How Green is Your Computer?

In a perfect world, everyone would take the environment into consideration before making any purchase. As an eco-conscious consumer and fellow citizen of the planet you are probably accustomed to making good decisions when shopping. Maybe you have invested in a solar water heater, bought a hybrid car, and created a compost heap out back. You buy groceries in bulk to cut down on packaging, and you source your veggies and fruits from the local farmer’s market to cut down on the transportation costs of getting food into your fridge. Those are all good moves, but one often overlooked area of eco-friendly improvements that you can make is a basic one: greening your computer.

The computer is an essential element in our lives today, and computer use itself can help to reduce the overall environmental impact that our existence has on the planet. For instance, we can visit a website instead of requesting that someone send us a printed brochure. We can make purchases online that saves the fuel that would be wasted driving to the store. The list goes on and on. However, the tradeoff is that most computers are not energy efficient, especially if they are used improperly. There are a few things that you must do if you want to minimize the effect that your computer use has on Mother Nature, including:

  • Refill your ink cartridges. Throwing away your empty ink cartridges is a foolhardy move that can impact the volume of rubbish in already overcrowded landfills. There are a number of charities that now accept “spent” ink cartridges; they refill them and resell them. You can also refill your own with an inexpensive kit that you can purchase for less than $10. Look for a refilled ink cartridge instead of a new one when you
  • Use vegetable ink instead of standard ink. Vegetable ink is a more eco-friendly ink than the standard ink found in most printer cartridges. It is also thought to be safer to humans than regular ink. It costs about the same price, too.
  • Use recycled paper. It only makes sense to use recycled paper for most printing jobs in order to reduce the planet’s overall consumption of trees.
  • Turn off computer when not using. This may seem like a no-brainer, but turning off your computer when you are not using it is important. It not only adds to the service life of your PC, but it will also reduce your energy bills and your overall carbon footprint. For times when you are just stepping away for a few moments, take advantage of your computer’s energy-saving “sleep”…

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