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Oct 22, 2007
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Various
Location: United States

Green Up Your Gadgets

We've discussed one element of the energy consumption created by electronic devices: standby power. As we all own more electronics these days, we also need to think about the energy they consume while in use, as well as the toxins contained in most devices.

According to ENERGY STAR's podcast series on consumer electronics, the percentage of our home energy use that goes to powering home electronics has more than doubled since 1980, from 5% to 13%. The easiest way to know that you're purchasing electronics that rate highly in terms of energy efficiency is to look for the ENERGY STAR label. The government programs rates most common electronics devices, including televisions, DVD players, home audio equipment and computers.

The other time we need to think about the impact of our electronics on the environment is at the end of their useful life. According to Earth911:

Electronic circuit boards, batteries, and color cathode ray tubes (CRTs) can contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium. If improperly handled or disposed, these toxins can be released into the environment through landfill leachate or incinerator ash.

Fortunately, electronics recycling services are widely available; some companies, like Dell computers, for instance, will take back and properly dispose of or reuse old equipment. Standards now exist to evaluate the environmental impact of new products: EPEAT, for instance, is a voluntary certification standard that ranks home computers on their environmental attributes.

Your Action for Today:
Find Greener Electronics Options

If you're in the market for a computer, a television, a cell phone, or another electronic device, make sure to take a look at ENERGY STAR's database of products that qualify for its label. EPEAT standards tell you more about other environmental issues, such as recyclability and reduction of toxins.

Note: The Consumer Electronics Association's My Green Electronics site also contains a products database; unfortunately, the site contains no information on the standards used to label a product as "green" except for EPEAT standards for computers.

Tomorrow: Shopping for Green Home Decor

Sincerely,

Green Options

The GO Team
GreenOptions.com

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Posted: Oct 22, 2007 3:20am

 

 
 
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