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Better buying guide for more sustainable small electronics

Small electronic products have significant environmental impacts. But what are the issues that matter, and what counts as a more sustainable choice?

Green Capital’s Buying Better research suggests 5 tips for consumers wanting to buy more environmentally friendly electronics.

Small electronics is a diverse product area … it is difficult to establish a clear hierarchy for purchasing decisions. Despite this, there are a number of factors that will assist buyers to make more environmentally friendly purchasing decisions:

1. Design for repair and recycling (design for disassembly)

– ideally, there will be no glued-on parts and individual components of the product can be replaced when broken.

2. Energy efficiency

– this is important for products which are in constant use such as mobile phones, but should not be overemphasised for products where life-cycle analysis shows that energy consumed in the use phase only makes up a very small amount of the overall environmental footprint.

3. Use of recycled plastics and materials

4. Packaging

– cardboard and moulded cardboard from 100% post-consumer waste is ideal; in addition some major manufacturers are exploring new, plant root-based packaging options.

5. Environmental performance of the manufacturer

– regularly updated, rigorously researched information on individual manufacturers can be obtained from guides such as Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics.

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You can check out further details on the reasoning underlying Green Capital’s advice here.

 

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