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    E-com to give a new face to franchising

    MAR-2012 – The Indian franchising industry, estimated at about Rs. 90,000 crore and growing at 25-30 per cent, will take on a new avtaar with the growth of the e-commerce industry. “Franchisees will become consumer delivery points for products and services with the growth of e-retailing,” said Mr. Gaurav Marya, President, Franchise India, an organisation that helps facilitation between franchisors and franchisees. Thanks to e-commerce, companies can now maintain a larger virtual inventory, but will exist in the brick and mortar form (as franchisees) to give the product the touch-and-feel like in the case of jewellery brands, he explained. The franchising industry, driven by the small format retail growth, will also not be impacted by the impending 100 per cent FDI in single brand retail. “Globally, retail has grown through franchising and FDI would only be for big box formats or in the back end,” said Mr. Marya, pointing out that smaller retail outlets are always franchised across the world. Franchising is the most economical form of retailing because of the reach the small format can give brands. Hence, all big brands, would continue to partner with master franchisees to take them to the strategic last mile connect, which is the consumer, he added. A franchised store is about seven per cent more efficient than a company-owned store, has almost zero shrinkage levels, and saves the entrepreneur almost 2 per cent overhead costs in HR, thus impacting sales by eight per cent, according to Mr. Marya. New trends On new trends, he said Franchise India is currently advising several players in the speciality retail and services sector to use the franchising route to reach out to consumers. Cartridge refilling, housekeeping services and gardening products are new business areas looking for franchising opportunities, he said. At present, education and training is the most franchised sector, followed by food and beverages and apparel. The industry in India has 1,800 home-grown franchisors and over 200,000 franchisees. Source: www.thehindubusinessline.com

