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CES: Consumer Electronics Assn. and Greenpeace say gadgets getting more green

January 6, 2011 |  8:01 am

SamsungblueearthThough much of the technology being showcased at CES is user-friendly, it’s got a ways to go before it’s truly eco-friendly. But companies are getting close, according to two studies released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The Consumer Electronics Assn. said that nearly 49 million products on the market are registered with the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.

Roughly 27,000 product models meet Energy Star energy-efficiency standards, according to the report, and more manufacturers are using renewable packaging material such as bio-based plastics instead of clamshell cases.

In 2009, the industry recycled 200 million pounds of electronics at 5,000 permanent collection sites around the country.

Separately, Greenpeace reviewed more than 40 products and declared the industry to be increasingly attuned to green business practices. Companies are cutting back on hazardous chemicals in phones, televisions and computers, the environmental group said.

Glass used for screens no longer contains arsenic, and the use of mercury is declining as more companies turn to LED displays.

But efforts to green the entire product life cycle are still few and far between, according to Greenpeace. Companies rarely track the amount of energy they use in manufacturing and distribution.

Short warranties cause many gadgets to be thrown out within three years, and marketing eco-friendly offerings to consumers isn’t a priority, the survey found.

Participants included Dell, Motorola, Panasonic, Research in Motion, Samsung and Toshiba. Apple and Philips bowed out, but Greenpeace looked at some of their products anyway –- and concluded that they would have performed well against competitors.

Read the report here: Download Greenpeace Product Survey 2011

But some said the electronics industry should start its greening campaign with CES itself. Virtual-event producer ON24 concluded that if the Las Vegas show were to go entirely digital, it could avoid 179,000 tons of carbon emissions and 1.4 million pounds of waste.

The roughly 125,000 attendees would save 136 million miles spent flying to and from the show. Digital documents could take the place of 2 million sheets of paper.

Last year, show organizers said they recycled 68% of the waste generated by CES attendees -– a total of 372 tons of cardboard, paper, metal, wood, carpet padding and plastic.

RELATED:

UCLA conference spotlights firms' eco-friendly concepts

CES: "Green" tech goes from gimmick to mainstay

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: The Samsung Blue Earth GT-S7550 phone, which led the Greenpeace survey's mobile phone category. Credit: Samsung

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