Perhaps the clearest sign that green technologies are making inroads in the consumer electronics industry will be seen at the Consumer Electronics Show that attracts more than 140,000 attendees to Las Vegas, Jan. 7 to 10.
Amid the myriad announcements from manufacturers about the latest and greatest in everything electronic will be several conferences focused on energy efficiency, recycling, and the use of environmentally friendly materials in electronics. In addition, several companies will be exhibiting in the show’s Sustainability TechZone.
Kristina Taylor, manager of recycling, energy efficiency, environmental and state policy at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), expects numerous manufacturers to make announcements about their green products or corporate efforts toward sustainability.
Taylor is also looking toward more energy-efficient technologies like OLED (organic light emitting diode) TVs, such as the 11-inch Sony XEL-1 TV recently introduced in Japan. Samsung has announced plans for a 31-inch OLED screen, though no date has been set.
The CES show itself, for the first time, will be green and plans to be the largest carbon-neutral trade event in history. The carbon emissions of all CES venues, freight, shuttle buses and hotel rooms will be offset. Taylor says the CEA has already paid $108,000 for the 20,300 tons of carbon used at last year’s show, and will adjust that when this year’s total is tabulated by Carbonfund.org. The offsets are divided equally among renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation. Attendees can choose to offset their airline travel via Carbonfund.org’s calculator.
In addition, all light bulbs and batteries used by the show will be recycled, recycled carpet will be used in some areas, recycling bins will be placed throughout, flyers will be printed on recycled paper, leftover show publications will be recycled, 75 percent of food containers will be biodegradable, recycled paper products and environmentally friendly chemicals will be used in bathrooms, and hazardous waste disposal programs for waste oil, paints and solvents will be available.
Taylor says the CEA also produced a video segment looped to hotel guest rooms reminding attendees to unplug their battery chargers and turn off lights when they leave the room to save electricity.
The CEA maintains that CES is by its nature efficient, as it brings together people conducting an estimated 1.7 million meetings, or the equivalent of 700 million miles of business travel or 156,000 round trip flights from New York to Los Angeles.
The biggest indicator in how green our electronics can be, however, will be in the products that come out of this show.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates