Computers are necessary components of every enterprise and there is almost no home without one in Iceland today. Computers are simply everywhere and they do everything for everybody.
Even though computers are fantastic gadgets in most peoples’ opinion, the production of computers can have a devastating environmental impact. Because of the natural resources needed for the production of raw materials, transport of material between continents and the production process itself, manufacturing computers causes a wave of negative environmental impacts.
As an example, the production of 32 megabytes of microchips requires 72 kilos of chemicals, 700gr of pure gases, 32 kilos of water and 1.2 kilos of fossil fuels. Toxic chemicals from computers can leak into the ground and contaminate groundwater, and if people are exposed to them, those chemicals can damage the nervous system, pituitary glands, other organs and can negatively impact brain development.
If we look at the energy use related to computers from the user’s point of view the picture is as follows: Around 9% of the energy of companies goes into keeping the computers running. In the U.S. there are around 180 million computers in use today. In Iceland there is almost one computer for each individual so the number per person is even higher here. This may even be a low estimate.
A big part, or around 30% of the energy that computers and their accessories use, only generate heat that can be a nuisance. In order to diminish the negative impact of computer usage lots of things can be done. In the first place, it is not necessary to buy a computer that only does the same set of operations as the old one. Why buy a new computer if the old computer can do the task?
When choosing a computer the most essential thing is whether the instrument fulfills all the technical needs (or probable ones) of the consumer. In the near future it can be expected that environmental policy and the responsibility of producers will play a major role in the computer choice of the average consumer.
If we consumer’s, demand that computer producers show environmental responsibility, they will. It is therefore our responsibility how companies behave with regard to the environment.
Several computer producers, for instance, Fujitsu Siemens display the eco-label Nordic Swan on their computers, and they are manufactured according to the ISO 14001 environmental standard. Computers labelled with the Nordic Swan fulfill strict demands on the amount of heavy metals, plastic composition, production processes, energy usage, and feasibility for recycling etc.
Energy labels inform us about whether a computer, printer or copy machine wastes energy or not. The European energy label and Energy Star helps us to find the most energy efficient instruments. TCO labeling is a Swedish environmental and energy standard which is championed by Swedish labour unions.
Guðrún Arndís Tryggvadóttir „Tölva“, Náttúran.is: May 16, 2014 URL: http://nature.is/d/2007/06/26/skrifstofan-tlva/ [Skoðað:Feb. 28, 2021]Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.
skrifað: June 26, 2007
breytt: June 13, 2014