Victory! New toxic-free computer released in India

Feature story - February 5, 2010
This is what we like to see: a true leader in toxics-free electronics showing giants like Dell and Samsung how it's done.

Gone soon? Electronic waste in Guangdong, China.

One of India's relatively small PC manufacturing companies, Wipro, has beaten giants like Dell, Samsung and Lenovo to the finish line in producing a computer free of the worst toxic chemicals.

A major first in India, the announcement marks another success for our green erelectronics campaign in driving tech companies around the world to clean up their products.

The new computer, named "Greenware" is free of both hazardous PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants). This meets a long-time demand of Greenpeace. Since 2005, we have been encouraging a greener electronics race by ranking company performance. Wipro joins companies like Apple, HP and Nokia who are leading the way on eliminating toxic chemicals.  Years of pressure from Greenpeace, and attention to our ranking from green consumers, are driving more and more companies to clean up their act. 

2010 is the year many electronics companies pledged to remove toxic chemicals like PVC and BFRs. Those that took this pledge seriously are now delivering. Other companies that are far bigger than Wipro in the global market -- such as Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung -- are failing to come up with the green goods.

In our latest ranking, Samsung lost points for failing to give a clear timeline for removing toxic chemicals, as did Dell and others.

E-waste in Asia

PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its lifecycle; during its production, use, and disposal it is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics, and can form dioxin, a known carcinogen, when burned. Some BFRs are highly resistant to degradation in the environment and are able to build up in animals and humans.

With the growth of electronic waste, workers who deal with e-waste are exposed to significant health risks, as are nearby communities. Burning of e-waste to recover valuable resources can form dangerous dioxins. Eliminating the substances will decrease exposure and increase the recyclability and reusability of electronic products.

Toxic waste is a particular concern in Asia, as a lot of the waste produced in developed countries ends up there for crude recycling, though a better word for it would probably be "dumping." Poor regulations and control enable a traffic that is essentially illegal.

E-waste exposes unprotected workers, many of them children,  to toxic chemicals. It is time for all tech companies to follow the example set by Wipro and other leaders and produce electronics free of the worst toxic chemicals.

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