By Amanda Wills on Jun 23, 2010

Top 3 Green Factors to Consider When Buying a New Gadget

When shopping for a new electronic, consider three factors: energy efficiency, takeback program options and amount of recycled content. Photo: Flickr/Jerry W. Lewis

On Tuesday at its Line Shows in New York City, the Consumer Electronics Association gave the press a sneak peek of new technology expected to roll out within the next year.

While 3D technology was, by far, the talk of the town, another notable theme among major electronics manufacturers was sleek design with mindful lifecycle features. In layman’s terms, electronics that are easy to take apart and be recycled when the next shiny gadget comes along.

But what other key “green” features should the average (i.e. non-geek, light green) consumer look for when strolling down the aisles of the big-box stores?

According to Sarah O’Brien, director of outreach and communication for the Green Electronics Council, consumers should look for three major points: energy efficiency, takeback options and recycled content.

“Energy efficiency is important, and takeback programs should also be taken into consideration,” O’Brien explains. “Are those programs free for the consumer? Where can they drop off their electronics? These are important factors to consider when purchasing.”

“That really is so key to closing the loop on this and making it worth it, she says. “Companies need to hear from consumers they want their electronic to last longer and have recycled content to shift the thinking. A system like EPEAT standardizes what consumers can look for. For manufacturers, it will highlight the green aspects that will reward them in the marketplace. It really works well for both sides.”

Consumers can access this information, plus more extensive performance criteria research, on the EPEAT website. EPEAT is a system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. The system currently covers desktop and laptop computers, thin clients, workstations and computer monitors.

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