Our have become a crucial part of our lives – it is now unimaginable to spend a day without your cell phone or laptop by our side. But with newer, better models continually coming out of the market, replacing the old ones is such a demand that it becomes a problem. Why? Most of the discarded gadgets end up in landfills and mind you; they are impossible to decompose. Most contain metals and high amounts of lead, which are harmful to the environment. Thus came the demand for green electronics.
Going green is the “in” thing these days. With all the strengthened campaigns against global warming, all industries seem to be keen on going with the hype. But is it hype? No, it isn’t. It’s as real as can be, and the campaign for green electronics is but timely.
Consumer electronics are considered to be far from environmentally friendly — they use tons of energy and therefore lead to global warming. Aside from that, they also leach out toxins when they are discarded in landfills. But technology is getting better by the minute, and there is always the pressure to switch to newer, more innovative gadgets. How do we resolve this dilemma? Switch to green electronics.
What exactly falls into the green electronics group, and why is it so “hot” right now? In this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner Casey Harrell said that green electronics are those “free from toxic chemicals and excels in energy efficiency and durability” (“New Electronic Gadgets”).
Aside from being environmentally friendly, what’s so good about green electronics is that it’ll be economical. We ‘re talking about this one in the future because the search is still on for a truly green product. What we now have are more or less attempts at greener electronics and because the technology is not yet perfect and it costs a great deal to make, overall they are still costly. Nonetheless, greener electronics would save us money in the end, particularly once that is the norm. Let us look at some examples.
A thermostat regulates temperature according to what is desired. Old manual thermostats can be replaced with electronic ones to conserve energy, thereby cutting your electric bills and saving you lots of money. This way, it will not cost you much to be comfortable in your home. How so? These electronic thermostats are programmable. Thus you can have it preset to automatically adjust the temperature depending on your needs, like when you’re sleeping at night and during the morning when everyone gets up. Some models can even be controlled remotely (Corder).
Water is easily wasted in running taps, mainly when used by children. To solve this, running taps can be replaced by electronic ones that have the advantage of motion sensing. Once motion is detected in the sink, a preset temperature is activated, which not only prevents scalding from water that’s too hot but also leads to savings of “about 80 percent of the water normally used with a conventional faucet” (“Install an Electronic Tap”). Aside from saving water at the tap, it “also produces proportional savings in water-heating energy, water treatment, and sewage” (“Install an Electronic Tap”). What is more, some models are powered just by AA batteries.
Solar Cell phones
The problem with most, if not all, cell phones today is the battery. It takes hours to charge them, consuming huge lots of energy, especially when already full but still plugged in. Just how cool will it be to find other ways to charge them? Cooler still if these ways are economical. Well, here’s some good news. We can now actually have our batteries charged for free. A recent article in the New Zealand Herald reported that three companies – LG Electronics, Samsung, and China’s ZTE had introduced solar-charging mobiles at this year’s World Mobile Congress as an answer to the demand for green electronics.
All of the models’ battery covers come with solar panels to allow charging in the sun. LG’s model claims that a 10-minute exposure to the sun can power a 3-minute call while ZTE’s model claims that an hour of exposure powers five minutes of usage. Of the three, only ZTE seems to be the only one “aimed at the developing market, with a price under $40” (“Here Comes the Sun”).
More and more television manufacturers are using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on TV screens. Last January, Samsung launched a flat-screen TV, which consumes 40% less power thanks to LED technology. This replaces the conventional cathode lamps easily as it requires less power and uses no mercury or lead. Even though it uses less power, viewers are not to worry since LED technology produces high picture quality (“How ‘Green’ are Your”).
Vice-President of Environmental Affairs at the Parker Brugge Consumer Electronics Association, said making energy-efficient televisions “always helps it last longer and heat up less” (“How ‘green’ are yours”).
Those were just some examples of how greener electronics can help save the environment and money. There were lots more on display during the CES like”’ eco-buttons’ that reduce …computer’s power consumption, e-lanterns that produce an hour’s worth of light [when cranked] for a minute, … Or also batteries that are 94 percent recyclable without mercury” (“How ‘Clean’ is Your’).
These are already significant steps towards greener electronics, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Greenpeace has evaluated some of these products against a set of environmental criteria. It has concluded, “Consumer electronic products on the market today have a smaller environmental footprint than those sold a year ago” (“New Electronic Gadgets”).
In addition, there is a problem with the lack of an international standard. Its absence is a handicap since there is still be no basis by which consumers could just how green a product is. For now, though, what we have is already a milestone. If you want to help the environment and save money as well, green is the way to go.