Buying the Most Eco-Friendly Computer Products
I am a strong advocate of reuse, so my first advice is for you to buy refurbished computer. That will really be buying the most eco friendly computer product you can get your hands on. Refurbished computers are becoming very popular because what you get is equipment that is just as good as new for half the price. Many times the refurbished computer is found to be less defective than the new because refurbished equipment is checked very thoroughly and re certified as being in perfect condition before it is sold. Dell has great refurbished computer outlets with excellent prices. You can also check out a company named TigerDirect.com
If you buy new there are a few questions you should ask. Here are the most important once
1. Is the equipment made with a minimum amount of toxic material as possible?
2. Is it easy to dismantle for easy upgrade and easy recycle?
3. Was it made with as much recycled material as possible?
4. Is it energy efficient? Does it have the energy star label? Energy star is a government program that helps business and individuals to use energy most efficiently to protect the environment. www.energystar.gov
5. Do they have an efficient and convenient take back program?
6. Is minimal packaging used?
Small is Better
Smaller is better when it comes to the environment. So a lap top is better than a desk top and that is because a lap top consumes 5 times less energy than a desk top. If you don’t like a lap top then consider getting a small pc. The smaller it is the less power it will take to operate . You can also consider buying what is known as small-form-factor or SFF from companies such as apple. They are a lot more energy efficient than a desk top and a lot less noisy.
I think one should avoid buying CRT monitors because they have too much lead in them and are difficult to recycle. But most probably people are going to buy the flat panel monitors these days because CRT monitors are being phased out. LCD monitors use one third the power that CRT monitors use.
Look for Labels
Look for EPEAT label. Epeat stands for electronics products environmental assessment tool and is issued by the EPA. There is gold, silver, and, bronze label. Products are evaluated according to 51 environmental criteria 23 of which are a requirement and 28 optional. All three levels have to meet the 23 criteria. For meeting just the required 23 criteria you get bronze label. If you meet 50% of the additional criteria you are silver and if you comply with 75% of it you are gold. So far no product has reached the gold level.
Buying the most eco friendly computer products involve looking to see if the product is recognized
as environmentally safe by an independent certification program such as TCO or
Blue Angel. TCO is a Sweden based company that
works towards a safe working condition through inspections of the working
environments. They have strict standards on the content of toxic material such
as heavy metals and brominated flame retardants in electronic equipment. To be
certified by this organization, electronic companies have to comply with ISO
14001 for environmental safety. ISO 14001 is an international standard for evaluating an organization's o environmental management.
Blue Angel is an eco labeling company based in Germany to promote environmental safe products. They are composed of people from industry, governmental agencies, church groups, environmental agencies, trade unions. These diverse groups get together bi-yearly to take a close look at products to determine their environmental efficacy.
Sadly most computer manufacturers are resistant to minimizing toxic materials from their electronic products and so progress is slow. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the dangers of these toxic substances to the environment and to our health. Change is going to come as consumers demand environmentally sustainable products and services. When we buy our next computer asking the above listed questions of the retailer and looking for the labels and logos and buying the most eco friendly computer products will encourage the producers to move towards earth friendly electronics production.
Small Form Factor PCs
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