Sustainable Engineering 8/6/2009

July 30, 2009
Manufacturers that must figure out the environmental impact of various packaging options now can get help online.


LEDtronics Inc.,

Mouser Electronics Inc.,

Joule-Thief energy-harvesting modules,

TIA white papers,

Here’s help with sustainable packaging
Manufacturers that must figure out the environmental impact of various packaging options now can get help online. A calculator for paper-based packaging is available at Developed by the Environmental Defense Fund, it is designed to quantify the benefits of paper choices and show the environmental impacts of different papers across their full life cycle. Typical uses are to compare the impacts of a specific paper to alternatives with higher recycled content, or to compare the combined impacts of several different papers versus recycled alternatives.

CO2-equivalent savings figured from the calculator may be plugged into another online tool from the EPA that translates such figures into other useful metrics. At html, one can enter greenhouse-gas reductions data and generate a readout in terms of common sources such as the amount generated by an equivalent number of passenger cars or homes.

Another calculator from the U.K. government site, gives businesses an indication of the environmental impact of their packaging designs. A podcast explaining how to use the tool is at

New source for energy-harvesting modules
Joule-Thief energy-harvesting modules and demonstration kits will scavenge and convert ambient mechanical energy, such as vibration and impact events, into a standard dc-voltage output. Energy harvesters developed by AdaptivEnergy, Hampton, Va., are renewable, green power supplies that constantly recharge themselves from the environment. The supplies power a wide variety of low-power microcontrollers used extensively in wireless and active RFID applications. They are now distributed by Mouser Electronics Inc., Mansfield, Tex.

Catch an energy-efficiency podcast
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) new energy-efficiency podcast channel provides interviews on how the electroindustry is driving energy efficiency and energy independence. The first Energy Efficiency episode will air in August. Find it at

White papers sort out international green regulations
The Telecommunications Industry Association has written several white papers that deal with environmental regulations that makers of electronics, medical devices, toys, and related products need to know about. Individual publications each deal with regulations in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Each paper summarizes the main laws governing product import, distribution, packaging, labeling and recycling of end-of- life disposition with special attention paid to restricted substances such as lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and cadmium.

The white papers are free online at

Edited by Leland Teschler

About the Author

Leland Teschler

Lee Teschler served as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design until 2014. He holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan; a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan; and an MBA from Cleveland State University. Prior to joining Penton, Lee worked as a Communications design engineer for the U.S. Government.

Sponsored Recommendations

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.


May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Solenoid Valve Mechanics: Understanding Force Balance Equations

May 13, 2024
When evaluating a solenoid valve for a particular application, it is important to ensure that the valve can both remain in state and transition between its de-energized and fully...

Solenoid Valve Basics: What They Are, What They Do, and How They Work

May 13, 2024
A solenoid valve is an electromechanical device used to control the flow of a liquid or gas. It is comprised of two features: a solenoid and a valve. The solenoid is an electric...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!