Going green is fashionable, but how easy is it to do? Many small changes that you can make in your everyday life will add up to a big impact on the environment - and a positive impact on your bank balance.
Reuse and recycle
Technology enthusiasts tend to buy lots of new gadgets. But instead of dumping the old ones, why not recycle them?
PCs: Under the WEEE directive, UK PC manufacturers have to take and recycle computers at the end of their lives, but perhaps the best thing you can do with an old computer is to donate it to a charity that will reuse it. See Green computing & PC recycling made easy for more.
When buying new, go green
Another essential aspect of energy use conservation involves looking ahead. Every time you buy something new, make sure it's green. Here are a few low-power toys to get you started:
Earth-friendly PC: Hewlett-Packard offers a full line of Energy Star-compliant products. The The HP Compaq 2510p laptop (reviewed here) comes with an 100GB SATA hard drive, 1GB of DDR2 memory, an Intel Ultra Low Voltage U7600 processor, and the Windows Vista Business operating system. Under optimum conditions, according to HP (and our tests), it consumes much less energy than a standard laptop.
Green storage: Western Digital's Caviar GP WD10EACS is a 1TB hard drive that consumes less power and operates at lower temperatures than comparable-size drives. It scored fairly well on our tests against a similar non-green hard drive.
Light up less: Replacing the light bulbs in your house with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can reduce your energy use for lighting by 75 percent (CFLs last about 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs, too). Or go a step further and get Motionbulbs - CFLs equipped with motion sensors that turn on when you enter a room and turn off when you leave.
A different kind of pod: Your iPod is great, but how energy efficient is the constant recharging? Maybe you should try a
To charge its 20-hour battery, you turn a crank at the back - 1 minute of winding yields 40 minutes of audio playback. (Or you can plug it into a USB port and let the electric company do the cranking.)