Thursday, April 1, 2010

Greenpeace Electronics Audit

The link below leads to a method "scale" by Greenpeace to rate how green your electronics are when it comes to disposal. It ranks various electronics companies based off their effort to remove the worst toxic chemicals from their products.

There are 5 criteria for the ranking as listed on a pdf document detailing the whole process:

1. A chemicals policy based on the Precautionary Principle
2. Chemicals Management: supply chain management of chemicals via e.g. banned/restricted substance lists, policy to identify problematic substances for future elimination/substitution
3. Timeline for phasing out all use of vinyl plastic (PVC)
4. Timeline for phasing out all use of brominated flame retardants (not just those banned by EU’s RoHS Directive)
5. PVC- and BFR-free models of electronic products on the market.

Here is a link to the pdf:

For this post I shall list various electronics brands used in my home and their ranking on the scale and discuss my findings. The scale has a range of 0 to 10 with zero being a fail and 10 being completely green.

Motorola (2 cell phones), 1.7/10
Acer (1 laptop, 1 desktop, 2 LCD monitors), 2.3/10
Apple (1 Ipod), 2.7/10
Panasonic (VCR), 3.3/10
LG (LCD monitor), 4.3/10
SONY (digital camcorder, Blu-Ray Disc player), 4.7/10
HP (2 Desktops, 1 Laptop, 3 printers), 4.7/10
Some of the electronics in my house were of brands not listed (our TVs are modern Soyo and an old RCA). However I was shocked to find out how poorly most companies have managed the removal of hazardous toxins substances from electronics. Apple was the most shocking as the company always seems to be proud of how well they manufacture their products, so I believed they would have been closer to the top of the list. Motorola was a disappointment since they make very nice phones and have sold numerous ones such as the RAZR. HP was a bit of a let down since they have made it a major point of expressing how fine their products (mostly printers and computers) are yet they didn't even make it halfway up the scale. This tidbit of info from the pdf also is a let down:
"HP loses point: In September 2006, one penalty point was deducted from HP’s overall score when testing of an HP laptop revealed the presence of a type of brominated flame retardant, known as decaBDE. In its Global Citizen Report 2006, HP states: “HP eliminated the use of decaBDE many years ago and has no plans to re initiate its use.” Moreover, of the five brands of laptops tested by Greenpeace with results released in 2006, only the HP laptop was found to contain lead."
Acer was also depressing to read about since we have over the years found their computers and monitors to be very dependable. we still use some of the older computers made by Acer we have around the house since they still prove useful.
In the end it seems I may make some changes (my family as well when they read this) when it comes to purchasing electronics. Motorola isn't going to be an issue to much as my family is moving towards Blackberry's (yet they may possibly not be to hot either in the green department but the list doesn't include this brand). HP is a heavy hitter in my home when it comes to electronics as we have 3 computers and printers active and in use from this company. I may switch to Dell when it comes time to replace any of these items since Dell does have good products and they ranked high with a 7/10. In reality my family has never disposed of items such as the ones listed above. We have the old TV in the basement to use, the various older laptops are taken on trips when someone has work to do or to surf the web in a hotel room and a VCR can get a few bucks at a yard sale rather than zip from entering the trash. However when the items start to pile up needlessly we will search out companies and organizations that have proper methods of disposal rather than merely dumping the item into a trash can. We do the same with old batteries.
Overall I am disappointed by the electronics industry for not putting in more effort to remove substances that we know to be harmful. Its a bit of a "How can this happen in this day and age?" scenerio.

No comments:

Post a Comment