6 Ways Your Computer is Eco-Friendly

Being eco-friendly is not a strange occurrence in today’s world. Once you decide to go green, there are many ways you can implement it in your daily life. Recycling, compost, commuting, electricity and trash are a few areas that you can apply eco-friendliness.

Have you considered the affect and effect your computer can have on being eco-friendly?

Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agree that the amount computer waste generated is more than 5 billion pounds, 82 percent of computers are not recycled but thrown away in landfills, and average users get rid of their computer after 30 months.

There are steps you can take to protect your planet and save money simultaneously. Here are 5 ways to make your computer eco-friendly.

-1- Monitor

The monitor uses about a third of the energy used by your computer. It uses much more electricity than you would realize. Sleep mode uses energy but less. Turn your monitor off if you are not using it for a couple of hours. When the monitor is on, power it down to sleep mode. You will find the settings in the Control Panel under Power Options. The brightness of the monitor uses energy, the brighter, the more electricity usage. Turn the brightness down. The dimmer display is also gentler on your eyes.

-2- Screensaver

Screensavers were designed to protect the older monitors with monochromatic technology. The technology of monitors today is LCD or LED. These new monitors do not need screensavers for protection. Animated screensaver are great to look at but are not so great on usage. It uses more energy than when you are using the monitor. Screensavers heats up your computer while using unnecessary CPU and memory power.

By turning off the screensaver you save energy that would have cost you between $25 and $75 a year. There are other ways to spend $50, than wasting it on a screensaver. Seriously.

-3- Saving Modes

There are valid reasons for leaving the computer on, for example, maintenance processes that run automatically, antivirus scanning, downloading of software updates, or for remote access.  However, to leave the computer on because you don’t want to wait for it to boot-up is not very eco-friendly.  There are procedures to clean up the computer and to speed up the start-up time.  You can combine the two by enabling hibernate or standby mode. It is one of the Power Options.  This way you are saving energy and you have the computer up and running the moment you touch the mouse.

Is there a difference between hibernate and standby? Yes, there is.  When your computer is in standby mode, your monitor and the hard drive is not using power, but your computer is still using some power.  When the computer is in hibernate mode, the computer is using no power.  The computer takes longer to power up but it is by far better on saving energy.  A computer nightmare is when there is a memory overload. When your computer is on, it saves data to the memory. It is good practice to restart your computer every couple of days to avoid memory overload. Defragmentation is also good to do on a regular basis. It improves the efficiency of your computer and also reclaims memory. The energy usage decreases as the performance increases. Defragmentation assist in improving the speed and stability which is performance improvement.

-4- Maintenance

Your car needs regular service to run efficiently. When you don’t service your car, its performance decreases. Your computer needs to be looked after as well. The better your computer performs; the better is the energy usage.  Using the computer over time, decreases the efficiency and the computer takes longer, using more energy to work. Some items that cause this are: web surfing leaves bits and pieces behind cluttering the computer; adding and removing programs with settings becoming outdated; and startup commands are run unnecessarily. This builds up and affects the way your computer functions. Use computer software programs for tuning up your computer.  If you look after your computer, it will function longer saving you money because you are not forced to replace it.

-5- Recycling

When you replace your computer, don’t add to planet pollution by discarding it in the trash. Recycle your computer.  EPA research shows that only 15% of computers were recycled in 2007. Donate your computer to a school, a charity, a non-profit organization, or to your neighbor who needs a computer but can’t afford one at the moment.  TechSoup is a non-profit organization and it provides links to sources that will recycle the computer or will buy your computer from you. You can find TechSoup at http://www.techsoup.org/recycle/donate. Don’t forget to remove all your files and personal data on your computer before you recycle or donate it. Deleting the files is not secure enough. Use data wiping software. It uses technology that overwrites the data, preventing it from being recovered.

-6- Buy Eco-Friendly

There is nothing as exciting as shopping for a new computer.  Computer manufacturers such as HP, Dell, Acer have computers that are eco-friendly; these computers use less energy. The computers have components that are reusable or rechargeable. Recycling material is also used.  Laptops are better eco-friendly buys than desktops. Laptops energy usage is 50 percent less than a desktop. Laptops have built in energy-efficient features to optimize the usage of the battery.

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