Go go gadget green

Feature Story - 2009-01-13
How green are the latest gadgets? Not as green as we’d like but getting better. Greenpeace checked out 50 products by 15 major companies for their enviro street cred. Who came on top?

Gadget makers are using less toxic chemicals and are getting better about using recycled materials but they're still a long way from being truly environmental.

Surprisingly Chinese computer maker Lenovo beat the competition. Last year Lenovo came last.

Greenpeace rated mobile and smart phones, televisions, computer monitors, notebook and desktop computers, and game consoles.

Full details of the survey and results are set out in Green Electronics: the search continues.

We looked at hazardous chemicals, energy efficiency, recyclability and upgradeability.

The good news

  • Companies are using less PVC and fewer hazardous chemicals.
  • LED displays are becoming more popular. These are preferred because they use less energy and they don't use mercury.
  • Manufacturers of televisions and monitors are using more post-consumer recycled plastic in their products.
  • And several have set up better voluntary take back and recycling programs.

The bad news

No single gadget scored highly across the board. It's still a choice between a product that is green in one area but not in another.

How did we do it?

We asked companies to give us their "greenest" gadget for us to check.

These companies said no: Apple, Asus, Microsoft, Nintendo, Palm and Philips

These companies said yes: Acer, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, Hewlett Packard, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic, RIM/Blackberry, Sharp, Samsung, Sony, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba

So which are the green gadgets?

The Lenovo L244 0x wide monitor is far ahead of the competition by being PVC and brominated flame retardant-free and also free of phthalates, antimony and beryllium. Furthermore, it uses postconsumer recycled plastic for nearly 30 percent of its plastic parts and has a LED backlit display.

We recommend you download our guide to get the full set of results but here's a quick rundown of the best product in each category.

Desk top computers

First place: Lenovo'sThinkCentre 58/58p model.

Notebook computers

First place: Toshiba's Portege R600.

Mobile phones

First place: Samsung's SGH-F268.

Smart phones

First place: Nokia's 6210 Navigator

Televisions

First place: Sharp's LC-52GX5

Computer monitors

First place: Lenovo's L2440x widescreen monitor

Conclusion

The electronics industry is one of the most innovative industries on the planet.

It's time these companies step up and give us the green gadgets we are all looking for.

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