Like many people in my generation, I am both a technophile and an environmentalist. Can I have the latest gadgetsÂ and be green?
I think you may have discovered the quandary of Generation Y (or is it “Why?”). How do we reconcile our visions for a more sustainable world with that uncontrollable urge to bring everything shiny and electronic back to our nests? The most sustainable answer, of course, is to address the root of this perceived need. Do I really need it? Can I borrow one? Can I rent one? Can I fix my old one? Can I play with it for hours at the Apple store until the novelty wears off?
Assuming that the answer to all of these questions is no, and that you have justified the acquisition of this gadget in your highly rational cranium (“But look, Mom, it willÂ save me gas”), where does that leave us? I could just end my answer there, but I think that there is still a chance that you will make a more environmentally friendly decision.
To help answer your question, I will turn to the recently released ninth edition ofÂ “Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics.” The guide aims to help you reduce toxic substances and encourage end-of-life product take-back and recycling, essentially mirroring the efforts of the European Union’s RoHS (reduction of hazardous substances) and WEEE (waste electronic and electrical equipment) directives. Since the initial guide came out in 2006, the requirements on the reduction of toxic substances have been increased and criteria have been added to improve corporate policies and practices with respect to climate and energy.