Southern California environment news and trends

Sprint moves one step closer to sustainable cell phones with new UL Environment certification

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

While the idea of sustainable cell phones sounds like something of an oxymoron, communications giant Sprint is at least making moves in the right direction. As of January 1st, the company is requiring that all devices go through the UL Environment certification process before hitting store shelves, the first mobile carrier to do so.

Sprint first partnered up with UL Environment last year to produce the Samsung Replenish, the first phone to receive environmental certification.

“We applaud Sprint for helping to lead the wireless phone industry down a path of increased environmental responsibility and sustainability,” said Stephen Wenc, president of UL Environment, in a press release. “Sprint’s decision to set a goal of having UL Environment certification for all of its mobile phones highlights their commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship.” 

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When big companies do good things: Ford Motor Co. to convert millions of plastic water bottles into car interiors

Ford Executives Highlight Former Truck Plant Converted To Build The Focus And Focus Electric

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

WAYNE- DECEMBER 14: A 2011 Ford Focus goes through the assembly line at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant following a media preview of Ford products and technology at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant December 14, 2010 in Wayne, Michigan. The plant was formerly a truck plant that was converted to build the 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric vehicles. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

With the automotive world currently focused on Detroit and the 2012 North American Auto Show, Big Three automaker Ford Motor Company has announced one of the most intriguing new eco-friendly car features ever.

Partnering with REPREVE, who specialize in recycled fabrics, Ford will divert around 2 million plastic water bottles from festering in a landfill to create seat fabric for the new Focus Electric vehicles. It will be the first car able to boast an interior of 100% clean technology.

Ford and REPREVE are currently collecting bottles at both the Detroit Auto Show and in Las Vegas at the Consumers Electronics Show that will be used to make the material (they estimate it will take around 22 bottles to produce each car interior).

They also use the occasion to report the sobering news that in America, only 29% of plastic bottles find their way to being recycled, which is about half the rate in Europe. Awkward!

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Digging for green at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

(Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

People sample a 3M Touch Systems 46-inch PCT-display demonstrating the scalability of projective capacitive technology at CES Unveiled, ahead of the opening of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, Jan. 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The world of technology has descended on Las Vegas to ogle the latest and greatest gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show (better known as the CES), not exactly the bastion of environmentalism or sustainability. Showcasing everything from household appliances to children’s toys, anything and everything that can be plugged in, charged up and do something is on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center floor, packed with exhibitors, retailers and credentialed electro-groupies.

Of course, some concession to conservation has to be made amidst this orgy of energy. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) who put on the event have created the “Sustainable Planet Zone”, an area specifically for companies that produce environmentally sound products and services. But according to critics at the show, it’s not much to talk about.

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