    08/30/2012
  • 61
    E-trash recycle: Chips are up

    APR-2012 – Take a good look at your shelves and the hidden corners of your cupboards. You are bound to find at least one gadget that you had hoarded simply because it had lived up to its worth or because you had replaced it with a newer model. A survey by Nokia reveals that only about three per cent of people recycle their mobile phones. A big reason why old gadgets and electrical appliances gather dust is because of consumer indifference to environment-friendly disposal methods or recycling programmes run by agencies and non-government organisations (NGOs). All this is going to change soon. Electronic device manufacturers are expected to step up their efforts to ensure that consumers take note of their “take-back” schemes, since they would be responsible for the safe disposal of the electronic goods they produce. The Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MoEF) new e-waste legislation, to be effective from May 1, has laid out procedures for manufacturers under the Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR). This holds them responsible for recycling, reducing levels of hazardous substances in electronics and setting up collection centres. An MoEF official underlined, “These rules will apply to every producer, consumer and bulk consumer involved in the manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of electronic equipment or components. The Central Pollution Control Board has already been informed that it would be required to prepare and submit an annual report (based on the data received by state pollution control board) with regard to implementation of these rules every year.” A growing problem According to a report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India generates 350,000 tonnes of electronics waste (e-waste) every year and imports another 50,000 tonnes. But, only 19,000 tonnes of this is recycled. Data from MoEF and Central Pollution Control Board shows that 10 Indian states generate nearly 70 per cent of the total e-waste in the country. Maharashtra topped the list, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. B. K. Soni, chairman and founder of Eco Recycling and member of the expert panel that helped the government draft its e-waste regulations, says, “India’s new legislation is following a global trend in which the producers must become more responsible and not leave recycling to the consumer alone.” Soni’s company has been recycling e-waste for over five years. He believes that consumers need to get proactive about recycling electronics, as against selling them to a local garbage dealer. Original equipment manufacturers are seeking help from recyclers like Soni to extend their reach across the country. “A large part of the e-waste management business involves collection of e-waste from multiple locations and we have our own network to collect e-waste from locations as well as over 600 collection centres where e-waste can be dumped,” says Soni. His organisation recycled about 3,000 metric tonnes of e-waste last fiscal. Attero Recycling, an end-to-end electronic waste recycling company, has a mobile take-back service, www.atterobay.com, and Rohan Gupta, COO of Attero, is confident of adding other electronic equipments to the service this year. “We believe consumers have begun to understand the process of recycling and are not always looking to profit from their older gadgets. That gives us the confidence to slate more electronic items for recycling,” says Gupta. Attero Recycling has more than 200 clients, including Wipro, HCL, Tata Tele Service, and Google among others. “With official regulations coming into effect, we are seeing electronic manufacturers coming and talking to us to share our recycling infrastructure,” he adds.Typically, clients pay recyclers like Attero and Eco Recycling a nominal service fee. And when recyclers collect gadgets from consumers, they pay a small amount (depending on the gadget’s condition), and either refurbish the gadget or send it for extract metals from the same. But the new legislation does not mention informal recyclers, and activists like Satish Sinha, associate director of Toxic Links (an NGO) feel that it remains a challenge to bring the informal sector into the mainstream. “If organised recyclers create competition for the local kabariwallas, it will be a problem. The issue is how to bring local kabariwallas into the value chain. Then, there is a grey area around the penalty. The regulation says violators would be punishable under the Environment protection Act, but the penalties are not stated clearly,” he says. Welcome signs of change Mobile vendors like Nokia, who claim to have placed close to 1,400 bins across India to collect unwanted mobile phones and accessories from consumers, is working with 10 companies that have around 80 facilities worldwide in which obsolete electronics can be recycled. “Globally, Nokia has taken this campaign to over 85 cities with 5,000 Nokia Recycle Points. Till date, over 1.5 million pieces of old phones and accessories weighing over 70 tonnes have been collected for recycling,” informs a Nokia India spokesperson. Companies like HP, Dell, Canon and Samsung Electronics, too, are getting aggressive about their recycling programmes in 2012. HP India has over 15 drop-off points across eight states and about 1,821 enterprise consumer touchpoints comprising 13 per cent of the total in the Asia Pacific Japan region. Upasana Choudhry, environmental manager, HP India informs, “HP aims to increase the number of collection points to over 80 locations across 20 states and is taking various initiatives to promote the same. Even as we encourage consumers to deposit used printer cartridges at our offices spread across the country, bulk users who wish to dispose of the cartridges are even offered a free pick-up from HP.” She also adds that HP is discussing the possibilities of engaging recyclers, NGO or other stakeholders on a city-wide basis for pilot initiatives to test different kinds of collection models. Samsung highlights that users can dispose of their portable products at Samsung service centres in 235 locations across 20 cities. Some companies like Dell have begun to incentivise consumers in a bid to encourage recycling. The company has diverted more than 68 million kilograms of end-of-life electronics globally from landfills in fiscal year 2011, a 16 per cent increase over fiscal year 2010. Dell is currently on track to recycle more than one billion pounds of e-waste by 2014. Mahesh Bhalla, executive director and general manager (Consumer and Small and Medium Business), Dell India, says, “Dell has launched a free laptop battery recycling programme in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. It will be extended to rest of the cities later this year. When consumers return their non-working lithium ion batteries from the Dell Inspiron, Studio, XPS and Vostro laptop ranges for recycling, we offer a discount of Rs 500 towards the purchase of a replacement Li-ion Dell laptop battery in return.” In an effort to encourage recycling of personal computers in India, Dell also launched a special discount coupon programme where consumers could send their old computers to Dell for free recycling and redeem a coupon of Rs 1,000 on the purchase of their next Dell computer. MAIT President, Alok Bharadwaj, says, “As the consumer, households are the largest warehouse of e-waste. They store old gadgets and attach value to every electronic item that can be sold to the kabariwallas. We have already informed the member companies about the regulations. Most of the big companies have already put in place the mechanism for collection of e-waste. They are also in the process of tying up with authorised recyclers.” MAIT, which has around 100 member companies, including Lenovo, IBM, Canon, Xerox, is also setting up an e-waste information portal. The portal will have details about State Pollution Control Board, MoEF, bulk consumers such as public sector units, large banks, and authorised recyclers. “The portal will be up and running before May, 2012,” Bharadwaj says. Nokia’s internal consumer survey results show that the awareness on mobile phone recycling among Indian consumers has gone up by over 20 per cent. Nokia has also collaborated with the Energy and Resources Institute to develop comic books that educate children on the problem of e-waste and the importance of recycling it. Source: www.business-standard.com

    11/28/2012
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    Indian plastics firms see growing opportunity in Africa

