Electronic Design

Survey Says Electronic Gadgets Should Be Greener

While the latest electronic gadgets may improve your life, they could do more to improve the environment. A Greenpeace survey released at CES 2009 contends that today’s greenest consumer electronic products have a smaller environmental footprint than those sold a year ago, but the industry as a whole still has plenty of room for improvement.

"Green Electronics: the search continues" evaluates the progress made over the past year by consumer electronics companies who publicly committed to improve the environmental impact of their products. Fifteen major electronics brands submitted 50 of their most environmentally friendly new products—mobile and smart phones, televisions, computer monitors, notebook and desktop computers, and game consoles. Greenpeace assessed and scored each of these products against a set of environmental criteria.

Criteria questions focused on toxic chemical phase out, energy efficiency, product lifespan, and energy used in production. Additional points were given for innovation. Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner, reports that although the electronics industry has made progress by increasing the green features on some gadgets, no one product is a standout in all environmental categories.

The Lenovo L2440x wide computer monitor scored highest with 6.9 points (on a 10 point scale) and is far ahead of the competition in the monitor category. Other product category leaders include the Sharp LC-52GX5 television (5.92), the Samsung F268 mobile phone (5.45), the Nokia 6210 Smart phone (5.2), the HP Elitebook 2530P laptop (5.48), and the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58 Desktop (5.88).

Overall, the Greenpeace survey reveals that fewer electronic products on the market contain harmful PVC plastic and less hazardous chemicals are being used in products. LED displays, which save energy and avoid the use of mercury in backlights, are more commonplace. In addition, manufacturers are using larger quantities of post-consumer recycled plastic in TVs and monitors and producers have established more comprehensive voluntary take-back and recycling programs. Most companies have also adapted quickly to the new requirements of Energy Star, an industry benchmark for energy efficiency.

The report can be downloaded at: www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/green-electronics-survey-2

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