As the world struggles to understand and solve the ecological problems created by the impressive technological advances of recent years, there is positive news implying that we are getting on track! IBM is using some of their resources to help resolve some of the ecological devestation that the technology that they, and their industry, have profited from over the years. IBM published a paper in which they propose a device called UrJar (a portmanteau of the Hindi word "urja" meaning energy, and "jar" meaning box) that enables laptop batteries to power other devices, like lights. Their study involved just five participants, "Five users (4 male, 1 female) participated in this study. Only one was a residential consumer, while the remaining were street-side vendors - two of them selling fast-food items, and two selling tea and cigarettes. One participant was between 20-25 years of age, three between 30-35 years, and one between 40-45 years. Two participants had an undergraduate degree, while one went to higher school, and two had only attended primary school." You can read the whole paper here: http://www.dgp.toronto.edu/~mjain/UrJar-DEV-2014.pdf .
They state that "discarded" Lithiom Ion batteries used to power laptops generate a "significant amount of e-waste." and that "recycling Li-Ion batteries is not commercially viable". In other words recycling of these materials is not a current reality because it "still takes 6 to 10 times more energy to reclaim metals from recycled Li-Ion batteries as it does to produce these materials from recycled Li-Ion batteries as it does to produce these materials through other means, including fresh mining."
The significance of this study and the present media hype on it warrants further analysis.