    APR-2012 – As Africa’s plastics industry grows, Indian companies say they are picking up substantial business there, with exports rising for machinery firms, and India’s resin and processing companies making investments. The India factory of U.S. machinery firm Milacron LLC, for example, said it sends more than 200 injection presses a year to Africa, its largest export market and more than 20 percent of its total production. On the resin side, PET maker Dhunseri Petrochem & Tea Ltd. in Kolkata is building what it says will be Africa’s first PET polymer plant, to make bottle and food grade material in Egypt. The 420,000 metric ton facility is scheduled to open next year.Boosting African business was a common theme in comments of Indian companies at the recent Plastindia trade show. For example, one of the country’s largest film extruders, Cosmo Films Ltd., said it was looking for an African location for a biaxially-oriented polypropylene film factory. “African countries are really growing, particularly in West Africa and East Africa,” said Shirish Divgi, chief operating officer for Ferromatik Milacron India Pvt. Ltd. in Ahmedabad. “Primarily the plastic industry [in Africa] is oriented toward the household and furniture industries, but recently we have seen many upgraded activities in other sectors, like writing instruments and construction molding like fittings.” Even if on a global scale African markets are small, Indian machinery executives say they are seeing more factory building. “In Africa before, everything was imported,” said Rajendra Shukla, director of rotomolding machinery manufacturer and mold maker M. Plast (India) Pvt. in Noida. “Now everybody is putting a manufacturing facility there. It is a significant market.” Over the last five years, Africa has in some years been the company’s largest export market, he said in a Jan. 30 interview at the Society of Asian Rotomolders conference in New Delhi. M. Plast signed a technology transfer and marketing pact there with Italian mold maker Roto Moulds srl. One goal is to make better molds to meet demand in Africa and the Middle East, the partners said. Some of India’s largest equipment firms also say they see opportunities.Equipment maker Kabra Extrusiontechnik Ltd. said Africa accounts for more than 25 percent of its exports “and growing,” although executives said the political changes sweeping North Africa have slowed business. And injection press maker L&T Plastics Processing Machinery said it has identified Africa as a key growth market: “I see a lot of potential,” said CEO P. Kailas, in an interview at Plastindia, which was held Feb. 1-6 in New Delhi. Expanding African consumer markets One of the broad drivers of growth is an expanding African middle class with more purchasing power, said Chandu Shah, chairman of rotational molder Kentainers Inc., based in Nairobi, Kenya. Kentainers was established in 1990 and now has six rotomolding factories with 400 employees in six African countries, making water tanks, sanitation products and material handling goods. The local rotomolding market is growing 20 percent a year from its small base, he said, although the world economic situation has taken a toll more broadly: “The foreign direct investment has dried up. The inbound remittance of the Kenyans living abroad has gone down significantly.” Still, he said new local competitors have entered the rotomolding market in recent years, and plastics-related trade with India has grown, Shah said. “India has become a source of a lot of machines and materials, and a source of hiring expatriates,” he said. The substantial numbers of expatriate Indians who live in Africa and run businesses there give Indian firms an advantage, with many Indian executives saying their Africa trade is largely within that group. Another factor pushing growth are “mega-projects” like mining which bring in foreign direct investment and have helped offset the world economic slowdown, said Gerry Marketos, CEO of rotomolder Plastex Dura Mais-Custa Menos in Maputo, Mozambique. Countries without substantial FDI are suffering, however, he said. Plastex, which was established in 1996, has 200 employees and more than 15 rotomolding machines. Part of what binds the markets is that India and Africa have similar economic and social needs, and that makes both Indian plastic products and machinery well-suited to Africa, Marketos said. “I will give you an example. All of us know there is a serious problem in the sanitation sector in both countries,” he said. “There are a couple of plastics products manufactured [in India] to cater to the sanitation need, that could also be applied in Africa. The customer base is pretty similar.” Marketos said he regularly comes to Indian events to look for new product ideas and machinery that he can easily apply, and finds India’s base of small and medium-sized companies very entrepreneurial. He said there are many challenges operating a plastics processing business in Africa, including infrastructure, logistics, and high rates of absenteeism and deaths of employees from malaria and HIV. Still, even with the challenges, Indian companies are entrenched. Problems are serious, but Africa experts note the growth of a middle class and economic possibilities after years of reforms. The Economist magazine in December termed it the “hopeful continent,” with a “real chance to follow in the footsteps of Asia.” “We are going there regularly, we are talking to the people and we are in touch with the processors there,” said Ferromatik Milacron’s Divgi. “We want to grow with Africa.” Source: www.plasticsnews.com

    11/28/2012
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    Mumbai’s booksellers face the digital age

