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Manufacturers now required to take back e-waste in NYS

We warned you earlier this spring - today is the day that New York's e-waste law kicks in.  Stephen Watson at the Buffalo News reports that the new law requires that businesses that sell an electronic product be required to take it back when it's dead:

Apple, Compaq and hundreds of other companies now are required to set up and publicize their own recycling programs to take back used or unwanted devices at no cost to their owners. “This is a very strong law. We’re very excited about it,” said Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group. New York’s consumers still will be able to throw out their old VCRs, laptops and printers because a provision in the bill banning this e-waste doesn’t go into effect until 2015. But environmental advocates say the law will ensure more of those devices— which often contain lead and other harmful metals — are recycled instead of staying in the waste stream.

Big investment in tiny machines

SUNY's Research Foundation and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering are investing $5 million into a prototyping facility in Canandaigua.  Formerly known as "Infotonics," the "Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center" bills itself as a one-stop shop for manufacturing tiny smart devices.  Andrea Deckert at the Rochester Business Journal reports:

The project is expected to be complete in July 2012. It is also expected to assist in retaining 40 employees and creating another 20 full-time positions at STC, plus an additional 50 jobs at Moser Baer Technologies Inc., a firm located at the center. CNSE’s Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center will spend $8 million making improvements to roughly 10,000 square feet of existing clean-room space, purchasing machinery and equipment to support pilot manufacturing of organic light emitting diode panels and creating capacity for attracting other smart system technology applications.

Unmanned drones

About 40 people showed up at a forum at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to speak out against the use of unmanned drone technology in Afghanistan.  James Goodman at the Democrat and Chronicle reports that drones are controlled out of Hancock Field outside Syracuse, and RIT engineers are working to make the technology more efficient:

Vincent Serravallo, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at RIT, criticized the drone work done at the college's Golisano Institute for Sustainability. "Something just doesn't sound right," Serravallo said about speaking about the suggestion that this work has something to do with sustainability. "Drone research at RIT is part of a bigger picture. In a word, it's militarism," Serravallo said.

Pollution research

A University at Buffalo researcher has picked up $1.3 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science to study how particulate pollution affects people in Beijing, reports Tracey Drury at Buffalo Business First:

China has high levels of air pollution, including fine particles in the air, known as particulate matter, which is known to increase the risk of illness and death from cardiopulmonary diseases and cancers. [Social and preventive medicine researcher Lina] Mu is a specialist in environmental epidemiology in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions, with a particular interest in cancer related to environmental pollution. Mu and her colleagues will study data collected from 201 adult men and women in China. The study’s goal is to improve the understanding of how air pollution may increase various short- and long-term health effects.

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