Evaluating Computer Manufacturers Levels of Greenness

In Chapter 9, I discuss how you can make your way through the muck of greenwash hype to find out what products are truly green and who's making those products. Computer companies, such as Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, and others, have all spoken publicly about their own green efforts, and they all have sections on their Web sites to back up their claims.

The Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, which I discuss at length in Chapter 9, helpfully ranks the top 18 consumer electronics manufacturers of TVs, computers, video game consoles, and cellphones based on their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling, and climate change.

The Electronics section of Consumer Reports Greener Choices Web site (www.greenerchoices.org; look under the Products and Green Ratings heading) also can help you narrow down potential computer picks organized by three categories:

✓ Budget: Suffices for basic tasks; has a DVD burner and two-piece speakers.

✓ Workhorse: Faster and more powerful for multimedia needs; has a DVD burner and three-piece speakers.

✓ High end: Optimal for graphic design and gaming; has a Blu-ray drive, TV tuner, and three-piece speakers.

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At the time of this writing, Lenovo, Gateway, and HP, respectively, took top honors in those three categories.

Consider whether a computer company offers a program to take back, repur-pose, or properly recycle your old computer to help you choose which company gets the green from your wallet. Visit their Web site and navigate to the green or environment section to find out.

Some companies take back only their own products, whereas others, such as Dell, will come to your doorstep to pick up old computers and peripherals made by other manufacturers.

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