personal

Sustainability in use of personal electronics

Vertatique's Personal e-Green: reduction of energy, waste, and carbon
in our purchase, use, and disposal of personal electronics

California To Launch ICT Energy Standards in 2018

The American state of California is home to ~70 million end-user computers, servers and computer monitors. It is now planning to role out a series of energy standards for new units beginning in 2018.

There Are Many Options for Aging ICT Gear

A MarketsandMarkets report says, "The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 93.5 million tons in 2016 from 41.5 million tons in 2011 at a CAGR of 17.6% from 2011 to 2016." Three strategies for dealing with an organization's aging ICT gear are scrap, external reuse, and internal reuse. Internal reuse offers a growing number of increasingly sophisticated options while external reuse is revealing some unintended consequences. Reuse options are growing for home devices, as well.

How Long Do We Keep Our Devices?

It is difficult to get reliable data on how long we hold onto the 19+ billion edge devices attached to the global ICT infrastructure. Diverse device types and cultural practices complicate the issue. So do changing purchase and lease plans.

Personal Solar for Devices in the Backcountry

I don't go into the backcountry device-free. A smartphone, with backcountry GPS software, and a digital camera are always with me. Planning for an 11-day rafting/hiking trip through the Grand Canyon in April raised the issue of how to power my gear. I decided to go solar to minimize battery consumption. A February week in the Mojave desert (right) gave me a chance to sort out candidate devices and to configure a compact but workable system. Here are reports from the Mojave and Grand Canyon trips.

Conflict Minerals and the Hidden Cost of e-Devices

Our e-devices contain all sorts of exotic materials, many of which, like tungsten, tantalum, and tin, are refined from ores that originate in Central Africa. Called "conflict minerals", they fund warfare in the Congo and neighboring countries. More people are said have been killed here than any conflict since World War Two. Progress is being made, but legal setbacks and weak laws are slowing efforts. The latest critiicisms focus on proposed EU regulations.

Apple in China

were critical of Apple's environmental stance a few years ago, saying that the company was positioned to be a leader rather than a a foot-dragger. Since then, the company has made significant strides, such as improvements to its take-back recycling programs*. On the downside, issues about its Chinese contract manufacturing operations have been slow to be resolved. Recent actions toward addressing labor issues need to be matched with ones addressing environmental issues. Factory pollution takes a toll on both workers and neighbors and a July 2013 report alleges problems still persist. Yet Apple continues to improve its environmental position in China - producing solar power is its latest initative.

Finding the Greenest Televisions

The search for the greenest TVs continues to be challanging. EPEAT added televisions to its equipment registry in early 2013. We had anticipated this would bring some clarity to this category. There were significantly less Gold-registered televisions April 2014, compared with computer monitors, but we saw that to be a good start. We were wrong.

Finding the Greenest Desktops

Eleven manufacturers are offering over 230 models of desktop computers in the EPEAT USA Gold database, about the same number as a year ago. Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Apple offer the most choices.

Sweden's TCO Development certified 32 products, down from a high of 80. Most manufacturers appear to have dropped out of TCO certification in this category; only Hewlett Packard and Lenovo now participate.

Germany's Blue Angel only lists models from Fujitsu.

Acer/Gateway and Phillips no longer offer qualifying models and have been removed from the list. Wyse is new to the list this year.

Finding the Greenest Computer Monitors

Green-certified computer displays are now too numerous to present in table format. Here is how to find the most sustainable displays, including projectors, listed by two certification services.

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