Purchasing an Environmentally Friendly Laptop to Save the Earth
Purchasing a laptop is a smart environmental decision when compared with purchasing a desktop pc. The main reason being that a notebook is smaller than a desktop so there is less of an environmental impact at the time of disposal. The slim size of the flat laptop means that there are smaller and less hazardous parts to be disposed of, such as hard drives, cd/dvd drives, flash card readers, usb ports, etc. The manufacturing of smaller and smaller laptop computers also has in indirect effect, in that the processing plants produce less harmful emissions into the environment. Another factor that makes laptops a better environmental decision is the fact that most laptops now comply with European regulations on lead-free computing, such as the WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment) and RoHS (Restrictions of Hazardous Substances), which are mandated disposal codes in Europe. Lead is used primarily to solder parts together on a computer, but these regulations encourage companies to use other methods for building a PC.
An interesting player in the eco-friendly laptop market is the “one Laptop Per Child” project. Their missions is to produce a low cost laptop – the “XO Laptop” – in order to revolutionize the way the world’s children are educated. The purpose of the project is to get laptops in the hands of people in third world countries that would not otherwise have access to this technology. But the project is also proving that laptops can be produced for a very low cost – laptops which weigh less than one kilogram and rely on no electricity.
But despite the advances in the world of green laptops, there are still many issues that need to be addressed in order to manufacture an even more eco-friendly laptop. In the 2009, sales of laptops worldwide are expected to surpass desktop pcs for the first time ever. The average person will keep a laptop for only three years before it is tossed in the closet or tossed in the garbage, which presses the issue for an even more recyclable laptop. Some issues that still need addressed and some possible solutions:
1. Problem: Petroleum-filled plastic. Solution: Produce laptops from corn using bioplastic-polymers. The main issue at the point is creating a heat resistant polymer that can withstand the heat from a laptop.
2. Problem: Power Supply. Solution: Use the power of the sun the recharge your laptop. Solar powered chargers are in the works.
3. Problem: Lead products in the waste. Solution: As mentioned above, the European Union has enacted legal restrictions on lead. President Bush has also followed suit with standards for American lead use.
4. Problem: Spinning hard drives. Solution: Future laptops could reduce their energy use up to 10 percent by replacing hard drives with flash memory, which has no watt-hungry moving parts. Dell debuted a laptop with a 32-gigabyte solid-state drive this year.
Some recent awards winners for laptops that are friendly to the environment include: XO Laptop, Toshiba Portege R500, HP 2710p, Lenovo Thinkpad X300, and the Dell D630.