Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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Internet of Things and other innovations help electric utilities to survive

Image courtesy of 2nix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of 2nix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most Americans take reliable electricity for granted. Electric utilities can no longer count on customers to use more and more power, as conservation efforts and alternative energy sources gain popularity.

To survive, utility companies must focus on efficiency and cost control. The Internet of Things and other innovative technologies will help them to improve and survive despite slow market growth.

Deloitte University Press just published an insightful report,  The power is on: how IoT technology is driving energy innovation.

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If it’s Thursday, it must be recycling day

I woke up this morning–another Thursday, so it’s household recycling day. We put out paper, plastic and glass in the designated recycling bins each week. Our remaining “garbage” fills only one trash bag a week. The sad thing is, we live in Houston–the fourth largest city in the U.S.–and only 22% of households recycle. Seattle, San Francisco and other progressive cities lead the list, with about two-thirds of the population recycling. Chicago and Detroit are at the bottom of the list.

I read in the Houston Chronicle this week that the City of Houston Department of Solid Waste Management is evaluating the possibility of building a large, state-of-the art recycling plant. This would save the City plenty of money, as well as plenty of landfill space. Other, more landlocked cities do not have the luxury of dumping easily recycled materials in landfills.

RecycleRecycling is easy if you make a small effort. The household pickup each week is simple. For $3/month, you get the recycling bin and set it out by the garage on Thursdays. If more neighbors recycled, the cost could go down.

When I purchased a new smartphone last year, I sold the old one to the eBay recycling service for $60. I got a free shipping label and received payment quickly. A few weeks ago, I turned in a 25-year-old laser printer for a $50 rebate on a new, energy-efficient printer. This week I took two old cell phones and a laptop computer to a retail store for recycling.

Local papers and bulletins have notices about community recycling efforts. On October 24, the (Houston) Bay Area Community Advisory Panel (BAYCAP) holds its monthly meeting at the Armand Bayou Nature Center. The topic is the interactions of the 27 plants in the Bay Area, and their recycling efforts. On November 10, the Johnson Space Center Contractors will sponsor free electronic recycling.  Materials will be recycled properly and in compliance with e-waste regulations.

Let’s think about recycling as a lifestyle issue, not a trash issue.