[Golem] Trashware USA
Ven 9 Apr 2004 16:19:58 CEST
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Subject: [Fwd: trashware]
Date: Thu, 08 Apr 2004 18:09:12 +0200
From: Paolo <...@...it>
magari di interesse per il vostro progetto trashware.
saluti da paolo
Tips on greener computing
By Pam Lundquist and P. W. McRandle for The Green Guide
06 Apr 2004
U.S. consumers are being cheated out of the chance to buy the greenest
possible computers, according to the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition and
other environmental groups that have joined forces on the Computer
The campaign's latest report card examined 28 computer manufacturers'
practices regarding hazardous materials, worker health and safety, and
systems for taking back used products. CTBC found that fewer relatively
eco-friendly computers are offered for sale in the U.S. than in
countries with stronger environmental regulations, such as Japan and
European Union nations, which have worked to eliminate hazardous
materials from electronics and required companies to start take-back
programs for old computers. (California and Massachusetts have banned
the landfilling of cathode ray tube [CRT] monitors and TVs because of
their lead content, and California will add a recycling fee to the cost
of new computers and televisions starting July 2004, but thus far
there's been no federal action in the U.S. on these issues.)
A few weeks ago, the United Nations University released a 300-page
report on the environmental impact of computers, from production through
use and disposal. Not surprisingly, the authors concluded that reusing
or upgrading a machine is better for the environment than buying a new
one and recycling the old. The report also recommended that recycling
incentives be increased for both consumers and producers and called for
more study of the health impacts of computer manufacturing and disposal.
Toxins in computers include lead, brominated fire retardants (BFRs),
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and the heavy metals cadmium, chromium, and
mercury. Manufacturing workers have suffered from hazardous exposures to
some of these substances, including ethylene glycol ethers, which have
been phased out of use because of links to miscarriages.
As 12 million PCs are landfilled annually in the U.S., such materials
pose a threat to groundwater. And even machines that are kept out of the
dump and sent to recycling centers aren't necessarily being handled
responsibly: To save money, many recyclers ship computers to China,
India, and Pakistan, where unprotected workers dismantle them and face
What to Do? What to Do?
SVTC is encouraging institutions that purchase large numbers of
computers to press manufacturers for cleaner models. Ted Smith,
executive director of SVTC, says, "We're working with Health Care
Without Harm to come up with procurement guidelines [for hospitals],"
and his group is involved in similar projects with government and
university officials. "I think that institutional purchasing guidelines
are where a lot of the pressure for change is going to come from," he says.
As for individuals, Smith recommends, "People should contact companies
directly and ask them, 'Do you make machines that are lead-free,
flame-retardant-free, mercury-free, PVC-free?' The more they hear from
people, the more they will respond."
* Avoid buying new computer equipment unnecessarily; whenever
possible, upgrade your current machine.
* If you do need to purchase a computer, consider buying used:
RefurbDepot.com sells refurbished computers and other electronics for
somewhat less than the cost of new systems. Other purveyors of used
computers include PCs Evolve and Computer Renaissance.
* If buying a new monitor, flat-panel screen models are an easy
greener choice; they lack the five to eight pounds of lead found in
conventional CRT monitors.
* Some U.S. computer brands are compliant with European Union
regulations or eco-labels such as Germany's Blue Angel, Norway's Nordic
Swan, or Sweden's TCO. SVTC has more info on computer eco-labeling and
brands that measure up to label standards.
* Look for Energy Star certified machines; they consume 70 percent
less electricity than computers that lack power-management systems.
* Even after buying a new machine you might want to hang onto the
old one instead of tossing it. Consider networking the two computers, or
use the old computer to play MP3s or serve some other specialized
function, such as acting as a Linux platform.
* Ask about consumer take-back programs like the Electronics
Recycling Shared Responsibility Program, which includes Panasonic,
Sharp, and Sony.
* Check out a list of responsible electronics recyclers compiled by
the Basel Action Network. In general, be sure to avoid recyclers that
use incineration (sometimes called "thermal recycling") as well as ones
that ship waste overseas for processing.
* If you live in California or Massachusetts, contact your local
sanitation department for info on how to safely dispose of CRT monitors
and TVs, as these two states have banned the landfilling of these items
due to their lead content.
* Write your legislators to express support for bills like those in
California and Massachusetts. During the past year, at least 20 states
introduced legislation to address electronic waste.
* If you own stock in a computer company, consider submitting a
stockholder resolution encouraging the company to take responsibility
for its products at the end of their useful lives. Companies are
increasingly responsive to measures like these. Find out more from the
A few computer companies that have started making progress:
Company Product Green Aspects Takeback or Recycling Program Eco-Label
Fujitsu (Japan) Fujitsu Siemens Scenic E600 Green PC ($1,170-$1,350)
Is eliminating lead solder from products. E600 made from green
materials. None in U.S. Swan (E.U.)
Canon (Japan) i860 Desktop Photo Printer ($150) Very energy efficient,
recycled plastic, BFR-free covers. Will eliminate lead, cadmium,
hexavalent chromium, and mercury by Dec. 2004. Working to enhance U.S.
recycling systems. Eco-Mark (Japan)
IBM (U.S.) IBM 21" CRT Monitor P275 ($750-$800) Low-emissions
Takeback program includes collection and recycling of old PCs for
NEC (Japan) Powermate Eco 900 ($1,500) Lead-free solder; LCD display
contains no boron. Other products mercury- and PVC-free; NEC requires
suppliers to eliminate these heavy metals as well. BFRs phased out.
None in U.S. Energy Star
Matsushita /Panasonic (Japan) Toughbook laptops ($1,200 - $3,000)
Lead-free solder, reduced BFRs. None in U.S.
Sony (Japan) VAIO R505G SuperSlim Pro notebook ($1,500-$2,000) No
BFRs, some lead-free solder. Sony pays for recycling of all Sony
products brought to collection points or special events.
Apple (U.S.) G5 Desktop ($1,700-$3,000), iBook G4 M9388 ($1,200-$1,500)
and M9165 ($1,450-$1,700) Does not contain PCBs or PCTs
(polychlorinated terphenyls); PBB and PBDEs not found in plastic part
heavier than 25 grams. Recycles batteries Energy Star; meets some
criteria of TCO and BlueAngel labels.
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