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Question from Susan


We are looking to purchase a new laptop for working at home and would like to purchase an eco friendly one, if possible. I have read somewhere there are better machines out there now with less emissions etc. but can’t seem to find much info now that we are looking for one. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


Susan in MA

Debra’s Answer

Well, there’s a whole website devoted just to answering this question. It’s called Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)–Green Electronics Made Easy. The system helps purchasers compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes.

Compared to traditional computer equipment, all EPEAT-registered computers have reduced levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury to better protect human health and the environment. They are more energy efficient, which reduces emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases. They are also easier to upgrade and recycle. In fact, manufacturers must offer safe recycling options for the products when they are no longer useable.

EPEAT products are identified as EPEAT-Bronze, EPEAT-Silver, or EPEAT-Gold depending on the number of environmental features incorporated in the product.

EPEAT was developed over a three year period in an extensive consensus-based, EPA-funded process that included more than 100 representatives from environmental groups, government officials, large volume computer purchasers, subject matter experts, electronics recyclers, and manufacturers. When developing the standard, the group integrated a wide variety of existing environmental standards and requirements into the EPEAT “umbrella” standard, including the most recent U.S. Energy Star energy efficiency requirements, EPA’s Plug-In Guidelines for Materials Management, Rechargeable Battery Recycling Coalition recommendations, Coalition of North Eastern Governors Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation, European Union (EU) restriction on hazardous substances (RoHS), EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment requirements (WEEE), EU battery directives, and various global environmental labeling standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, using very conservative assumptions, estimates that over the next five years, purchases of EPEAT registered computers will result in reductions of more than 13 million pounds of hazardous waste, more than 3 million pounds of non-hazardous waste, and more than 600,000 MWh of energy – enough to power 6 million homes.

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