Computing with a Side of Green

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | February 21st, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Green Tech

Green ComputersBy now, most greenies know that computers and their accessories are some of the biggest energy hogs in the home — and that improperly recycled electronics can easily end up in toxic dumps in developing countries.

Want to make sure you’re doing right by Mother Earth when it comes to computers? Follow these three steps to green computing:

  • Plug your computer and all its peripherals — printers, speakers, monitors — into a power strip. After you shut down your computer for the day, turn off the strip to cut off energy to the peripherals. For extra credit, use a device like the Smart Power Strip, which does most of the work for you. You plug your computer into a specially marked plug on the strip. The device then senses when you’ve turned off your computer and automatically cuts off power to other electronics connected to the strip.
  • When you’re looking to buy a new computer, use the EPEAT website to guide your choice. EPEAT evaluates and ranks electronics based on more than 50 criteria, including the amount of energy the device consumes while it’s being used; how many toxic materials were involved in its manufacture; and whether its packaging can be recycled. Look for products with a gold or silver rankings.
  • When it comes to tossing old computer equipment, first check with your manufacturer to see if they have a takeback program. Some of these programs are free. Some charge fees, but they’re usually pretty small and well worth it to ensure your computer gets recycled responsibly. If your manufacturer doesn’t take back its devices (increasingly rare), visit the Computer TakeBack Campaign website to find a responsible recycler near you.*

* If you have sensitive information on your computer (even if you’ve deleted it), don’t forget to erase your hard drive before handing your computer over to a third party.

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