The consumer electronics industry is on a greener path than it has been, according to Greenpeace.
The organization released a survey on the greenest products in the consumer electronics industry at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Two years removed from its last survey, Greenpeace said overall the industry has seen a lot of progress, with more companies removing toxic chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFR).
Our survey shows that electronics manfacturers have made demonstrable progress over the past few years by producing products that are free of the worst toxic chemicals, more energy efficient and more easily taken back for reuse or recycling, said Renee Blanchard, of Greenpeace International's toxics campaign.
Greenpeace's survey, which covers 18 electronics companies, rated products on energy efficiency, life cycle, chemicals and marketing and special points. There were seven product categories: mobile phones, smartphones, desktops, monitors, TVs, notebooks and netbooks. All together, 42 products were assessed.
Most companies we surveyed surpassed our standards in terms of reducing toxic chemicals. Every year the scores get higher, so there is a lot of progress. Improvement is needed in some areas; notably in producer responsibility, Blanchard said.
The highest rated product was the Asus VW-247H-HF computer monitor, with a 7.50 rating out of 8.60 possible points. Monitors rated the highest overall, and came closest to the highest possible product score that Greenpeace had ever seen.
Asus also won in notebook computers with the Asus UL30A, which scored 5.59 points out of 8.39. The Panasonic CF-9K and Samsung NP-SF410 were second and third place. Greenpeace said Apple did not participate in the survey, but it suspects had it, its notebook models would have been competitive with Asus.
For about 50-60 percent of the questions we ask, the data is publicly available. We used some of that data for a Macbook pro, Blanchard said.
Hewlett-Packard's Compaq 6005 Pro-ultra slim was praised by Greenpeace as the winner of the desktop category. It is completely PVC and BFR-free, making it an easy choice. The Sony-Ericsson Aspen was the highest rated smartphone while the Samsung GT-S7550 (Blue Earth) ranked above all other mobile phones.
The blue earth is a really good phone, it uses a solar panel and is very energy efficient, Blanchard said.
In netbooks, Acer's TM8172 was the highest rated with 5.08 points out of 6.63. Sharp's LC-52SE1 took home the greenest TV award with 6.46 points out of 7.68.
At the CES, Greenpeace also called upon federal and state government lawmakers to create legislation that will force companies to show more responsibility. This is not an issue that can be solved by one company, no matter how ambitious their initiatives are. Companies need to put their political capital where their e-waste policies are at, Blanchard said.