I am betting Green Computing will soon become the next big thing. Great Green Gadgets will be looking at the search for the perfect Green Machine in the next few posts and how early innovators are addressing this need.
One of the more pressing issues is where your computer will eventually go when its time for a new one. According to a Business Week Online article:
“More than 900,000 tons of computers and information devices were junked in the U.S. in 2000. Most of this techno-waste is buried in landfills, where trace amounts of lead and mercury, along with other potentially hazardous agents, can leak into the ground and water. Currently, a scant 20% of dead PCs are recovered for recycling. Of these, about four-fifths are shipped to developing countries, where often-unprotected workers use heat or caustic chemicals to strip out the precious metals.”
USA today said “Investigators who visited the waste sites in Guiyu, China, in December witnessed men, women and children pulling wires from computers and burning them at night, fouling the air with carcinogenic smoke.
Other laborers, making $1.50 a day and working with little or no protection, burned plastics and circuit boards or poured acid on electronic parts to extract silver and gold.
“I’ve seen a lot of dirty operations in Third World countries, but what was shocking was seeing all this post-consumer waste,” said one of the report’s authors, Jim Puckett of the Seattle-based Basel Action Network. “This is all stuff from you and me.” ”
There is much to do about this vast serious problem of toxic computer waste and recycling in an enviromentally responsible manner. Here is another good article that addresses this issue from ZDnet
Currently, a few early birds are trying hard to make computers environmental responsible in regards to building them from the ground up to be more easily recycled and less toxic.
Iameco of Dublin, Ireland is The world’s first 100% biodegradable computer components, which are free of many harmful materials, such as brominated flame retardants, PVCs and heavy metals like lead, cadium and mercury that are often in computer parts. The wide range of computers are configured with beautifully finished cases, which come in several varieties of solid natural woods, including Ash, Maple, Beech and Ebony. iameco PCs also come with matching wood-finish keyboards, mice and flat-screen monitors. You can also purchase the peripherals separately. They sell them on their website and seem to ship to US as well. Here is a good article that talks about them more in detail.
one of many styles of Iameco’s green computers.