How do I find an eco-friendly laptop?

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I am looking to replace my laptop. Being in a conscious path of my own, I want to choose a laptop which is a product of good and sustainable procedures. I am saying good because most popular brands like Lenovo have factories in China where the labor conditions are inhumane I have read and I am not sure if they follow proper environmental protocol there.

So my question is, are there any brands of laptop which are in the niche genre of enhancing sustainability and eco-friendliness of their products? For example, one brand I came across is iameco (www.iameco.com).

Look forward to your inputs!

user1297

Posted 2014-07-29T18:40:16.037

Reputation: 171

10I would just like to point out that the greenest laptop you'll ever use is the one you already own. Service your computer well, replace or upgrade components as needed, and install up-to-date software, and you'll save the earth from the chemical and energy wastes and pollution involved in creating your hardware. Obviously, complete upgrades are occasionally required, but I wanted to point out that buying a new "green" computer that you don't actually need isn't the "green" thing to do. – pheidlauf – 2014-08-06T18:55:02.520

Hey, I need a new loptop as my current one is near its expiry i feel. – user1297 – 2014-08-07T06:52:50.197

1That's perfectly valid. I just wanted to post that bit of information. Sometimes people get a little over eager at the idea of going green and do more damage in the conversion than they would have if they just used what they already had. – pheidlauf – 2014-08-07T11:10:39.283

Hmm.. I guess, installing up-to-date software and using an old laptop are not exactly great bedfellows. Typing this from a 11 year old Compaq Presario V2000 that runs Windows XP, whose display card takes CPU to 100% to crash if I play 1080p videos, LoL. Moreover, nowadays, good antivirus software seem to need their own computer inside a computer, LoL. – Whirl Mind – 2017-10-24T16:26:07.177

Answers

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There are 3 websites I recommend visiting:

  1. Rankabrand.org

    This site rankes brands of all kinds of products, including electronics. Rankings are based on all information that can be found on a company's website and in their annual reports. Rankabrand assesses brands on

    their environmental performances, climate change efforts and labour conditions.

    If no information is present on a particular topic, the brand gets 0 points so it is indirectly ranking transparency as well. A drawback is that small companies/brands are often not included. Also a ranking is for the company/brand as a whole so not specific for a product type such as laptops.

  2. Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

    This site is similar to Rankabrand.org, but only rates major consumer electronics companies using a slightly different rating mechanism. Greenpeace primarily looks at:

    three critical impact areas tied to product design and responsible supply chain management across the electronics sector:

    • Energy: Reduction of greenhouse gases through efficiency and renewable energy
    • Resource Consumption: sustainable design and use of recycled materials
    • Chemicals: Elimination of hazardous chemicals from both the product itself and manufacturing

    Labour conditions and other social responsibilities are not included.

  3. Conflict minerals company rankings

    This site rates the largest electronics companies on their usage of what they call "conflict-free" minerals in their products. I'm not sure how accurate the list still is, the last update was in August 2012. However elsewhere on the site they say that a 2017 version is in the making!

The ratings from Rankabrand and Greenpace are somewhat similar. Fairphone leads in both rankings, but they sell smartphones and not laptops. Best laptop seller on both lists is Apple. Apple did score low in the 2012 conflict minerals, but I think they have been making quite some progress in recent years, so it would be interesting to see if this is reflected in the 2017 conflict minerals rankings that should be published somewhere this year. After Apple, HP scores reasonably well on all 3 rankings.

BTW, I have no affiliation with any of the sites or brands mentioned in this post. The only exception is that I do give a small donation to Greenpeace every month.

THelper

Posted 2014-07-29T18:40:16.037

Reputation: 9 289

Thanks for the links. I will have a look into them. Also, what do you think of iameco? – user1297 – 2014-07-30T08:49:14.827

The iameco website looks great. Apparently they received the first EU ecolabel for tablets. One drawback, I don't see any mention of social responsibility (labour conditions) anywhere.

– THelper – 2014-07-30T09:26:33.007

The Greenpeace and rankabrand reports seem to focus on whats discussed in the filings and PR, rather than what a company is actually doing. I wouldn't trust any company that claims its reduced GHG by "85%". That's a goal, not a reality. – Jeff-Inventor ChromeOS – 2014-08-06T01:26:26.340

@Jeff-InventorChromeOS Rankabrand tries to verify information from companies using external sources where possible. It's probably not possible for an independent non-profit to check everything, but luckily nowadays incorrect information is often discovered and published by the media. If a company does supply false information it will be very bad publicity.

