EcoModo - The Best of TreeHugger

Illustration for article titled EcoModo - The Best of TreeHugger

This week at TreeHugger: Sure, the new MacBook Air is svelte and thin, but how green is it? Got a cell phone or two gathering dust? Here's 50 ways to recycle your cell phone. The Greener Gadgets Conference is coming to New York City next month, and TreeHugger has discounted tickets. Lastly, after years of dreaming and waiting, it's finally here: solar-powered air conditioning.


Greenpeace may have a thing about Macs, and TreeHugger recognizes that they are not perfect (but getting a lot better) but they sure know how to design a beautiful machine and system. Still, how green is their slick new MacBook Air? After review, we agree with Bruce Nussbaum of Business Week, who says, "What struck me most about Steve Jobsí presentation was the effort he made in showing how green the 3 lb. Air is. It doesnít have mercury or arsenic in its LCD and glass. The aluminum frame can be recycled. The circuitry is PVC free. And there is less packing material than other laptops." And that's a pretty good start.

With the average lifespan of a cell phone in this country at about 18 months (which adds up to 130 million entering the waste stream every year), there is certainly no shortage of supply for the old talkies, but what to do with the drawer-full of handsets you're squirreling away? We did some digging and found 50 ways to recycle them all. From earning cash back to helping others; perfect working condition to scrap parts only; drop it off or mail it in; manufacturer take-back to NGOs, there is a match in the list of 50 for whatever cell phone situation you find yourself in.

The Greener Gadgets Conference is coming, so mark your calendars for Friday, February 1; the one day conference is all about the greening of the consumer electronics industry. As we all saw at CES this year, gadgets and electronics are going to continue to get bigger, faster, and more energy intensive (with a notable exception or two); the conference will bring together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, journalists, and designers to talk about it, and figure out ways to make it all greener. And TreeHugger has discounted tickets for you.

Lastly, we've been waiting for this for a long time: a solar-powered air conditioner that actually exists. A Spanish company, Rotartica, has put it together, combining evacuated tube thermal collectors with a water-heated absorption chiller, and sized it at just over one ton, for residential use, all packaged in a neat little box, and it couldn't be simpler: you put hot water in; you get cold water out. Slick.

TreeHugger's EcoModo appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.