Home Electronics Getting Greener
Greenpeace has compiled their third annual survey of the “greenest” home electronics products from 18 companies in seven categories—desktops, laptops, netbooks, mobile phones, televisions, monitors and smart phones—based on their environmental impact (tinyurl.com/23pxpsc). Considerations included hazardous substances, power consumption, product lifecycle (recycling potential) and innovation in marketing (carbon footprint).
The survey found a significant overall reduction in the use of hazardous chemicals since last year, with more products made without toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated fire retardant (BFR). The use of phthalates, beryllium and antimony (heavy metals) and their associated compounds also went down in every category.
Almost all products submitted for the survey met or exceeded the current Energy Star standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, one conclusion of the report is that companies seemed to put more effort into improving the overall energy efficiency of operating their products rather than reducing the embedded energy, or carbon footprint, involved in manufacturing them.
Lifecycle management continues to be the weakest eco-link when it comes to electronics production. The researchers found little use of recycled plastic, take-back practices, and marketing efforts aimed to prevent rapid obsolescence.