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Jenny An's Posts

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Trash talk: A visual tour through the e-waste recycling process

Like carnival goldfish, electronics seem to have a life span of about a week before they're flushed into the junk drawer. But there's a better way: We visit an e-waste collection center and recycling facility to follow deceased gadgets as they go through the stages of reincarnation. (Try that with a goldfish.)

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Life recycle: How e-waste recycling gives your gadgets a fresh start

Click for a visual tour through an e-waste collection center and a recycling facility.

If e-waste disposal had a late-night infomercial, it might go something like this:

Congratulations! You bought an iPhone 6S! Now you can spend hours Instagraming and making Siri talk dirty to you. BUT WAIT … what should you do with that ugly, decrepit, heavy, chipped, old flip phone of yours?

Throwing it in the trash can cause toxic chemicals to leach out into landfills and groundwater. And putting it in a drawer with all your other outdated gadgets takes up so. much. space! Worst of all, your phone and all the private data in it could fall into the wrong hands. There’s GOT to be a better way!

Now, there is: e-Stewards-approved E-WASTE RECYCLING! No child or prison labor, no toxic fumes released into the air of third-world countries, and no incomplete data wipes -- guaran-TEED! Operators are standing by!

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For New Yorkers, a farmers market on your phone

The Plovgh interface.

A community-supported agriculture (CSA) share can be a culinary battle royale. Every other week, it's you versus a mystery box. No tap outs, no substitutions. Just a bitter melon so fresh, you wouldn't dare toss it out. And while there's something to be said for experimentation, sometimes you just want something a little more familiar, something easy to pack for lunch, something the kids will touch. Or maybe you're just having a mad craving for heirloom radishes?

That’s where Plovgh enters the picture. The online marketplace soft-launched in November 2011, and hopes to offer an alternative to the traditional CSA and farmers market systems by allowing customers to order exactly what and how much they want from local farms while still getting it delivered to their neighborhood. Sites like Local Dirt and Local Harvest connect online customers to farms, but neither will bring groceries to your neighborhood bar. And while food hubs can distribute food to schools, restaurants, and other groups with big local food needs, Plovgh (pronounced "plow") brings all those perks to individuals -- even those who might only cook once a week.

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GMO-labeling game plan: California or bust!

Participants in the Millions Against Monsanto march.

Taking a play from the gay marriage battle, GMO-labeling advocates are taking a state-level approach. The plan has been to pass labeling bills in states where food is on the public’s radar, in order to convince Congress, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the issue has teeth.

"We want to see it on a national level, but as more states put it up, we'll get more attention," says Cary Condotta, the Washington state representative who co-sponsored a GMO-labeling bill.

However, it's not as simple as pointing to the high percentage of Americans who would like to know when they're eating genetically modified food. According to a 2010 poll [PDF], 93 percent of Americans were in favor of such labeling.

Thanks to lobbying by seed companies and other agribusiness players, however, state legislators all over the nation have been hitting a wall. Now advocates are joining forces to create a super team in California, in an attempt to get a ballot initiative passed in the state that’s home to 10 percent of all the nation's grocery stores.

Read more: Food, Scary Food