What Computer Companies are Doing to be More Eco-Friendly
Computers have become an indispensable aspect of modern American culture, as well as the global culture. If you're reading this online, it means that you either own a computer or have access to one. Billions of computers are being used right at this moment and millions more are being manufactured.
Unfortunately, green washing is all around you and EnviroCitizen.org has found that it is necessary to research the truth behind certain marketing claims before purchasing or using a product. Green washing is a term that refers to the practice of companies who advertise their products and policies to be good for the environment in an effort to get environmentally-conscious consumers to purchase their products. It's a deceptive abuse of green public relations and marketing, and computer companies are no exception. Greenpeace publishes their annual Guide to Greener Electronics to help consumers see just how green certain computer companies (and other electronic companies) really are.
Greenpeace uses several indicators to determine how green a company is. To start, they look at how each company incorporates precautionary principles into their business models in an effort to avoid materials that could cause environmental degradation. They also look at how companies manage their supply chains to make sure that they don't use banned, restricted or dangerous chemicals. Greenpeace also checks to see what computer companies are doing to phase out polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and BFR's, both of which are linked to toxic pollution that damages the environment and affects personal health.
Greenpeace also look at how responsible companies are in general. A high level of individual producer responsibility (IPR) indicates that a company is taking positive action on reusing and recycling their own products. Greenpeace also looks to see which companies offer the voluntary take-back of broken or old computers. They even look at what information is provided to individual customers regarding how to recycle or properly dispose of old or broken computers.
What was Greenpeace's conclusion? In the 2009 Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, Apple ranked in 9th place; with the top eight being companies that produced televisions, cell phones and other non-computer electronics. Dell ranked in at 12th place, and HP ranked down at 14th place. Eighteen companies were ranked in total, and it appears that computer companies are neither the best nor the worst when it comes to making green electronics. However, EnviroCitizen.org reminds you that while computers are not necessarily the worst environmental offenders, they're certainly not the best for the environment, either. To lessen your effect on the environment in regards to your computer purchase and use, make sure you buy from the greenest computer company possible and use energy-saving methods (such as unplugging your computer when you're not using it or home) to help lessen your carbon footprint.