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Earth Talk: Where can I find a 'green' computer?

Pressure from interest groups has made computermakers better ecocitizens, but more needs to be done.

Scott Wallace - staff

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[ EARTHTALK ] BY THE EDITORS OF E MAGAZINE

Q: My old computer finally bit the dust and I am in the market for a replacement. Are there any particularly "green" computers for sale these days?

Brian Smith, Nashua, N.H.

A:Thanks in part to pressure from non­profits like Greenpeace International – which has published quarterly versions of its landmark "Guide to Greener Electronics" since 2006 – computermakers now understand that consumers care about the environmental footprints of the products they use.

The latest version of Greenpeace's guide gives high marks to Toshiba, Lenovo, Sony, and Dell for increasing the recyclability of their computers and redu­cing toxic components and so-called "e-waste" (refuse from discarded electronic devices and components). The group also credits Apple, HP, and Fujitsu for making strides toward greener products and manufacturing processes, but adds that even top-ranked companies have lots of room for improvement on the environment.

PC Magazine recently assessed dozens of personal computers according to environmental standards it developed in-house based on energy efficiency, recyclability, and the toxicity of components. The publication also factored in various "green" certification schemes such as the US Environmental Protection Agency's Energy­­Star program, the European Union's Restriction of Haz­ardous Sub­stances directive, Taiwan's Green­mark, and the computer industry's own Electronic Products Environmental Asses­­sment Tool.

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