Technology has become essential to our every day lives. From cell phones, to cameras, to alarm clocks, to DVD players, we employ a host of technological devices throughout our lifetime. Collectively, these devices require many materials to produce and a significant amount of energy to power. Therefore it is important that we learn how to use these gadgets in environmentally friendly ways. Sustainability plays a role in every stage of a device’s life cycle, from the materials used, to the production process, to the way it is powered, to its disposal. This list provides ideas for using your gadgets more greenly at every step of the way.
- Buy devices secondhand. This extends the gadget’s lifetime and makes the purchase cheaper for you. There are many companies who refurbish used phones as well as online sites that resell products, like eBay.
- If you are buying a new device, research your options to find the most eco-friendly choice. Energy star ratings, EPEAT ratings, and consumer reports are all great resources for this information.
- If you are interested in a particular company or product, see if that company makes their products from recycled materials or if they offer a particularly environmentally friendly version.
- Get a personal charging device that relies on solar or wind power.
- When gadgets are plugged in but not turned on they are still using energy. This concept is called the Phantom Load. Make sure your electronics are unplugged when you are not using them to eliminate the phantom load.
- Take advantage of every feature your device has to offer, because this eliminates purchasing and using other gadgets. For example, using your smart phone’s alarm and camera mean that a hand held alarm clock and digital camera do not have to charged, or even purchased. Using a gadget to its full capacity saves you time and money.
- Use your devices for as long as possible, and try to resist purchasing each upgrade that comes out. Although they are tempting, purchasing a new product shortens your gadget’s lifespan and encourages producers to manufacture more and more versions of a product. Ultimately, this creates a significant amount of waste.
- When you are ready to dispose of your gadget, resell it or recycle it. The locations that allow you to buy used cell phones often times accept used phones as well. Recycling electronics is important because they take an extremely long time to disintegrate (if they ever do), so the chemicals present have a long time to seep out of the device and into the landfill, contaminating the soil and water supply. Imagine It is a great place to recycle used electronics and is located here in Rochester.
Many of these ideas were adopted from Treehugger.com, a wonderful resource for information regarding every aspect of sustainability. Feel free to check out their website for more great ideas!
Written by: Abigail Fagan, class of 2104
Photo by: Page by .Page by . – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Smarthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Smarthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Smart Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Smart, Don Adams in 1969