    JUNE-2012 – Sajjan Das stood sweltering before mounds of paperbacks and plastic-jacketed bestsellers on a drowsy, a sentinel of vanishing treasures and survivor of a once flourishing tribe of footpath booksellers in Mumbai. A blazing mid-summer sun rippled through Chrysophyllum trees near Flora Fountain onto a few thousand English-language titles heaped on the road, making small multi-colored canyons of books for human browsers to walk through. Das buys and sells an impressive variety of works, from fiction to non-fiction, and new books to old editions printed decades before the word e-mail became part of our vocabulary, when Amazon was a great South American river and not a giant online book retailer, and Kindle meant only the verb to arouse. Das and neighbouring book merchants are struggling remnants of an urban street culture as old as cities and as old as the printed word, but now battling an Internet era where digital options increase for decreasing leisure time. A long row of booksellers without shops once thrived by this busy intersection of roads stretching from Fort leading to the Arabian Sea, and alongside the famous Oval Maidan, famed among for cricket and football. Ten years ago, this book avenue was a favourite hunting territory for bargains and out-of-print editions from authors ranging from Richmal Crompton, Frank Richards, Enid Blyton and P G Wodehouse to Agatha Christie and Leslie Charteris. It is Mumbai’s version of the book market in College Street in Kolkata or the Sunday book bazaar at Daryaganj in Old Delhi and the Moore Market in Chennai before it was burnt down three decades ago. The once bustling tribe has shrunk to about 10 book merchants functioning under venerable trees behind a gray stone statue of Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917), the “Grand Old Man of India” and one of the pioneers in the fight against colonial rule. Das and colleagues are fighting to make a living under perhaps the same trees that were saplings when Naoroji was alive. “Business is down by 50% these days,” he says, “but we still have a faithful clientele for rare and antique books, out-of-print editions, as well as for management, technical and other non-fiction categories.” It’s a crossroads in time for book merchants making a livelihood out of a tradition born in 1471 AD, when the first book to be printed in the English language was said to be The Recuyell of the Histories of Troy, translated by William Caxton from Jean de Vignay’ s original in French. Sale of e-books overtook sales of paper books for the first time in the United States last year. Major book stores chain in India such as Oxford, Crosswords and Landmark are reinventing themselves to survive. Like others of its kind, the Oxford book shop near KC College in Mumbai includes a small tea lounge with nearly a hundred choices of tea, including Chinese “gun powder”; and patrons could read books for free lolling on cushioned stools, in air-conditioned comfort and with soft music as backdrop. Alongside book shelves were glass counters selling DVDs, music CDs, coffee mugs, Parker and Sheaffer pens, t-shirts and even 18th-century clocks. No such options exist for roadside book merchants like Sajjan Das. They can only continue to also serve as valuable conduits, preservers or givers of new life to forgotten old books from households and dusty trunks. “Sometimes, after a book collector dies, his son or family sells his books, and we get the stock that interests other book collectors,” says Das. A decade into the future, in 2022, it’s likely be a moot thought that paper books, leave alone roadside booksellers, will have become as uncommon a daily sighting as ink bottles for fo untain pens. Will a parent in 2072 have to explain to a child that people once read books made out of paper? For now, folk continue browsing through books spread out like a roadside feast, and never quite know what can be found in this paper banquet. One of Das’ customers unearthed a book with a hand-written note from Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), who won the Nobel laureate for literature in 1913 and was one of India’s more revered names in poetry and arts. A few customers, including two teenagers, ask Das for specific titles. But there is not quite a rush be-fitting one of the most tourist-frequented regions of Mumbai. Located just a few minutes walking distance from Das’ book collection are the Marine Drive promenande, the Gateway of India, the Mumbai museum, the Jehangir Art Gallery and the Colaba shopping district. Das, in his mid-thirties, says he dropped out of school. However, he can pick out a title from fiction, management, computers, history and other categories – all from a collection representing days when a notebook wasn’t a type of laptop. “In earlier years, students used to come here often to get material for their school projects,” says Das. “They used to buy old National Geographic magazines and so on. Now they get all their information from the Internet.” In fact, stacks of National Geographic past issues, once a standard sight in these street side bookshops, were not to be seen this May day. Likewise, familiar piles of popular comics seem to have lessened or disappeared from these roadside book havens. Barely four Asterix and Tintin comic volumes were visible, while dozens were easily found in stacks 10 years ago. This old Mumbai avenue of comics and paperbacks was also a thriving lair of book pirates, as Asia Times Online reported eight years ago (see India’s bootlegging book bandits April 23, 2004). But Das claims piracy has been abolished in this day and age. “We don’t keep pirated books anymore,” he insists. “There’s not much of a difference in margin of profit, and these pirated books have many misprints.” A dubious looking Harry Potter paperback stared up from near him, whose sale proceeds will not look likely be adding to J K Rowling’s billions. But then Das and co looked relaxed sipping their 4 pm tea, not quite keeping a weather eye open for the swooping municipal van confiscating unlawful merchandise. Either Das was truthful about book piracy having disappeared or diminished, or the municipality was busy with other more pressing engagements. “Children nowadays also buy comic books here, but times are changing,” says Lalith, a neighboring vendor. “Non-fiction books sell more, and old favourites like William are hard to come by, as are hard-bound editions or those with gold-engraved titles.” Lalith, like many others of this street side book keeper tribe, has a strong memory. He says he remembered me enquiring years ago for out-of-print Billy Bunter books by Frank Richards. I had given him a contact number, as is procedure, for an alert if any wanted book arrived. “I have not received a Bunter book for quite some time,” he said, and listened quietly as I told him that the original Richards books, appearing in the weekly Magnet magazine (1908-1940), are now freely available from a website uploaded by fans. But these street-side book merchants, can sometimes offer what the Internet and eBay may not always provide. That afternoon, I saw a 1956 paperback of Lord Charnwood’s critically acclaimed biography of Abraham Lincoln, from New York’s Pocket Books publishers, marked for 55 rupees (about US$1). Amazon was offering a 1998 edition for $14.73. The original price rubber-stamped on the inside page of the old paperback was 0.80 paise in 1956, a sum not nearly sufficient to buy a small glass of roadside tea in 2012. Archival black-and-white photographs of Mumbai circa 1956 shows the car park around the Flora Fountain opposite a tram station. Where are they now, those people of over 50 summers ago who travelled those trams and trekked along the same road on which I stood talking to the book merchants? Are they living happily in a ripened old age, or have they been reborn in a happy plane of existence, with or without books? Did they remotely imagine the incredible modern day marvel called the Internet offering instant access to millions of books, words, images, sounds and live pictures across continents and oceans? Evolving technology can enable carrying dozens of books in a small hand-held gadget, or even change fonts to eye-friendly sizes. But technology as yet lacks the little sensory touch that makes memories, like that unmistakable fragrance of browning paper of a vintage book – a signature of nature as timeless and unforgettable like the first rain drops in summer. Das instantly responds when asked if he thinks his roadside book business will be around after 10 years, and if he will need to look for another job. “Whether there is the Internet or not, books will always be there,” he says, but a question is whether they will be made of paper, or be 3D hologram projections of words in space. Source: www.atimes.com

