Photo courtesy socialmonsters.org
In order to fully embrace a green and sustainable lifestyle as a consumer, it's important to support green companies and manufacturers that maintain environmental well-being as a top priority. Electronics manufactures are especially likely to emit excess amounts of greenhouse gases, use hazardous materials to make their products and dismiss the global shift towards green operation, production and distribution. Keep reading to find your guide to assess a manufacturer's commitment to conservation and what companies you should be supporting to live a eco-friendly lifestyle.
There are many factors that make an electronic manufacturer "green" and sustainable. According to Greenpeace, a company must focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan. This means removing hazardous substances from their products' manufacturing process, establishing recycling programs that responsibly collect and dispose of their products, and discontinuing the use of unsustainable materials in products or packaging. In 2012, Greenpeace took the next step and ranked companies based on these guidelines.
So how do electronic companies rank? An Indian electronics company takes the number one slot, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 44% since 2008. HP is the runner-up, leading the way in sustainable operations and offering an excellent e-waste recycling program in which they receive 60% of recyclables back from their consumers. Coming in third is Nokia meeting energy criteria with 40% of their energy coming from renewable sources. Nokia also promotes sustainability with their comprehensive, voluntary take-back program, which provides 6,000 collection points in 100 different countries for recycling of old cell phones. If you want to buy a laptop from a green company, consider Acer, which ranked number 4 on Greenpeace's list. Acer aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 60% before 2020, even reaching out to first tier suppliers and asking them to adopt a more aggressive strategy for greenhouse gas reduction as well as provide proof of their plan's implementation. Coming in at number 5, Dell does an excellent job disclosing externally verified greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations as well as aiming to reduce absolute emissions of greenhouse gases by 40% before 2015. Apple takes the number 6 slot. So if you like Apple products, you can purchase an iPad or Apple Watch with a clean conscience knowing that they not only meet, but exceed the EPA's strict Energy Star guidelines for efficiency. Where Apple loses points is their lack of transparency regarding greenhouse gas emission reports and toxic chemical management.
Unlike traditional waste, electronics should not be tossed into the waste bin. Instead, gadgets should always get recycled through a trusted and reliable source. Green electronics companies usually promote recycling of their products by having a drop-off location or offering free postage to send a product back to them. Another option is to reach out to your respective county for verified drop-off locations for e-waste where they will quickly and conveniently recycle your gadgets. For bigger electronics, look into free e-waste pick-up that comes directly to your home or office.