Are You a Tech Sinner? How to Reduce Tech Waste
Nobody would consider smartphones and computers environmentally friendly—many are made with hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, which contaminate the air and water as they're produced or junked. But you can green up your device usage, says Barbara Kyle, national coordinator for the Electronics Takeback Coalition, which promotes environmental and public safety issues within the electronics industry. Start with these four earth-minded tips.
1. Resist the Gotta-Have-It-Now Impulse
Whenever you're starry-eyed over a new gadget, consider this: One study found that 81 percent of a product's lifetime energy use comes from manufacturing. "We ignore the energy used to mine and drill resources, manufacture the item, and transport it," says Kyle. Think twice before you buy: Is the new device a big change? An expired contract doesn't mean you need to upgrade your phone.
2. Go for Gently Loved Gadgets
If you're tired of fumbling with a half-broken iPod, new isn't your only option. Most manufacturers sell refurbished, barely used goods that they inspect and repair if needed, and then sell at great discounts. "They're new to you, they've been brought up to performance standards, and you'll get a price break," says Sarah O'Brien, director of outreach and communication for the Green Electronics Council. Stick to gadgets that are no more than three years old so they're energy efficient, she recommends.
3. Recycle the Old
Snoop in a lot of homes and you'll find a drawer full of dead cell phones. In fact, only 25 percent of cells, computer products, and TVs that were ready for the grave were collected for recycling in 2009, and we trashed 2.37 million tons of those goods, says the Environmental Protection Agency. Tech garbage in landfills can leach nasty chemicals into streams and groundwater. Search for a recycling center at greener gadgets.org or ecyclingcenter.com. Another option: If your computer or phone still works well, donate it to a local school or charity. (In either case, erase your personal data first.)
4. Slay Vampire Power
Standby energy—from plugged-in gadgets you're not using—accounts for 5 to 10 percent of residential electricity use, reports the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. That adds up to at least 0 annually that you could be spending on better things (plus, all the unused power is releasing a load of greenhouse emissions). An easy fix: A smart power strip keeps some devices (like your DVR) juiced up 24-7 but cuts off others when they're not in use. And even if you've heard otherwise, it's fine to turn off your computer, O'Brien says. "Leaving it on all the time only wears it down."
Percentage of used mobile phones that weren't recycled in 2009:92
Number of rechargeable gadgets currently is use in the United States:230 MILLION
Video: THE SINNER / Trippy Minimal Progressive Tech Mix
How to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle
How to Do a Perfectly Messy 5-Strand Braid
Heatwave causes an influx of painful horsefly bites: here’s what to do if you get bitten
How to Learn Kung Fu Yourself
Atelier Versace Couture FallWinter 2019Show Embraced Sensual Glamour
How to Ride a Dirt Bike
Prince William and Kate Middleton have been giving life lessons to children, and it’s seriously sweet
Sex After Breast Cancer
Turkey and Avocado Sandwiches (and Corn)
Justin Bieber is making the most popular music of his entire career
6 Stroke Risk Factors All Women Should Know
How to Calculate Slope and Intercepts of a Line