Here comes the green. Fujitsu promises to buy 'green energy' to offset the emissions of each 'wind-powered' laptop during its lifetime. Unfortunately, Fujitsu takes no account of the carbon footprint of manufacturing the machine, which for laptops has been estimated at four times the footprint from use. But the big problem comes from the pricetag of the machine – the extra money for “carbon credits” came up to 227 more times than what others would charge for the emissions offset. I guess the rest was just too green to turn down.
A Chinese company called Hoshino announced this week a biodegradable flash drive made out of corn. The external plastic is a corn-based polylactide -- sounds nice, but how many people are actually going to bury their disks? Also, even a buried corn cob doesn't biodegrade for 25 years, according to experts – so you might as well keep using your old flash drive and not drop the coin for a “green” one.
Sprint and Samsung have launched what the two companies are calling an “eco-friendly” cell phone. Samsung’s phone, the Reclaim, does boast some environmental improvements over other phones, namely that it is made from 80 percent recyclable materials (not to be confused with recycled materials), and 40 percent of the phone’s outer casing is made from bio-plastic derived from corn.
But while the phone is a step in the right direction, it is still manufactured across the world with precious metals like copper, nickel, gold, palladium, plastics, lead, mercury, cadmium, and other non-eco-friendly materials. And just remember, the best way to have a green phone is to keep using the one you already own for as long as possible before recycling and buying a used phone to replace it.
The Eco Kettle is one of those gadgets that just seems too obvious to make fun of.
Executive one: Hey, we need to spice up the electric kettle market.
Executive two: Well, why don’t we just slap the word ‘eco’ in front of something?
Executive one: BINGO!
There is, of course, a reason behind all this madness. The EcoKettle claims that people boil water, and most boil more water than they actually end up using. Heating that excess water wastes a lot of energy (a problem). Eco Kettle hopes to provide a solution to those aspiring to a greener cup of tea: a kettle that fills up with water but only boils as much as you select.
So buying a product that’s made in China and shipped across the world is going to make you an eco warrior. At least it has eco in front of its name!
Solar-Powered Sun Glasses
Plant this one under the heading of making another gadget for basically no reason: power up your devices with the solar cells of your glasses. Now I know there’s an effort to put solar in absolutely everything, but before my bikini needs to have a butt-level charging dock, could we just put down the iPods for a moment? Not everything needs to plug in all the time.
Hmmm … if only there were some green stuff on the ground that would grow when the sun shined. Thank goodness for Solar-Powered Grass. It’s way better than the natural stuff -- THIS grass glows in the dark via energy-efficient LED’s. So many extra chemicals involved!
Fuell Cell Phone Charger
Here’s a decidedly un-green way to charge your cell phone: a $275 Toshiba fuel cell. Each $30 disposable cartridge of methanol provides enough juice for 6 charges. It only takes a minute to charge not one, but two phones – almost as good as using a blowtorch to light a cigarette. It would basically be greener to idle your SUV with the A/C on and plug your phone in instead of ordering one of these. Each $30 disposable cartridge of methanol provides enough juice for 3 charges.
Dell's Recycling Program
Back in 2009, Dell was tooting its own horn about how green it was for Earth Day. It touted its studio hybrid computers, its carbon neutrality, and it’s recycling program – which turned out to send people to a local restaurant instead of an e-waste center. And despite all the posturing, it is still difficult to find information on Dell’s website about recycling.
But it’s not just Dell. Apple has been accused of greenwashing for years – possibly the least green actions ever are Apple’s policy of constantly making your shiny gadget obsolete.
Water Drop Tech Puzzle
Instead of metal dots, this Aqua Drop Nano Tech Water Puzzle uses drops of water. Imagine all the materials being saved from production to create this game. Ah, the wonders of water.
Some of the silliest of greenwashing come from the USB-powered world. Why people need to plug in gloves or cool themselves with a necktie fan is beyond me, but when a USB greenhouse showed up and pretended to be green, it was one gadget over the line. Earth Day is about getting your hands dirty, so it’s time to unplug those cables and get in the dirt. Guess what? You may save the planet (or not) but at least you’ll be doing something real, instead of trying to grow a flower in a cubicle. Happy Earth Day!