Archive for July, 2009

Reminder: Old Cell Phones Can Still Dial 911

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

In Canada, there have been many accidental calls to emergency 911 dispatchers. As a result, Canadian officials are asking parents to remove the batteries from old cell phones if they choose to give an old cell phone to their child as a toy. Cell phone providers are required to allow deactivated cell phones to access 911, provided the battery is in place, for emergency purposes.  But, the false calls made by kids dialing 911 tie up lines and cause police officers to follow faulty leads.

If someone does call 911 and then ends the call, the operator will attempt to call the number back. If no one answers the call back, the operator will take measures to track down the location of the phone that made the call. If you do accidentally dial 911 it is advised that you stay on the line and explain to the operator that there is no emergency.  With this, the call may either be dismissed or a police officer may swing by the area to make sure everything is okay.

However, this issue can be avoided in its entirety!! Through Recycling For Charities, instead of giving your old cell phone to your children, you can donate it and a charity of your choice will receive a monetary donation!

Tracking Trash to Promote Recycling Efforts

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have embarked on a mission entitled “The Trash Track” to show people exactly where their waste goes by using tiny mobile tags.  Their research is part of an effort to decrease the amount of waste that people dispose because typically people have an “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” belief when it comes to their trash disposal procedures.  This will be a very useful tool because many of the items that end up in a landfill can be recycled and the usage of the tags will highlight this concept.

To monitor the process of trash moving around local cities and abroad, the MIT research team will use a mobile sensor that can be attached to individual pieces of trash.  Each of the mobile tracker tags is encased in protective resin and continuously broadcasts its location to a central server.  These results are then collected and plotted on a map.  To see how these tracking tags work, check out this video of a member of the project, Carlos Ratti, explaining the process:

The researchers are hoping that their tracking system will further be used to track computer and electronic waste such as cell phones.  These items are frequently disposed of incorrectly and the tracking tags will increase awareness about the complications of trash disposal and the benefits of recycling.

To keep up with the MIT researcher’s project, follow their Trash Track blog!

The Universal Mobile Phone Charger Arrives

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

In an effort to add convenience to the lives of consumers, five different cell phone companies have decided to implement a universal cell phone charger into their models!  The five companies include: LG, Motorola, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.  The style of the new phone charger will be the Micro-USB format:

The Micro USB Universal Charger

The micro-USB formatted charger will be introduced in Europe on January 1, 2010

The good news is that aside from being very convenient for consumers, it is also great for the environment!  Instead of each cell phone using its own unique charging device, which leads to chargers being discarded into landfills because people frequently purchase new phones as technology changes, a universal charger will cut down on the amount of waste produced.  The bad news is that this is only being implemented in Europe, as of now.

If you will be participating in this change, please remember to be environmentally friendly when you dispose of your previous charger!

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