    02/28/2013
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    Where ink pen is mightier than ball pen

    JULY-2012 – Say ‘no’ to ball pens and ‘yes’ to ink pens. This initiative by students of Vijnaana Vilasini Higher Secondary School near Thamarakkulam, goes to prove that given the right opportunity, there’s no dearth of ideas within the student community. Nobody is in doubt about the might of a humble weapon like the pen. But as technology advanced, the ball pen revolution set in, leaving teachers asking themselves whether it was right to ban the use of these pens. Vijnaana Vilasini HSS students have set aside all debates and are firm in their decision to use ink pens. They decided to give Mother Nature a breather when they realised that ball pens are not bio-degradable. Why pollute the Earth if they can help it, the students felt. Eco club convener Rafi Ramnath told Deccan Chronicle that the idea was born when students found that the campus and its surroundings were littered by ball pens. On an average, a student uses three ball pens a month. It is then flung out. Besides, the use and throw culture has only added to the menace of environmental pollution. There are about 3000 students in the school. “We did a bit of research and found that over one lakh pens are thrown away a year by students here, said Ramnath. “The initiative was discussed with the students and we took an opinion poll among students, teachers and parents a month ago making them aware of the consequences of littering the place. We distributed ink pens to all students. All classteachers have been directed to see that students use only ink pens. The Eco club has also instituted a prize for the best ink pen-using class,” he added. Rafi, who has been using a Parker ink pen for the last six years, said that all the ink pens were sponsored by well-wishers. Krishanan Unni, a class VII student said he had been using at least three ball pens a month before the idea was introduced. “We love Nature. Hence, we took up this initiative. Besides, it helps in improving our handwriting,” he said. Source: www.deccanchronicle.com

    03/01/2013
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    Smartphones and e-books now replacing pencils and paper in schools

    AUGUST-2012 – More and more schools are increasing the use of technology in the classroom to improve student learning, according to a Kansas State University education technology expert. Smartphones, e-books, iPads, Kindles, iPods, etc. have now become the new learning aids for school kids. “Today it is very common that elementary school classrooms are equipped with SMART boards, which are interactive white boards, as well as a projector and at least one classroom computer with a high-speed Internet connection,” said Lotta Larson, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction who studies how technology can aid learning. “More traditional technologies, such as audio recorders and players, are also useful and common at the elementary level. Preferably, all students have access to computers several times a week, whether that is through the use of laptops, tablets or stationary desktop computers in a computer lab,” she said. The use of e-books in the classroom is an increasing trend, particularly at the elementary level, Larson said. She attributes the increase to the significant decrease in the price of digital readers like the Amazon Kindle, making the devices an affordable alternative to iPads and laptops. “The availability and affordability of e-books for children and young adults have increased rapidly, so teachers and students have endless options for both fiction and nonfiction texts,” she said. “E-books are generally less expensive than print copies of the same book, and they don’t wear out as quickly as a print copy. Another advantage is the instant access. Generally, an e-book can be downloaded in a matter of minutes,” she noted. Perhaps the greatest advantage of e-books, Larson said, is the ability to differentiate the reading experience. The devices allow the reader to customize the reading experience by adjusting the font size and page layout, or through the use of tools and features like a built-in dictionary, highlighter, digital notes or text-to-speech capabilities. “This means all students — even those who struggle or have specific learning needs — can benefit from digital reading,” Larson said. “As teachers are quickly realizing the possibilities of supporting students’ reading comprehension and motivation, this technology is definitely becoming more popular in all grade levels,” she stated. Another trend is allowing students to bring electronic devices from home to use in the classroom — even their smartphones. “In the past, school districts created policies that banned cellphones, but many districts are now beginning to see the advantages of allowing students to use their phones to support learning during the school day,” Larson said. “And many schools are now allowing students to bring and use their own gadgets and devices from home — iPads, cellphones, Kindles, iPods, etc. — to be used during the school day to support learning,” she continued. More schools are also engaging in iPad or laptop initiatives where students have access to such technologies throughout the school day, not just during a designated — and often limited — computer lab time, Larson said. “This approach mimics the way most adults use technology throughout the day — whenever it is needed, and for authentic purposes,” she said. But Larson cautions it’s not enough to just place laptops, tablets or digital reading devices in the hands of children. She said teachers need to teach and model new literacy skills that are essential for effective use of such technologies. It’s also important for parents and teachers to communicate technology expectations, guidelines and rules. Source: news.bioscholar.com

    03/01/2013
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    What kind of paper is pertinent for the Paper Recycling Process?

