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Greenpeace Says Electronics Becoming Greener - Slowly

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A report from lobbying organisation, Greenpeace has revealed that the greenest consumer electronic products on the market today may have a smaller environmental footprint than those sold a year ago, but it claimes that the industry still has a way to go before they can claim a truly green product.

Fifteen major electronics brands submitted 50 of their most environmentally friendly new products - mobile and smart phones, televisions, computer monitors, notebook and desktop computers, and game consoles for evaluation. The survey assesses the products on their use of hazardous chemicals, energy efficiency, overall product lifecycle (recyclability and upgradeability) and other factors such as the promotion of environmental friendliness and innovation.

This year's survey had companies scoring higher and more competitively than last year. Greenpeace says that it found that fewer products on the market contain PVC plastic and that fewer hazardous chemicals are being used in products in general. LED displays, which save energy and avoid the use of mercury in backlights, can be found in more products today and manufacturers are using more post-consumer recycled plastic in TVs and monitors. Most companies have established better voluntary take-back and recycling programmes and adapted quickly to the new requirements of Energy Star.

However, Greenpeace noted that not everyone was happy to have their products evaluated. Companies that were asked but declined to submit products were: Apple, Asus, Microsoft, Nintendo, Palm and Philips.

On a ten-point scale, the report highlighted the Samsung F268 mobile phone (5.45), Nokia 6210 Smart phone (5.2), Nokia 3110 Evolve (5.0), Sony Ericsson C905 (4.88) and the LG KT520 (4.61)

However no product scored high enough across all areas to deserve the accolade of a truly 'green product'. Unfortunately if you are in the market for a new electronics product it's still a choice between a product that is green in one area but not in another. To show it is possible right now if all current green innovations were combined Greenpeace took the top scores of each product category to make a composite score for the industry. These ‘best practice' scores, ranging as high as 8.6, demonstrate that there is environmental know-how available now to produce electronics that are significantly greener than anything on the shelves today.

The full report (pdf file, 28 pages) can be downloaded from the Greenpeace website.

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