Why Does it Matter?
Electronics compose an ever increasing proportion of what we dispose of. The District has seen a 350% increase in the amount of electronics received at our Tox-Away Days in the last seven years—and that’s with many more recycling options available across the county!
Electronics are such a significant part of our daily lives. We seem to be engaged with a cell phone, tablet, television or computer nearly every minute of the day. In 2010, an estimated 52 million smartphones, 30 million laptops and 37 million TVs were sold in the US alone! Total spending on electronics in the US that year was $165,000,000,000!
With so many devices being produced, packaged, shipped, used and discarded each year, the concern the companies that manufacture these electronics have for the environment is critical. Read on to learn more about how various electronics manufacturers rank and what you should know before you buy.
What Should You Do?
The next time you’re in the market for a new device, consider supporting a company that embraces the protection of our environment.
Greenpeace recently released its annual Guide to Greener Electronics. The grading criteria used for the study scores each company’s level of energy efficiency, the durability of products it produces, the number of hazardous substances used in production and whether or not the company offers a recycling programs.
While no company scored higher than 5.9 on the ten-point scale, here are the top ten results:
1. HP (5.9)
2. Dell (5.1)
3. Nokia (4.9)
4. Apple (4.6)
5. Philips (4.5)
6. Sony Ericsson (4.2)
7. Samsung (4.1)
8. Lenovo (3.8)
9. Panasonic (3.6)
10. Sony (3.6)
ElectronicsTakeBack.com publishes a report card that rates the recycling and take back programs of many electronic manufacturers. The website also has in-depth information on the e-waste problem and how you can help.
If you are looking to compare how specific products rate, Epeat.net has good product-specfic information.
Another factor to consider whenever you’re making purchasing decisions related to electronics (and appliances, building materials, plumbing, HVAC equipment, etc.) is the energy those devices utilize to operate. Visit energystar.gov to learn more.
Did you know that flushing your old, expired drugs is no longer the proper way to dispose of them? Next month we’ll spend some time explaining the challenges unwanted pharmaceuticals pose to our environment and the correct ways to handle those medicines when it’s time to get them out of the house. Stay tuned!