Challenge #27 ~ Smart Purchasing

Read the blog post on the September Theme – TECHNOLOGY

Green Electronics Council

This week’s challenge is about being smart when buying new technology. By considering the environmental impact of our choices, we can save money and lessen our impact on the environment. For more background see this month’s blog. For some quick tips, keep reading.

Buying technology with the environment in mind is an excellent way to exercise our purchasing power. By consciously choosing more environmentally friendly technology, we nudge the manufacturers to focus more on the environmental impacts of their products.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Look for environmentally-friendly electronics
    Not all electronics is created equally. Many factors contribute to the environmental footprint of our devices – some are more easily upgraded, use less packaging, use fewer harmful components. Check the Green Electronics Council’s EPEAT Source Map before buying a computer, monitor, mobile phone, or television. This service takes into account all of these factors and more.
  • Buy with the future in mind, but not more than we need
    When shopping for computer equipment, only buy what’s needed. For example, if the computer won’t be used for playing high-definition games, it doesn’t need to include a high-end graphics card. We’ll save money on both the purchase and the power used. 
  • Don’t skimp too much
    We need to think about what limitations caused us to need the new device this time. For example, was it not enough memory? If so, we should purchase our next device with extra memory so it will last longer. 

The Green Electronics Council reports on the savings in materials, hazardous waste, water pollutants, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and more as reported by institutions following EPEAT guidelines. For example, for purchases of computers, displays, and office printing equipment made in 2018, the Scottish Government has:

  • reduced their use of materials by 15,830 metric tons (equal to the weight of 3,044 elephants)
  • saved 131 metric tons of hazardous waste (equal to the weight of 1,081 refrigerators)
  • avoided 93 metric tons of water pollutant emissions
  • saved 53,290 MWh of electricity
  • reduced GHG emissions by 32,070 metric tons of CO2 equivalents
  • saved over 5 million US dollars in lifetime cost savings.

We can calculate the benefits to our organizations using the EPEAT Benefits Calculator. By all doing our part we can together exceed even these incredible savings.

You too, can help the environment, one smart purchase at a time.

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