    SEP-2012 – Most people are familiar with the recycling logo. You can find it on some of the packaging of products you buy, as well as on bins and other items used for recycling. What you might not be aware of is how the whole recycling process works. Let’s start at the beginning of the paper recycling process and work our way to the end. As you already know, the paper recycling process can’t start without the millions of people dedicated to collecting and getting their recyclables to the plants any way necessary. Only certain types of paper can be recycled and it’s important to know which ones to save. The paper recycling process starts with you. Here are a few examples of the kinds of paper that are suitable for your recycling bin. When most people think of the paper recycling process and what can be added to the mix, they tend to think about magazines and newspapers. Considering that a newspaper in the landfill can take up to ten years to biodegrade makes it an excellent choice for your paper recycling efforts. The same thing goes for magazines and sale flyers. If possible, it’s incredibly helpful to remove any staples or non paper materials from your paper. It saves a lot of time in the paper recycling process. Another type of paper that works well in the paper recycling process is construction paper. Schools and households with young children are sure to be excellent candidates for this type of paper recycling. You can also add cardboard of just about any kind into the mix for good measure. On the subject of schools and other places where a great deal of paper is used, businesses, along with schools and universities, tend to use a lot of computer paper. Of course, this type of paper is easily added into the paper recycling bundles. Most of the time, computer paper doesn’t need any preparation, like removing stapes or plastic tabs, before hand. As mentioned, the above types of paper are pretty easy to deal with in the paper recycling process. There are others that can be used for recycling as well. You just might have to do a bit of work before the plant will be willing to accept it. Take envelopes with plastic windows for example. Even if the recycling plant in your area recycles plastic along with their paper recycling process, they still can’t take your envelope as is. It’s essential to remove the plastic first. You will also have to be careful to remove any plastic faux credit cards from the junk mail you want to recycle. Source: environmental-information.com

    03/02/2013
  • 55
    Pen and pad – noteworthy writing tools

    SEP-2012 – At a recent writing seminar a young participant recommended a digital service that stores notes, pictures and Web clips online so users can access them anywhere from any device. He said that the site advised journalists to ‘leave the notebook at home!’ All right, I must admit that the gadget may be considered a ‘cool tool’, but I do not think it would ever replace the reporter’s notebook. Today’s journalists have so many high-tech tools at their disposal: Google, the Internet, computers, GPS services and Blackberries. But none of these are as iconic or important as the journalists’ Number One tool in their arsenal – the reporter’s notebook. Yes a pad and pen are still the most convenient way I have always found to take notes on assignment. They are super portable, reliable in all kinds of conditions and never need recharging. It is always at a journalist’s side – through press conferences, court hearings, breaking news and even while sleeping, because, unlike other devices, the notebook doesn’t need batteries or service or a USB connection. All it needs is a pen or pencil and a hard-working journalist attached to it. Reporters’ notebooks are also essential to journalists because of the fact that they contain every number, lead, quote and scoop collected while in the field. They are considered extremely important to one’s work. So important in fact because journalists are known to have defied court orders, subpoenas, threats of physical violence and even gone to jail to safeguard the contents of their notebooks. I have worked in newspapers almost my entire career. I have used digital recorders. They are handy but do have their drawbacks, and it would not be wise to rely on them totally. For instance, you have to go back and listen to everything again. That is time-consuming and in every newsroom I have worked in, there had been simply no time to waste. Even in the digital age, the notebook is an essential tool of a journalist’s trade, whether working in print, radio or television. Few people have memories good enough to remember everything they are told, and there is no room in journalism for getting things ‘roughly right’. The notebook allows you to record essential details and organise information. In other words it also frees your mind for thinking. However, it is no use carrying a notebook around unless you are able to use it properly and consistently. Whenever someone starts to talk, you should assess whether it is newsworthy. If it is, take out your notebook and start taking notes. Many young journalists are embarrassed to take their notebooks out in front of people. Remember, if a person is to be quoted, h/she would much prefer that you get a correct version than be misquoted. If there is any doubt in your mind about a person’s willingness to be interviewed, ask if they object to you making notes. If they do, try to remember what they said and write your notes up as soon as they have gone. Be careful though. Your notes will not be as accurate as jotting it down firsthand, and you must bear this in mind when you are writing your story. Do not struggle with notebooks, which are either so large that they become impossible to hold or so small that they do not hold enough information, and leave you turning the page for every sentence. The real reporter’s notebook is unique given its shape. It is longer than it is wide, making it the perfect size to slip into a hip pocket and makes taking notes an easy task since a journalist’s hand doesn’t have to swoop across the entire length of a full-page while writing. Ideally you should choose a notebook with the following features: It should sit comfortably in one hand like a sort of small clipboard. This is useful whenever you have to make notes standing up or walking. It should have a hard back for support. It should have a metal spiral at the top to make it easier to flip pages over. It should have faint rules on both sides of each page. Once you have found a type of notebook that you like, stay with that make where possible. It will be one less thing to go wrong. Before you attempt to make notes, also make sure that you carry a couple of extra ballpoint pens or pencils. Regularly check all your pens and pencils to make sure they are in working order. If in doubt, throw it out. As a journalist, I learned to listen for what was most important in an interview and just write that part down. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that you learned to distinguish what was not important and left that part out. I never learned shorthand. I developed my own abbreviations to save time, picking up ideas from colleagues along the way. I use a dash for ‘not’ or a negative, for example, and an underline to signify ‘ing’ at the end of a word. I leave out a lot of letters. Lower case ‘e’ is ‘we’ and ‘pl’ is ‘people’. Many years before texting became a verb, I was using the same abbreviations in my notes that many people now use on their smartphones: ‘u’ for ‘you’ and ‘yr’ for ‘your’. When a notebook is finished, do not throw it away. Mark the date you finish it clearly on the front cover, then store the book safely in your desk drawer or filing cabinet. You can eventually throw the books out, but make it a policy never to discard a notebook for at least a year after it is finished. You never know when you might need it again. Should you be accused of defamation, for example, a properly marked notebook can be produced as evidence in court and may help in your defence. Finally, there will be occasions when you are caught without a notebook, maybe at a social event. Then you must make use of whatever paper is handy. Most experienced journalists have, at some time in their careers, used paper napkins, the backs of menus and even beer mats, peeled apart to give them two white squares of paper. This is only for emergencies, though. There is no substitute for a well-kept notebook. The reporter’s notebook has proven its necessity by outlasting such tools of the trade such as typewriters, the ticker tape machine in the printing press and platinum nib dipping pens and ink-wells. Source: www.nation.lk

