What’s next for Apple and EPEAT?

Since bowing out of EPEAT certification for future Macs, Apple has seen at least one public agency say it can’t buy its computers anymore. Apple has responded by emphasizing its other green credentials. But it may also be helping to write future recyclability standards.

Rant: Green-marketed phones are total BS

Trying to use green marketing to sell cell phones is a misplaced effort by the phone companies. There, I said it. I’m not even going to do a light-hearted lead into the thesis of this post.

Cash for Trash: ecoATM Lands Funding for Recycling Kiosks

Cash for high-tech trash. That’s the basic concept for the recycling kiosk from ecoATM. You drop off old electronics at one of these machines, it calculates their value, then pays you on the spot, in cash or coupons. Think it’ll work? Apparently some venture capitalists do, because ecoATM announced Wednesday its first round of venture funding, led by Tao Venture partners.

ecoATM’s secret sauce is its kiosks’ ability to automatically estimate — using electronic and visual techniques — a price of the unwanted items that will give consumers an “immediate financial incentive” to recycle at the station, Mark Bowles, ecoATM’s chief marketing officer, told us today. The company has built a network of 50 buyers around the globe that will take used consumer electronics devices that ecoATM collects from its kiosks (currently just mobile phones but soon expanding to iPods, MP3 players and game cartridges) and recycle the components. ecoATM finds the best price for the devices and then passes a portion of that revenue onto its customers.
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Acer Plans Chrome OS Netbook, But I Hope They Mean Smartbook

When Google (s goog) recently shared its progress and plans for the Chrome OS, one tidbit left out was the names of hardware partners. We now know one of them, and it’s no surprise to me that Acer has stepped forward. The company told DigiTimes that it plans to offer the first Chrome OS netbook in the second half of 2010. Why isn’t this shocking? Early this year, Acer was the first top-tier hardware company to adopt an Android strategy with netbooks. That effort was an on-again, off-again affair, but in the end, Acer did bring a product to the table. The netbook changed from an Android-only device into a basic XP netbook that first boots into Android, but the objective was met. I didn’t see much merit in it at the time, and I’m not hearing about any sales records for the device, either. But now I’m at a crossroads for where Google fits in the netbook space, even if Acer isn’t.

Chrome OS is a browser for web apps. There won’t be any application installs within the operating system. Android, on the other hand, offers apps and the web. It’s geared for a smaller screen with touch. While Chrome OS will run on x86 devices, it will also support ARM-powered units. Now Acer hasn’t announced what hardware platform its Chrome OS netbook will run on, but when it says “netbook,” I immediately think of x86, which might be overkill for nothing but a browser. My hope is that by “netbook,” Acer means an ARM-powered smartbook in a clamshell form-factor with a touch-type keyboard. If instead, it means a traditional x86 netbook costing around $300, it’s going to be a tough sell when the same money buys you both a browser and application experience, no?

Daily Sprout

Electrifying the Autobahn: The German government unveiled plans today to have one million electric cars zipping along the autbahn by 2020, “offering sweeteners to jump-start national giants like BMW and Volkswagen into action.” — AFP via Grist
Fuel from Biomass, Sewage Sludge Headed for LAX: Synthetic fuels and fertilizer maker Rentech (s RTK) announced a deal today with Aircraft Service International Group, which provides fueling at the LA International Airport, to supply up to 1.5 million gallons per year of renewable synthetic diesel fuel for ground-based equipment of at least eight airlines starting in late 2012. — Cleantech Group
Study: Renewables Safer than Fossil Fuels: Doctors from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Duke University Medical Center have just published an analysis finding that a shift to producing power power from renewable resources like solar and wind rather than burning fossil fuels could prevent an estimated 1,300 worker deaths in the coming decade. — Scientific American Blog
Energy Frenemies: “It’s not clear that wind and gas interests will coexist peacefully.” In Texas, wind is already driving down power prices, putting the squeeze on profits from natural gas. — WSJ’s Environmental Capital
Next-Gen Plastic Recycling?: The first factory that can take unsorted, dirty plastic waste and turn it into a substitute for plywood has just opened in Luton, England by a company called 2K Manufacturing, with support from construction compay Bovis. — The Economist