Mercury is a naturally occurring element contained in many products such as fluorescent lightbulbs, button cell batteries, and non-digital thermometers and thermostats. When mercury containing devices are disposed of in landfills or waste-to-energy facilities, they release mercury into the surrounding earth, air and water bodies. Mercury contaminates ecosystems, harming and altering organisms’ immune systems, genetic systems, enzyme systems and nervous systems. Since mercury bioaccumulates within the food chain, the top predators (including humans) consume the highest concentrations. Consequently, the EPA and state advisories recommend limiting the consumption of certain fish to reduce mercury exposure. This has sparked many initiatives to reduce the concentration of mercury in the environment and reduce its harmful effects. Since 2003, the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) has contributed to a range of efforts to recover mercury.Read More»
By Kevin Pink, Customer Service & Marketing Assistant
We’ve all been there. Your phone or MP3 player has stopped working. You can send it to the manufacturer and pay shipping in addition to the cost of the repairs, you can take your chances with a local repair shop, or try to do it yourself, or you can buy a new one. Sure, buying new is expensive, but it would be expensive to repair also, so why not just get a new device, right? Actually, repairs are probably less expensive than you think, and the long-term, large-scale cost of throwing out electronics as opposed to repairing them is staggering. Fortunately, in addition to explaining the benefits of repair, we’ve also got a list of some great resources to help you get started!
-Repair saves money: This is the most obvious reason. Why buy a brandnew computer when a few hours and $50 in new parts can keep your old one humming along? If your product is relatively-new, it may still be under the manufacturer’s warranty, and your repair could be free!Read More»
It took a long time to arrive, but winter is truly here in Western Massachusetts. For winter sports enthusiasts, these are the golden days, perfect for skiing or snowshoeing. For some people, however, winter is just a thing to be endured until warmer temperatures return. If you’re one of those people, we’ve got some tips to help you carry on through the cold while you dream of spring, and as a bonus, you’ll save some energy and money too!
-This may sound crazy, but unless you drive a classic car or something with a diesel engine, there’s no need to idle your vehicle for several minutes to warm it up. Modern cars use engine oil rated for colder weather, and have computers that help the engine perform more efficiently in the cold. The Department of Energy says most vehicle manufacturers advise that you should start driving off slowly after 30 seconds- driving helps your engine heat up faster than idling, and you’ll get better fuel efficiency as your engine approaches its ideal operating temperature. For the benefit of the moving parts in your engine, one to two minutes may be wise, but anything beyond that is a waste of gas and cause of pollution.Read More»
From time to time, we receive several inquiries about the same topic. We’ll try to address those topics in a brief, practical way in this ongoing series we call the Go Green Mailbag. This time, we discuss carbon monoxide and combustion safety.
Winter is here, and with it the heating season. If you burn a fuel to heat your home, it is very important to know if your heating system is working correctly- if not, it could be releasing a harmful gas called carbon monoxide (CO). Fortunately, there are some tests to determine whether there is a problem with your heating system, and some ways to resolve those problems to keep you safe –and warm- all winter long. For help with this complicated subject, we turned to CET’s Building Science Specialist Mark Newey.
Carbon monoxide (often abbreviated “CO”) can be produced in your home if you burn natural gas, propane, oil orother fuels to heat your home. The typical product of burning natural gas (which is made up of carbon and hydrogen) in the oxygen-rich air is carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). However, if you do not have enough oxygen in the system, CO can be formed. If the CO is properly vented through a flue, it poses no danger to people in your home. However, if it is improperly-vented or otherwise escapes into the living spaces of your home, you could be in real danger.Read More»