Be a Greener Gadgeteer

Browse the internet on your mobile
Updating your Facebook once on your PC uses the same amount of energy as updating it a hundred times on your phone.

Use Eco Font
Eco Font (www.ecofont.com) has been designed to reduce the amount of ink used when printing. It has small holes in it which are barely visible to the naked eye. If you don’t want to use eco font, or can’t for any reason, why not ask everyone in your office to use the low quality option when printing? You’ll be helping save energy (and a few pennies too).

Reduce your printing
Pretty simple this one. Consider how many pages you print a day and if you’re printing more than you actually need to, don’t print so much.

Ink cartridges
Loads of environmental charities offer a freepost service to send off empty ink cartridges to be refilled and reused. Not only do you reduce the volume going into landfill, but you also help these charities to continue to do their bit.

Refilled ink cartridges are available in most stationers and cost no more (and sometimes considerably less) than newly manufactured ones. So buy them instead.

Use a laptop instead of a desktop
All the time you’re running on batteries and not using power from the wall you’re saving energy use. Wen you are plugged into the wall a laptop’s power brick uses significantly less power compared to a standard PC’s power supply.

Extend your gadget’s life
If your current gadget does everything you need, consider hanging on to it a little bit longer. Not only will you save yourself some money, you’ll also be making more efficient use of the materials that have already been deployed.

If you do get a new device and your old model still works, consider donating it to a non-profit organisation such as Computers with Causes, which refurbishes computers for educational institutions.

If your PC is a few years old and you’re thinking of replacing it, you may only need to upgrade some of its parts to keep it running at top capacity. You can safely upgrade many components such as the monitor, video or sound card and hard drive. Or you can add RAM to your existing PC.

Newer components are likely to be more eco-friendly. An LCD monitor uses a 1/3 less energy than a cathode ray tube monitor and lasts twice as long.

Use an energy efficient computer
Manufacturers are now making more energy-efficient computers so when it comes to buying a new PC, do your research thoroughly to find the greenest possible option.

Recycle your gadgets
Approximately 70% of the heavy metals found in landfills emanate from electronics, and PCs (especially the older ones) contain toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury and polyvinyl chloride. For more information on how to recycle your gadgets (and in some instances get a bit of cash out of it too) visit www.recycleyourgadget.co.uk

Repurpose your iPod
While it may not be the latest model, your old iPod is still a substantial storage device that does all the same things as a USB stick or external drive. Add speakers to create an instant stereo. Make it your backup drive by using it’s ‘disk mode’. Load it up with games. If you install iPod Linux you can play games for free.

Use your computer more efficiently
If you go downstairs to put the kettle on, put your computer into power-saving mode. Consider turning down your screen brightness and turning off any hardware such as printers, that you’re not using. Pull the plug on your laptop. Your battery (and Mother Nature) will thank you.

Use recycled batteries
Instead of buying disposable alkaline batteries over and over again, consider purchasing a set of rechargeable NiMH batteries to save money and help reduce landfill waste. They might cost more upfront, but they quickly pay for themselves the more you use them. And they usually have a longer battery life too.

Use solar power batteries and solar chargers
Solar chargers utilise energy directly from the sun and turn it into usable power. Because sunlight is infinitely free to everyone, it makes for a pretty good power source. Without the need to generate artificial energy we preserve our valuable resources and reduce the amount of emissions that pollute the air.

Recycle your old batteries
Throwing out your old batteries in the rubbish only adds unnecessary waste to the environment. Recycling companies can use old battery components to supply manufacturers with recycled materials instead of taking from the earth’s resources. Some local councils will collect your old batteries as part of your curbside service, but in a lot of areas you’ll need to take them to a recycled centre or collection point.

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