Green Your Gadgets -- Give 'Em Back
Last week, congressional watchdog agency GAO published a report on high-tech toxic trash exports and Greenpeace released its ninth annual Guide to Greener Electronics. This week's tips cover ways to keep consumer electronics from harming human health and the environment.
Tip #1: Buy electronics from companies with take-back programs
When companies establish take-back programs for used or broken electronics, the high cost of hazardous waste disposal gives them an incentive to eliminate toxic components and design products for easy recycling and reuse. Rather than sticking consumers or municipalities with the dilemma of what to do with complicated unwanted devices, manufacturers collect their own products and--with smart design--can turn them into new gadgets instead of trash. To ensure a green ending to your gizmo's life, opt for products from companies (like Nokia, the high-scorer in Greenpeace's latest report) ready to take back what they hath sold. In the meantime, your unwanted devices from manufacturers without these programs can be brought to Best Buy stores around the country.