly and drain the water out of our area. Without proper drainage, coupled with the rain we’re likely to get later this evening, we could be in for even more flooding.

I was out picking up trash on my street earlier, and I filled up half of a kitchen trash bag with just what was in front of my house and the neighbors across the street and on either side of me. If I could get that much from just four houses, imagine how much debris is out there that still needs to be cleaned up.

If you are at work, please be safe on the drive home today, and remember that everyone is having just as rough of a day as you are.

Be safe out there.

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So the end of a busy Earth Week draws to a close. Did you take the opportunity to make a difference, what did you do? I spoke to numerous people all week long who were not only excited about making a difference, but who were actively participating in ways both small and large.

The Texas Medical Center hosted their first annual Earth Day celebration at the John P. McGovern Commons, and attendance was great. Thousands of people turned out to speak with vendors and non-profits about earth-friendly issues, solutions, industries and more. Trees were given away for planting, new environmental alliances were made, and a great time was had by all.

That same night the Houston Astros hosted their annual ‘Astros Play Green’ night at Minute Maid Park where fans turned out to meet vendors who were on site at the game to promote environmental awareness. There were games, give aways, and activities for both young and old. The Astros wore green hats, which were also given to fans to promote Earth Day awareness, and thrilled the crowd with a six to five win over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hines Management held electronic waste collections at their properties all around Houston to do their part, and thousands of pounds of e-waste was collected. All of this waste will be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner to keep it away from the local landfills.

The Houston Zoo had a public education event which ran all last weekend leading up to Earth Week, and despite some rain on Saturday, they had a great turn out once again.

Tonight is Lights Out Houston, a commitment to energy efficiency enacted last year by commercial building owners and their tenants. Sort of a “second chance” to power down if you missed Earth Hour two weeks ago. This year over 110,000,000 square feet of commercial real estate in Houston will be powered down in an effort to develop sustained reduction of power consumption during non-essential hours.

Whether your company is doing an event for Earth Week, or you are simply planting a new tree in your yard, thank you for doing your part to make a difference in our community. Just because Earth Week ends tomorrow though, don’t stop doing the little things that can make a huge difference for all of us. Remember, together we can all make a difference.

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Our e-cycling drive at KTRK Channel 13 this past Friday was a huge success despite some bad weather late in the afternoon. While we knew the collection would be busy, it far exceeded our expectations. A huge amount of thanks goes to KTRK Channel 13 for organizing this wonderful event once again, and also to the citizens of Houston who showed up and proved that people do care about the proper environmental disposal of electronic waste.

Over 64,000 individual electronic pieces were collected, which amounted to 6 full containers, or nearly 100,000 pounds of electronics that will now be properly disposed of instead of being improperly dumped into local landfills. The importance of this to our local environment cannot be overstated, and everyone who participated in this collection should be extremely proud of his or her environmental stewardship. The potential hazards of 100,000 lbs of electronics are enormous, and by removing these pieces from circulation to be recycled, our environment is that much safer.

Remember, when old electronics are landfilled or incinerated, they pose tremendous harm to our planet, which in turn can have adverse effects on not only the human population of the planet, but on the entire ecosystem. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemicals can contaminate ground water if landfilled, cause high acidity levels in rain water if incinerated, and the plastics and glass are non-biodegradable, causing endless damage to our natural environment. By e-cycling old electronics, you are protecting your community, your planet, and your children’s future.

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Happy Earth Week everyone! All week I will be celebrating the planet with public education events and e-cycling collections. If you’re out and about, please stop by and visit me if you can, I would love to speak with you! If you already have plans for Earth Week festivities that’s great, and hopefully you will be enjoying the week as much as I will!

Tuesday I will be at JP Morgan Chase Tower downtown, most likely in the tunnel or building lobby. I will be there from 10 am until around 1 pm, so if you have some time around your lunch break, stop in and see me. Look for a big booth that says ‘CompuCycle’, most likely I will have a television running a video there, so I should be easy to spot.

Wednesday (which is Earth Day) I will be attending Earth Day at the Texas Medical Center from 11 am until 2 pm. There will be exhibits on sustainability, electric cars, environmental games and much more, so if you are in the Medical Center, pop in at John P. McGovern Commons and join in the festivities!

Later Wednesday night I will be at Minute Maid Park for the ‘Astros Play Green’. This is the second annual Earth Day ‘Play Green’ event for the Astros, and last year was a rousing success. Come out to watch the Astros put a halt to the Los Angeles Dodgers eight-game winning streak, learn more about living green, participate in games, giveaways and more.  What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with a night out at the ballpark?

Thursday and Friday are busy with two more lunchtime public education events at Williams Tower and 1100 Louisiana, respectively. If you can make it to either one, I’d love to see you there. I will be in the lobbies of both buildings with the full booth set up.

Hopefully everyone will be able to get out and experience some of the many events going on around the city this Earth Week. Houston, and Texas as a whole, has long been shunned for our lack of environmental stewardship, so lets prove that a lot of us do care, and we can make a difference in our community.

