It’s no secret that many consumers are starting to buy with sustainability in mind. This is true across countless industries: food/agriculture, automotive, and more recently, technology. There are numerous ways to keep sustainability in mind when shopping for various electronics, especially computers. Like other appliances, older computers tend to be more damaging to the environment if not properly maintained. Up to 80% of IT budgets are used for routine maintenance, but if you have the budget, investing in a newer PC can provide both functionality and eco-friendly benefits. Here are just a few tips to help you choose the right eco-friendly PC.
Green Computing: How To Buy An Eco-Friendly PC (And Dispose Of Your Old One Properly)
Similar to the EnergyStar program, which rates electronics and home appliances on their level of energy-efficiency, EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), a tool provided by the Green Electronic Council, evaluates laptops and other electronics on their eco-friendly values. While the programs are similar, EPEAT has a broader focus that includes environmental analysis of packaging materials, recyclability, and other standards that incorporate the PC throughout its entire lifespan.
Using EPEAT’s recommendations to make your final purchasing decision will definitely benefit the environment; according to Mother Nature Network, the organization helps to prevent the disposal of at least 72,000 metric tons of hazardous materials in addition to saving more than 10 billion kWh of electricity. That’s enough to power about 900,000 homes in the U.S. for an entire year!
Recycle or Donate Old Hardware
It isn’t always easy to find somewhere to safely dispose of your old computer and other hardware, but many big-name manufacturers are following the eco-friendly trend of accepting their old products for recycling. Some require the purchase of a new laptop or desktop computer, but others, like Dell and Toshiba, will accept items free of charge and with no purchase necessary.
If you have a different brand, consider choosing HP’s Planet Partner recycling program, which accepts any PC brand, but at the cost of between $13 and $34 for each item.
If the equipment still works, consider wiping its hardware clean and donating it to a school or nonprofit. Thrift stores such as Goodwill are also viable options. For groups that specialize in providing technology to community sectors, consider the National Cristina Foundation, which can connect you with local donation resources.
Ultimately, an international study by Unilever revealed that one-third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. This means that it’s easier than ever to do your homework and choose a brand of technology equipment that shares your environmental ideals.
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