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March 2, 2015 Comments (0) All Other Stories, Features

Eco-Tech: Cash for e-waste, test the air you breathe

By Jamie Schmid

EcoATM

eco atm

Do you have old phones gathering dust in a desk drawer? Have you ever thrown out an iPod or tablet? Then the ecoATM is the new invention for you. Instead of keeping an old phone for eternity or contributing to e-waste, the ecoATM allows you to recycle an old electronic device for cash.

The process is simple. Once placed in the ecoATM, the machine will examine an electronic device, and then make a monetary offer. If you accept the offer, the ecoATM gives you cash right then and there.

By providing a cash incentive for recycling, the ecoATM, a 2014 Clinton Global Initiative member, is trying to combat the environmental hazards of e-waste.

According to DoSomething.org, 80 to 85 percent of electronics products are put into landfills and incinerators. Although e-waste only accounts for 2 percent of landfill trash, it produces 70 percent of our toxic waste. A large amount of e-waste is taken to developing countries where people burn and dismember the electronics in pursuit of precious metals to trade in for cash.

EcoATM has made a promise to collect 2 million pounds of mobile devices for recycling over the next 10 years. To put it bluntly, one could either recycle electronics for money, or throw out electronics and contribute to pollution, sickness, and death.

The two closest ecoATMs in the Evanston area are located at Lincolnwood Town center and Golf Mill Shopping Center. Take a look in your closet, find that old phone, and find your closest ecoATM.

TZOA

TZOA

“How would you live differently if you knew exactly how your environment was affecting you?” This is the question that one company is looking to answer with TZOA (pronounced “zoa”), a device that records data about the world around you.

TZOA looks like a sleek, circular button that can attach to clothing, backpacks, or purses. The device has sensors that measure air quality, UV radiation, humidity, light, temperature and more. These readings appear on smartphones through TZOA’s app.

With this knowledge of air quality, TZOA hopes to influence the public’s day-to-day decisions by creating a map using crowdsourced environmental data. TZOA can show users where the cleanest air is for a morning run or alternatively, the areas in a neighborhood where there is poor air quality that needs to be addressed.

Additionally, TZOA can offer user solutions and suggestions to cope with environmental problems. These include taking an alternate and less-polluted route, whether or not to open windows and how much time to spend in the sun.

TZOA’s idea is to put environmental change and knowledge in the hands of the public. Sometimes, even with government regulations, people make choices that harm the environment. With TZOA, people can see exactly how pollution is affecting the area one lives in, and what air conditions affect one’s family everyday. This awareness will hopefully motivate users to take better care of the environment so that they don’t have to bear the consequences of environmental degradation

You can start taking your environment into your own hands as soon as the end of March, when TZOA is set to be available for pre-order.

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