A fall in retail prices for new computers has reduced the scope for refurbishment of older computers for the workplace. Nevertheless, there is some possibility of finding a new life through technologies such as Open Source Solutions. In recent years manufacturers of electronic equipment and components have taken into consideration design for recycling and design for the environment in the development of new IT equipment e.g. by reducing use of substances that may impede environmentally safe disposal.
Google and Intel plan to cut the amount of energy computers use. Their scheme is expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 54 million tonnes a year. Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft have signed up to the campaign. Using energy efficient technology would add £10 to the price of a computer, but this would be matched by savings from a reduction in electricity costs. Manufacturers who sign-up to the climate-saving program agree to design, produce and market equipment that meets the Energy Star standard of the US Environmental Protection Agency set at 80%, and rising to 90% by 2010.
A recent survey evaluated the impact on the environment of a selection of computers:
Some Desktop PCs in order of merit
- Dell Optiplex 755
- Hewlett-Packard dc5750
- Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo E5720
- Lenovo Thinkcentre A61e
Some Laptops PCs in order of merit
- Sony Vaio TZ11
- Hewlett-Packard Compaq 2710p
- Toshiba Portégé R500
- Dell XPS M1330
- Lenovo Thinkpad X61
- Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook P7230
- Panasonic Toughbook W5
Products available on the market between August and November 2007 and evaluated on four criteria: use of toxic chemicals, energy efficiency, recyclability and marketing.