    03/02/2013
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    Paper craft

    OCT-2012 – Move over the time-worn brown-coloured or even shiny, glittering paper that was the mainstay to pack gifts. The commonplace paper has undergone a complete makeover in the past few decades to arrive as a design statement. Available in vibrant colours and different textures, a piece of paper can become a piece of art though embroidery and embellishments. Paper’s utility, too, is no more confined to textbooks or sketchbooks. Designers are coming up with a plethora of artefacts made of paper, starting from wedding invitation cards to gift packages to bags to laundry hampers to even lamp shades. “Paper is the material which has inspired us for the last 20 years to form relations with leading designers internationally leveraging our parent company ‘Artifacts India’ to a leading exporter in our field. Colour is actually my strength. Paper is definitely the most important component, but colour is what gives the product a beautiful form. Combining in-house cardboard and paper with colours, embroideries, and embellishments gives my products an edge over others in the market,” says Savina Sharan, the brain behind the store Art Papyrus in Delhi. She took to the profession after wedding cards designed by her for her daughter’s wedding was appreciated by friends and family. In current times, when people are more than willing to spend a little bit extra for weddings and baby showers, Art Papyrus caters to the demands by providing customers with a wide array of products. Its merchandise includes everything from colourful bottle decorative accessories, stationery, exclusively designed reams of wrapping papers, gifts boxes, bags, printed /plain /metallic tissue papers, laundry hampers, folding side racks, shoe racks, bottle corks to high profile wedding invitations, gift packages for weddings and baby showers. Source: www.thehindu.comUs in diemum. Nihilin temunti, quam publin

    03/02/2013
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    History & Process of “Chalkboard”

