Electronics Production | January 28, 2009
Green gadgets: the Greenpeace search continues
As much as 4,000 tonnes of toxic e-waste are discarded every hour. Vast amounts are routinely and often illegally shipped as waste from Europe, USA and Japan to places where unprotected workers recover parts and materials, states the latest Greenpeace report.
The latest survey of greener electronics products - made by Greenpeace - has revealed that the greenest consumer electronic products on the market today may have a smaller environmental footprint than those sold a year ago, but the industry still has a way to go before they can claim a truly green product. The group's second greener products survey, “Green Electronics: the search continues” assesses the progress made over the last year by consumer electronic companies on their commitments to green 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 for evaluation. The survey assesses the products on their use of hazardous chemicals, energy efficiency, overall product lifecycle (recyclability and upgradeability) and other factors such as the promotion of environmental friendliness and innovation. The green news This year’s survey had companies scoring higher and more competitively than last year. Greenpeace found that fewer products on the market contain PVC plastic and that fewer hazardous chemicals are being used in products in general. LED displays, which save energy and avoid the use of mercury in backlights, can be found in more products today and manufacturers are using more post-consumer recycled plastic in TVs and monitors. Most companies have established better voluntary take-back and recycling programmes and adapted quickly to the new requirements of Energy Star. But not everyone was happy to have their products evaluated. Companies that were asked but declined to submit products were: Apple, Asus, Microsoft, Nintendo, Palm and Philips. 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 Toshiba Portege R600 Notebook (5.57) and the Lenovo ThinkCentre M58 Desktop (5.88). However no product scored high enough across all areas to deserve the accolade of a truly 'green product'. Unfortunately if you are in the market for a new electronics product it's still a choice between a product that is green in one area but not in another, states Greenpeace. To show we is possible right now if all current green innovations were combined we took the top scores of each product category to make a composite score for the industry. These ‘best practice’ scores, ranging as high as 8.6, demonstrate that there is environmental know-how available now to produce electronics that are significantly greener than anything on the shelves today. The electronics industry is heading in the right direction. To stay in the race to a green product, every company needs to put its foot on the accelerator, the report continues. It’s time to take the progress made with their greenest products and apply that standard across the board to all of its product lines. A few expensive niche products is not enough. The electronics industry is one of the most innovative industry on the planet. It’s time these companies step up and give the green gadgets we are all looking for, Greenpeace concludes. Source: Greenpeace