Just Ask: Energy-Efficient Laptops and Sustainable Couches

How to find energy-efficient computers and the best way to get a new couch.


Up to 80 percent of U.S. electronic waste is exported to developing countries where workers manually dismantle the toxic components.

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Q: I'm buying a new laptop, and I was wondering if all computers are the same energy-wise, or if some brands are better for the environment?
Aviva Horrow, Philadelphia

Find out what Umbra has to say about finding an eco laptop. 

Q: I'm in the market to buy a new couch (our current one is older than I am-it's 27!). Is it better to buy a "green" couch, one from a mainstream vendor or a used couch? If used is the way to go, do you have any suggestions for finding one that isn't disgusting?
Nora Burton, Seattle

Find out what Umbra has to say about green sofas. 

Umbra Fisk dispenses advice on all things green for  Grist Magazine , an online publication that tackles environmental topics with irreverence, intelligence and a fresh perspective. To subscribe to Grist's free e-mail service, visit  www.Grist.org/signup .