Published on December 7th, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans1
Green Gifting Guide: Green Tech
If you’re searching for trendy green tech toys this holiday seasons, you are certainly not alone! High tech is in high demand, but finding “ecofied” options for traditional gifts can leave you feeling downright discouraged. While industries are trying to keep pace with demand for much-needed sustainable solutions, many green products are still in the design and development phases, and finding the right tech item can be tricky.
Following a few guidelines and tips will help you in your hunt for the perfect green tech gift…
Sometimes the best thing you can do is keep your eyes and ears tuned for updates on the latest releases, and educate yourself about how to make the most sustainable choices based on what is currently available.
Why green tech? Environmental stewardship and energy savings: less power consumed, low toxicity of components, less in the landfill, less money spent. Follow these general guidelines for this year’s tech shopping:
Of course we require our tech tools to rank high in speed and storage capacity. In the sustainability department, also rate your prospective purchases by: energy efficiency, eco-friendly components, sustainable accessories, and recycling options.
- Energy Efficiency. Browse by product or manufacturer at Climate Saver’s 2007 Smart Computing Product Guide. Each gadget should have adjustable conservation settings. Also look for Energy Star-approved products, which are equipped to control energy expenditures.
- Eco-friendly Components. The search is on for products made without health-hazardous, earth-polluting toxins. This search for non-toxic, earth-friendly components is currently unveiling novel tech constituents like bamboo, bioplastics, and other recyclables.
- Sustainable Accessories. Look for recycled and energy-efficient options.
- Recycling Options. Provide the recipient with a card or cd that briefly outlines options for recycling and donating older equipment.
If we attempted to showcase green features by brand, we would probably miss a lot! Below are some resource links and fact sheets to help guide you in the decision-making process.
- For products, browse Climate Saver’s Smart Computing Product Guide.
- For product recommendations and detailed information about energy efficiency of each component, visit the ACEEE’s Online Guide to Energy-Efficient Office Equipment.
- For general information about energy efficient products, visit these various Energy Star fact sheets: Qualified Computers List, Monitors, External Power Adapters, and DVD Products.
- For information about purchasing an energy-efficient computer printer, visit this Department of Energy computer printer purchasing fact sheet about these units or single printers.
Go for an efficient “gold star” by opting for an energy-saving integrated graphics card instead of an external.
- For information about product toxicity regulation, read up on the U.K.’s RoHS directive. While the U.S. currently does not have standards similar to the RoHS directive, research prospective products to see how they measure up. Some manufacturers are using viable alternatives to toxic products such as hexavalent chromium, lead, cadmium, flame retardants, etc.
Batteries and Chargers
Find eco batteries for every occasion at greenbatteries.com.
For solar handheld chargers, check out Solio Universal’s Solar Charger Kit that contains a back-up charger with an Li-ion battery (for cells and iPods) and Voltaic Systems Solar Bag, a backpack with a Li-ion battery and built-in solar panels.
Trendy, Eco-friendly Cases
Act2 GreenSmart Laptop Bag from 100% recycled materials
Ecocentric Laptop Sail Bag from repurposed boat sails
Farm Designs corrugated cardboard carrying case
Hip and Zen recycled plastic newspaper bag
Solio TREAD Line featuring laptop and iPod cases of recycled tires
Targus EcoSmart Bag from recyclable plastics,
For battery recycling, many tech manufacturers partner with Call2Recycle, an RBRC (Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation) recycling program for rechargeable batteries. Find a drop-off location near you.
For other e-waste items, most computer manufacturers have product recycling programs in place. Some will accept products from any source, while others accept only their own. The EPA has a great e-cycling database that allows you to search by state for eWaste recycling manufacturers and program.
For cell phone recycling, visit Call2Recycle or Eco-Cell’s nationwide cell phone recycling program (proceeds go to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund). To donate, visit Collective Good, the Charitable Recycling program or GRC Wireless Recycling to find a charity.