Welcome back Thom Hartman here with you live from the headquarters of Greenpeace USA. And with me in the in the studio is Elizabeth Jardine who is the USA IT sector campaigner. I think a lot of the ideas in internet or as in information technologies a lot of people think Greenpeace and the environment and they don’t think information technology was about this yeah so Greenpeace has actually had a tech sector campaign for a little over ten years now back around 2006-2007 we realized the growing problem of chemicals in electronic waste and that’s really how we initially started working with tech companies. The cool thing about tech companies is they are you know really leading innovation so we noticed a problem that they’re that they have in their production or their operations we really expect them to be able to find the solutions to fix that so we’ve been working on the tech sector for about 10 years so what are some of the solutions right so right now we’re really focused on the consumption of resources and dirty energy like the right now all of us use our gadgets daily all the time and have many gadgets so the production of these gadgets drives a lot of consumption of natural resources and dirty energy and we’re asking the tech sector to shift to designing gadgets that last longer that are designed with recycled and recyclable materials and also to use renewable energy to manufacture these kind of what kind of respond to you good well we are getting some response in that some companies are starting to make progress so in October we released the guide to Greener electronics that ranked 17 companies on the different areas were concerned about you’re looking at energy use resource consumption and you know they weren’t all FS we were happy to see there’s definitely still a lot of progress that needs to be made but we feel like tech companies want to sort of race to to improve like we saw this with the the text sent tech companies that operate data centers after several years we started to see companies like Apple, Facebook and Google, committing to power their data centers with a hundred percent renewable energy and they’re steadily making progress on that so now we’re shifting beyond data centers to the supply chain and there’s still a lot of work to be done there.
That’s where a lot of the emissions lie Apple has been the only company to make a commitment to power its supply chain with a hundred percent renewable energy but now that they made that commitment they’re starting to enact it and showing the sector that it’s possible wow that’s great now it seems like you know particularly in the last couple of years now that I think the power Solar dropped like just 7% last year. I mean it’s just it’s becoming exponential or if you know the exact number please you know correct me but my understanding is that as of right now in most parts of the world and certainly in most parts of the United States renewable energy is actually less expensive than fossil fuel based energy and and in some ways more reliable although that’s depends on how it’s done so that’s just kind of a no-brainer right for the big tech companies you know you’re running a data center and you’re using you know 50 megawatts you know build the windmills out or whatever but when you’re manufacturing a chip and you need some beryllium and you need some molybdenum and and where do you get these things you get them from in some cases conflict conflict places in Africa the rare earth mine in the United States was shut down because the Chinese were dumping those products on the marketplace and and these are not only rare earths and they’re valuable and hard to get and and therefore important to recycle but they also in many cases are extremely toxic chromium so I mean that’s kind of a complex issue I can see where the whole industry would start saying wait a minute now you’re talking about hurting us financially whereas green power nowadays is going to help us financially we’ll be very happy with that so what kind of response you know what’s going on there yeah it’s complicated the supply chains are definitely complex each device can use upwards of 60 different elements from the periodic table and often in very small amounts so right now one of the big challenges is like how do you recover such small amounts from so many devices unfortunately our devices most of them are like smartphones are used for around two years and then they’re replaced and those two those phones those products and all of the components they’re made up of just end up in the and they’re not used and we’re having to mine new input so it is a big problem but it’s we’re hoping that it will become economic to recover those materials as well some of like the inputs like gold it has immediate value to recover that and reuse it as other materials become more scarce than to where the sector needs to figure out how to how to recover them so there are challenges to recovery and recycling but not so much so that I don’t think this sector can can figure out how to do it is recycling yet to the point where it’s cheaper to extract rare earth minerals out of recycling than it is to buy them from some cheap mining in central Africa or in China yeah that’s it right now for my understanding no which is why this problem persists and each of these elements has its own supply chain and so like they’re coming from different places like a lot of rare-earth are coming from different mines in Russia and China and then the conflict minerals are coming more from central Africa so a lot of work needs to be done among all companies to figure out where these materials are coming from what the problems are although we know a lot many of the problems already but then how to have more transparency and long-term relationships with their suppliers to fix some of these problems what can consumers do well the number one thing we’re asking summers to do right now is to be really conscious about the products that they’re purchasing and using and try to make sure that they first choose a device that is long lasting and then use it for as long as it lasts when it starts malfunctioning rather than just okay ordering a new one try to repair it there are repair shops out there or there’s tutorials online you can often find so just try to extend the life of your devices as long as you can and then when you when they really don’t work anymore find a place to recycle them well and that’s the challenge I’ve at home I’ve got four or five old iPhones sitting around I’ve got a couple of old computers I got hard drives that are you know don’t I I can’t even get cables for anymore I’ve been reluctant to dump this stuff because all of it has my data my passwords and things on it and I don’t know even though couple of the iPhones are so dead I can’t revive them I still don’t know if there’s something still stuck in a flash memory or an EEPROM how do you if you’re if you’re concerned about security and resettling because you know I’ve heard stories about people who left their phones at you know turn turned their phone in and then somebody in India is logging on to their address so what’s good what’s the advice yeah yeah so part of we’re sending so there’s unfortunately when you recycle phones sometimes they do sort of end up in non responsible recycling settings where they’re going to Marco to the block yeah and workers are exposed sometimes to like pulling apart the different metals like you know and like burning them and it can create you know toxic fumes so so you do want to send it to a responsible recycler in the States we have something called East stewards E – stewards and part of each stores commitment is to also clear your data off the device so they do that if the devices are still functional it is a good idea to refurbish them rather than to recycle them down to their components so that’s something that eastwards would look into if that’s possible they would clear the data first but I’m just going to say something else on that sorry that’s okay that was all of us we have a minute so we’re gonna hit a break what can people who are listening or watching right now do to support green pieces IT campaign sure so right now we have a petition if you go to Greenpeace org slash USA slash do bigger things we have a global campaign pushing Samsung the largest manufacturer of smart phones in the world to switch to renewable energy right now the company uses only one percent renewable energy and its manufacturing millions of phones each year so they have a long way to go so if you go to that website Greenpeace org slash USA slash do bigger things you can sign our petition and send a direct message to the CEO of Samsung right now that’s great and Samsung USA our Samsung excuse me Greenpeace.org/USA is the main website for Greenpeace USA.
In fact I just brought it up on my competing site there’s all kinds of stuff on you. .