green environmentally friendly laptop on grass

14th July 2022

What Makes A Laptop Environmentally Friendly?

Steve Hill

The IT industry has become vital to almost every business in the world as the role of computers, the internet and digital products have increased in importance.

It is hard to now imagine companies that could adequately function without digital mediums. Finance, marketing, communications, machinery; so much of the modern world is reliant on IT.

Unfortunately, the production of IT hardware, such as smartphones, laptops, desktop computers and tablets comes at a heavy cost to the natural world.

The production and the lifecycle of IT hardware can harm the environment in several ways. One of the biggest problems is emissions since the production, logistics, and first 5 years of use of these devices cause around 200-500kg of emissions.

That does not even take into consideration the issues that the components of these devices create when sent to landfills.waste damaging the environment

IT manufacturers and companies like Devices for Teams want to do more to reduce the environmental impact of these essential pieces of hardware.

Devices for Teams is now spearheading the green cause in the industry of computer hardware leasing through a number of initiatives, including affordable carbon offsetting.

With the government setting 2050 as the target for the UK to reach net zero, the pressure is on for businesses to cut emissions and source the most climate-friendly IT hardware.

One of the most important ways that we help our clients is by recommending environmentally friendly laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

What features make an IT device more environmentally friendly than another?

Emissions Levels

To find an environmentally friendly piece of IT hardware, businesses should be looking at the level of emissions (greenhouse gases) produced during production and usage over the device’s lifestyle. Hardware with low emissions is more climate-friendly, and, therefore, better for the environment. As stated above, emissions can be anywhere between 200-500kg.

The upper range is a sizeable amount of emissions and environmental impact compared to other products. Choosing a low emission laptop could make a big difference to your company’s overall emissions levels and bring you closer to net zero.

Manufacturing Materials

The materials from which your business laptops are made can play a significant difference in how environmentally friendly it is. Emissions are not the end of the story when we consider how laptops can damage our world. When we think about the individual components and parts that exist in a laptop: your cooling systems, your hard drive, your GPU; a lot of these small parts are made from difficult to source minerals or hard to break down plastics.Eco labels

Metals like gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten are frequently found in computer components. These are collected using damaging mining operations. On top of the damage that mining does to our wildlife, flora, and ecosystem, frequently, the mining operations themselves are carried out unethically in places like the Congo.

It’s not only metals, there are also toxic chemicals in many computer parts like PVC and phthalates. These are dangerous as they break down in a landfill after computer hardware is disposed. Some laptop manufacturers like Apple are working hard to ensure hardware components and cases are made out of more sustainable materials to combat this problem. The latest MacBook Pro uses metals like aluminium which is less harmful and easier to source and recycle.

Amount Of Waste Produced At End Of Lifecycle

Some materials are harmful because of mining, others in computers are toxic, while some just take a long time to degrade and fill up landfills. Plastic waste is one of the biggest culprits. Computers have a surprising number of plastics in them, and plastic is one of the most complicated materials to successfully recycle with huge swathes of plastic ending up in landfills. Roughly 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste are produced each year and this figure has been rising sharply over the past few years. Only 17.4% of the world’s discarded electronics were recycled in 2019. In the United Kingdom, an estimated 4.9 million metric tons of plastics are placed on the market each year, of which three-quarters become waste. Apple products with less plastic produce less waste, in addition to less mining being required and less toxic materials.

Repairability and Recyclability

How repairable and recyclable a laptop is has a huge contribution to how environmentally friendly it is. Naturally, if its parts and materials are recyclable in a green way that lessens the impact of IT products. However, repairability is also a crucial factor. The more accessible the parts of a laptop, and the more repairable they are, then the longer lifespan a device will have. This ensures less accumulation at landfills and fewer new devices are needed.

Ecolabel Certification

All of the above contribute to what makes an IT device environmentally friendly. Yet, a business needs a way to measure which of these features a device possesses. Ecolabels are an ideal way to ascertain from a reputable third party if a specific device model is environmentally friendly. TCO scores look at a whole range of factors, including fairphoneenvironmental and social impacts. Other good bodies for measuring greenness are EPEAT and Energy Star.

Which are some of Devices for Team’s most environmentally friendly devices?

Lenovo ThinkPads, Apple MacBooks, and FairPhones top the charts of Devices for Teams environmentally friendly hardware. This is why we are offering special deals and bundles on these to help companies reach net zero.

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