– THelper – 2014-08-06T07:30:14.587

For the rankings die-hards; you could also use the EPEAT site to find 'more-sustainable electronics' as they call it themselves, but personally I don't like the site because I always have a hard time finding the information I want there.

– THelper – 2017-10-18T18:24:41.167

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Make sure your laptop is failing physically before deciding to buy new. It might just be that it's too old and worn to run Windows, but installing Linux might work. The easiest version to use is Linux Mint. See here for a guide: http://moderngreenlife.com/save-an-old-pc-from-landfill-with-linux-mint-xfce/

If you really have to buy one new, then spend a bit of cash and go for something easily upgradeable and relatively future-proof - http://moderngreenlife.com/greenest-computers-in-2015/

Terry

Posted 2014-07-29T18:40:16.037

Reputation: 81

2

I thought a new development would be worth mentioning: CrowdSupply hosts a successful crowd-funding campaign for the EOMA68 line of computing devices. EOMA68 is a standard, and the computing devices have the benefit of using easily-replaceable parts to fix or upgrade them, 3D-printable casings, and components that can move from one casing to another (for example, desktop to laptop). The modularity allows for recycling and re-purposing. It uses Free Software, which allows you to modify and adapt it to your needs and does not make it rely on one single company for support (which adds to a device's longevity); it also is a benefit for privacy concerns. The Micro Desktop casing is made of wood, which is a renewable resource.

Related to Free Software: GNU/Linux distributions exist in the thousands, and some of them are specialised to install on older hardware and/or on low-spec computers, which is good for both longevity and power consumption. I have often found that a computer that was struggling with Windows and seemed to be ready to retire got a second life after a fresh install of a GNU/Linux operating system.

stragu

Posted 2014-07-29T18:40:16.037

Reputation: 1 695

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It may cost a lot of green, but Macs and Apple are particularly green. Apple has many protocols and material regulations they use in their products. That's one of the reasons they cost so much, is the good materials they source.

I will agree with the labor problem, but they have good materials. See the model you might want, they have PDFs discussing the carbon footprint. This is the report for the model I own.

Also they offer recycling programs in most countries. Regardless of the brand, they will recycle your old computer. And if you recycle your Mac while it has value, they give you store credit- a nice perk. Some apple stores do it, or it's free online.

Technomad

Posted 2014-07-29T18:40:16.037

Reputation: 11

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Do you have any references or links for that? On SO sites we prefer answers to be more than just unsupported opinion. For example, Foxconn who assemble a lot of Apple products clearly fall into the "terrible labour practices" category.

– Móż – 2014-07-29T22:08:52.020

If you look at Apple on the Rankabrand website it does have the highest score of all large manufacturers. However, Apple still only gets 15 points out of 37. The main criticism is that there still is a lot of improvement possible when it comes to "transparency about recycling in its production and clearly increasing the life-cycle of products." On the plus side "Apple is the electronics brand with the highest use of renewable energy (75%)"

– THelper – 2014-10-29T11:19:46.147

0

I am somewhat biased. The Chromebook lines are extremely low battery usage and typically built from low-end hardware which is cheaper to manufacture and has less environmental impact.

As far as labor practices, the Samsung Chromebooks are assembled in Japan. The Acer Chromebooks are assembled in Taiwan. Both countries have relatively good records for labor practices and fair pay.

Google has extensive initiatives to reduce their GHG impact and has invested something like a billion dollars in solar.

Jeff-Inventor ChromeOS

Posted 2014-07-29T18:40:16.037

Reputation: 157

4Welcome to Sustainable Living! Can you provide more information on your claim that low-end hardware has less environmental impact? Any references for this? – THelper – 2014-08-06T07:20:35.957

-2

As i read about eco friendly laptop Dell is very eco friendly from their manufacturing to products to their packaging (they fit everything in to minimal boxing and use very little non-recycleable materials) And you get to fully customize the computer ,processor, ram,hard drive and video card very easily

CarsonG

Posted 2014-07-29T18:40:16.037

Reputation: 15

3Can you please add some references to backup these claims? – THelper – 2014-10-29T07:55:34.187