Global e-waste growth rate poses increased danger to the environment

July 8, 2020 by  
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Recent research findings published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have revealed that global e-waste is growing at an alarming rate. Many people worldwide use electronic gadgets such as smartphones, laptops and TVs, but few countries have an elaborate plan for disposing or recycling the waste generated. Today, approximately 5.16 billion people use mobile phones globally . Interestingly, most people only use a new phone for 2.5 years . According to the ITU report , a record 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste was discarded in 2019 alone. This is about 9.2 metric tons higher than just five years ago. Due to these figures, the organization is concerned over the improper disposal of e-waste. Some of the compounds in the waste are potential hazards to human health . Most of the e-waste was found to contain mercury, brominated flame-retardants and chlorofluorocarbons. Related: How to properly and safely dispose of these 10 items in your home According to the report, only 17.4% of e-waste is recycled annually, leaving about 83% of electronic waste to end up in landfills and bodies of water. According to Belmont Trading , many marine species are dying due to the increase in electronic waste in the oceans. “We know we’re losing biodiversity at a rate that is 1,000 times faster than we should be,” said Stuart Pimm, a conservation biologist at Duke University. In 2018, ITU set a target of recycling about 30% of e-waste produce annually by 2023. The aim is to increase the formal collection and recycling of e-waste to reduce the volume of waste going into oceans and landfills. The organization is now lobbying member states to adopt sustainable methods of e-waste disposal. In 2019, 78 countries are reported to have adopted an official e-waste policy. If more countries can do the same, global e-waste can decline in the near future. We can all contribute to the efforts toward a world with little e-waste. Before you dispose of that phone, laptop, TV or kitchen appliance, think about other ways you could use it, donate it or recycle it. + ITU Image via Willfried Wende

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Global e-waste growth rate poses increased danger to the environment

Modular, affordable housing project opens in Portland

July 8, 2020 by  
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Argyle Gardens, a newly-opened modular co-housing development, is providing affordable housing for individuals who formerly experienced homelessness and are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Portland, Oregon. Opened at the beginning of April 2020, the project houses 72 residents in studio and SRO-style units. Because of the offsite modular construction, development costs for the units were 31% lower than typical affordable housing projects and the construction schedule was shortened by four months. Argyle Gardens is located in the Kenton area of north Portland and features a modular design brought to the area by Transition Projects specifically to address the current times of hardship for those who need the most support. Related: Passive House-certified development offers affordable housing in South Bronx There are four buildings in total, the largest of which contains 36 apartments. The buildings are positioned around a large, central community space that includes laundry facilities and support service offices. In addition to the main apartment building, there are three co-housing structures, which each contain two six-bedroom pods, two shared bathrooms and a kitchen. Argyle Gardens is near the light rail, a public park, bus lines and the downtown and commercial shopping areas. By June 1, over half of the units have already been filled by low-income residents and people who formerly experienced homelessness. Going a step further, community-building programming and supportive services have already been implemented on the property. Residential activities such as a gardening club and cooking demonstrations have started as well. The project was designed by Portland firm Holst Architecture and features gable roof trusses and translucent polycarbonate panels. The modules can adapt to any area that allows duplexes while still working within the existing zoning codes for Portland. Despite the site’s steep and vegetated topography, the design team accomplished balance in the environmental considerations required for modular construction. The high-efficiency housing model can be replicated and modified by other modular builders around the country. + Holst Architecture Photography by Josh Partee and Portlandrone via Holst Architecture

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Modular, affordable housing project opens in Portland

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