    JULY-2014 – Backgroundteaching at desk The chalkboard is a flat, vertical writing surface on which anything can be inscribed by means of a piece of chalk. The device is generally used for educational purposes, but it can also be found in the workplace, the home, and restaurants. While chalkboards can be manufactured from a variety of materials, porcelain enamel is the most common material used in today’s chalkboard. The origins of the chalkboard date back to the early decades of the 19th century. The forerunner of the chalkboard was the small, paddle-shaped hornbook. This item had been in use in schools of medieval England, and by the time of the Revolutionary War era in colonial America, it was carried by legions of students. The hornbook was a strip of wood with a piece of paper fastened onto it. On the paper were a variety of learning aids in small print. A typical hornbook would carry both the Lord’s Prayer and the alphabet, and a translucent sheet of animal horn covered the paper. The hornbooks were small objects, sometimes with a hole at the bottom so they could be tied on a string and worn about the neck. Eventually the hornbook evolved into the reading board. This was a strip of about 15 inches (38 cm) in length, also containing the alphabet and other learning aids, that was hung at the front of the late 18th-century classroom. From the reading board came the concept of one general chalkboard for all students in the classroom to both view and use. The chalkboard of modern times was patented in 1823. It was developed by a leading educator of the day, Samuel Reed Hall. A minister, Hall founded Vermont’s Concord Academy, one of the first formal training schools for American teachers. The early chalkboards were simple pine boards painted black. In other cases, a combination of lime, plaster of Paris (a white powdery substance), and lampblack (fine black soot) was spread on the classroom wall. Raw Materials Most modern chalkboards are made of porcelain enamel. In this particular manufacturing process, a tough and durable material such as steel is used as the base. There are several thicknesses of steel used in the manufacture of chalkboards, but the most common is 22-gauge. Another crucial element is silica, a crystalline compound derived from quartz or similar minerals. Found in the crust of the earth, silicon is a tough compound and is called silica when combined with oxygen. Silica is found in most rocks and is a common ingredient in many glass and ceramic products. The surface of a chalkboard is usually a blend of inorganic compounds such as a powdered glass opacifier and oxides, an organic element that provides color to the coating material. Design Chalkboards can be manufactured in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors. The most common hues are green and black, although shades of brown, blue, and gray are also available. They can be customized during the manufacturing process to include special graphic elements. A music department of a college or university, for example, might request classroom chalkboards with musical staffs imprinted on the surface. A basketball team might use a chalkboard with a court layout to go over game strategies. Such lines are typically painted on the surface, but may also be fused onto the enamel during the manufacturing process. The size of the board may be as large as 120” x 48” for classroom use; 42” x 25” for basketball court layout; or 72” x 48” for stand-alone, moveable boards. The Manufacturing ProcessHistory & Process of “Chalkboard” (3)hpm_0000_0002_0_img0056 copyhpm_0000_0002_0_img0056 copy Preparation of steel 1.) The manufacture of chalkboards begins when large sheets of steel in desired sizes enter the manufacturing facility from an outside supplier. This steel is cold-rolled and inspected for irregularities upon arrival. Next, the large sheets are sent into a chemical washer. This chamber washes, rinses, and dries the steel. When this step is completed, the steel is again inspected for flaws and imperfections. Applying slip 2.) Next, a slip is applied to the sheets of steel. A slip is a mixture of clay or another organic compound applied to a surface during the manufacture of porcelain or other ceramics. In this case, the slip is usually made from silica, and applied to both sides of the steel sheet by passing it through a coating chamber. The coating must be at least 0.0025 inches (.062 mm) thick. The slip is set aside to dry. The sheets once again pass through an inspection process before they are transferred to the ground coat furnace area. Firing 3.) This ground coat area of the manufacturing facility typically houses a large furnace chamber. The sheets of steel are fed into the chamber and subjected to high temperatures. This softens the steel and allows fusion of the slip with the steel. This is a crucial step in all porcelain manufacturing and fabrication of industrial ceramics. Applying surface compounds 4.) Once the newly porcelained material leaves the furnace, it is treated with a surface-coating compound. Typically, this compound is derived from glass opacifiers and imparts a smoother texture to the board. Oxides for color may also be added. Again, this coating must be at least 0.0025 inches (.062 mm) thick. The boards are once again sent to a drying area. After they are completely History & Process of “Chalkboard” (1)cooled and dried, they are once again inspected for surface blemishes and uniformity of color. Fusing the coats 5.) Next, the boards are placed in a cover coat furnace. The purpose of this heating process is to fuse the first ground coat with the surface coat. A temperature of at least 1200°F (649°C) is needed to successfully complete this process. Next, the chalkboards are passed through a cooling chamber, which gradually reduces the temperature of the steel so that the flat sheets do not buckle or weaken, which might occur if left to cool by themselves. Final surface preparation 6.) Next, the surface of the chalkboard is laminated onto a fiberboard. This backing material must be at least 0.44 (11 mm) inch thick. A special adhesive is used for this application. In the next few steps, the finishing touches are put on the board. A wood or aluminum trim is added to the edges to make a border, and accessories such as chalktrays, map rails and hooks, and flag holders are attached. Quality Control The manufacturing of porcelain enamel chalkboards falls under the category of industrial ceramics, and manufacturers of the product adhere to standards set by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. One important guideline of this organization is its gloss standard. This is measured by a 45-degree gloss meter. According to the specifications, the gloss of a chalkboard cannot exceed three units as measured by the meter. This assures uniformity of writing surface. Further quality specifications as to durability are also detailed in Porcelain Enamel Institute guidelines. The Future The future of chalkboards is limited. Manufacturers of the product are diversifying into the making of dry-erase boards, which are smooth polypropylene surfaces. Special markers are used to write on them, and they can be erased by a piece of cloth. They are replacing standard chalkboards, particularly in business settings, because chalk dust is seen as a health hazard to humans and harmful to sensitive electronic and computer equipment. Source: www.madehow.com

    02/12/2015

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