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Monday, January 30, 2012

Reduce your High-Tech Carbon Footprint

By Diane

Our society has become addicted to technology and most people are 'plugged in' at least part of every day. Cell phones, e-readers, TVs, tablets, and laptops go a long way toward keeping us entertained and connected to friends and family but they can really wreak havoc on our environment. While we can't do much about the environmental impact of actually producing these high tech toys, there are a few ways we can help keep our carbon footprint down once they find a way into our lives.

1. Solar Solutions: For small, portable devices like cell phones, digital cameras, gaming systems and even small laptops you can purchase a solar charger. Small solar panels collect and store energy from sunlight and when your electronic device runs out of juice, just plug it into the solar charger for an electricity free charge.

reduce your high-tech footprint2. Look for the Energy Star rating: According to Energy Star, if all computers sold in the U.S. met Energy Star requirements, the savings in energy costs would be close to $1.8 billion each year. That translates to nearly two million vehicles worth of greenhouse gases! So, look for that Energy Star rating to save yourself some money and cut back on your technology's energy usage.

3. How smart is your power strip? Consider purchasing a power strip or surge protector that can reduce the amount of power drawn by electronic accessories when they aren't in use. These strips monitor power consumption and can tell the difference between when they are on or off. When they are idle, it shuts off the power and eliminates the current drawn from them. This eliminates “ghost power consumption” and can really cut your electricity usage.

4. Think twice about your batteries. Buying rechargeable batteries may cost more initially but the long term savings are really worth the price. Not only do you save money but you won't be throwing away tons of dead batteries, either. When your batteries do finally die, make sure to find a recycling program in your area so they don't end up in the landfills.

5. Recycle e-waste. Electronics are loaded with all sorts of things that can be toxic to our environment. If a computer monitor or television were to be tossed into the landfill it will eventually start to leak a number of toxic chemicals into the soil and water. Recycling also recovers valuable materials from electronics that can be used to make new products.

We can pretty much guarantee that technology is here stay. How we choose to charge, run, and dispose of it makes a great impact on our environment.

What is the one technology gadget that you just can't live without?

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