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If the Empire State Building can go green, why can’t you?

Often the argument against going green is the cost involved, and why shouldn’t that be mentioned, as it is an important aspect of any undertaking. Yet what is frequently ignored when companies are auditing their facilities (or individuals inspecting their homes) to determine if retrofitting older buildings is sustainable is the amount of time it takes to recoup that initial investment. Up-front costs are often staggering to owners, so sometimes it is easy for them to forget about the long-term savings since the “sticker shock” of the investment is what jumps right out at them.

What building owners, and even homeowners, should ask themselves though is this, “if the Empire State Building can find value in it, shouldn’t I be able to as well?” After all, if a 102 story, 2.6 million square foot building with 6,500 windows and 73 elevators built in 1931 can determine that it will recoup its investment in approximately three years, then certainly the rest of us should be able to invest less and still receive a return on our investment in an amiable amount of time.

The scale of planning and investment for a structure such as the Empire State Building is surely far grander than anything most of us will ever envision; yet many tips from the project can be acquisitioned for our own use. From large-scale changes such as adding insulated film to windows, to smaller implementations like using CFL light bulbs instead of incandescent, or monitoring your energy use to see where you can make positive changes.

Paul Rode, a project executive with Johnson Controls, the retrofit designer for the Empire State Building says that the hardest part of planning the project was to find out what was behind the walls of the building. A quick tip that can be taken from this is that you should be sure to thoroughly plan out your project before the undertaking begins. Maximize your investment by making the lowest-cost changes that will yield the greatest savings first, that way you can begin saving right away.

While our homes and businesses may not be quite on scale with the Empire State Building, we can take not only tips from the retrofitting of this American icon, but also a lesson; making changes now will not only save money, but save the life of our planet. Do it for yourself, do it for your planet.

If you would like to read more about the retrofitting project the Empire State Building is currently undergoing please click here.

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It has come to our attention here at CompuCycle, Inc., that Scrap Metal Inc., in Houston, Texas, has changed their name to CompuRecyclers. We would like it to be known to others in the industry, as well as to the general public, there is no association or affiliation between us.

CompuCycle has been an industry leader in e-waste management for over a decade, pioneering the responsible reuse, disposal and redistribution of electronic assets in Houston since our inception. We promote best practices in all facets of our services, ensuring the safety, security and responsibility that have become our hallmarks amongst industry professionals not only within our community, but nationally as well.

While CompuCycle is locally owned and operated in Houston, Texas, and reuses or recycles the majority of our obtained assets within our own facility in the Spring Branch area, we have also received the US Department of Commerce’s ‘Certificate of Export Achievement’ for the conscientious way in which we handle the smaller portion of our business model that incorporates internationally shipped product.

Here at CompuCycle we first and foremost reuse as much as possible from all items that we recover. Products that still hold market value are recertified and sold at heavily discounted prices to schools, small businesses, the general public or whoever may find a need for them. Whatever cannot be reused is properly recycled according to guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency, local and state institutions, and the Federal Government. At CompuCycle we use software that is approved by the Department of Defense for our hard drive wipes that purge sensitive data from equipment brought in to our facility. If the drives cannot be properly wiped, they are put through our shredder and then appropriately recycled.

We are also active in our community in a variety of ways. We attend public education events where we meet people and explain to them the importance of e-cycling, how they can get involved, and where they can go to recycle their e-waste. We attend collection events where the public can bring their e-waste to be recycled for free, and we ensure that these events are accessible to all who may need our services. CompuCycle offers a cell phone recycling program which is available at our location on 7700 Kempwood, we regularly make charitable contributions to the Houston Area Women’s Center, and we always put our planet first.

CompuCycle has resolutely sought to establish our well-respected brand through years of comprehensive quality control, coupled with a respect for the environment that we believe is unparalleled within our industry.

While we respect our competitors and the work that they do for our industry, we also wish to ensure the unique aspects of our brand are not associated with any business outside of CompuCycle and our established partners. We have always maintained a level of excellence at CompuCycle that we believe to be consummate with our resume, and will continue to do so going forward.

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Want an easy way to save money and help the planet?

Shut your computer down at night when you know that it won’t be used for several hours.

The just-released (.zip folder) “2009 PC Energy Report” estimates that over 20 million tons of carbon dioxide will be emitted this year by computers that are left on overnight. Not only is this harmful to our environment, but think about how much money you could be saving, or if it is applicable, how much money your business could be saving!

The report also estimates that roughly 50% of employees turn their computers off each night when they go home. The opportunity to save money just by making a small change such as requiring employees to power their PCs down at the end of each workday could save a company numerous dollars on an annual basis.

Being green is not always a time-consuming, expensive undertaking, often times making the little changes are what is necessary for all of us to do collective good.

Please take a few minutes to read the extensive report that 1E has painstakingly put together, and implement some changes in your routine. Do it not only for yourself or your business, but for your planet as well.

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