Photo via cvander via Flickr CC
Coming back from the Greener Gadgets conference late last week, one of the topics mentioned - which it was bound to be brought up at some point - is how it is possible to have a green gadget at all. Electronics are inherently an environmentally messy issue, from the mining of materials to the energy use to the toxic e-waste generated when they're discarded. So, is there any hope for greener gadgets? A new survey by Retrevo suggests we're hanging by a thread, but there are several key drivers that can push sustainability into a more solid position within the consumer electronics industry. Retrevo, a consumer electronics shopping and review site, put out a new survey showing that consumers still have some progress to make before we can say "green" gadgets have arrived in the market place. 42% of consumers don't care if they're purchasing a green gadget or not - but much of that might stem from the fact that we still don't know what constitutes "green" nor is it easy to find out. EPEAT is working to solve this as they move their rating system into the consumer sphere, but it is still tough to find out how sustainably made and disposed of a product really is. But there's another component...money. 16% of respondents say they don't care, and it's because price is a more significant factor than sustainability. Luckily, 16% of respondents said they always look for the greener gadget. There's a bright spot, at least.
Images via Retrevo
When it comes to how gadgets are used after purchase, there was a bit more of a silver lining:
More than 60% claimed they knew how to be green however, more than half of those saying they knew, said they didn't always put that knowledge into practice. The good news is that apathy and ignorance over green gadgets prevailed in only 18% of the respondents while over 20% said they were interested in learning how to be green.
To help move people into being more "green" with gadgets, most respondents cited money - tax rebates and cash incentives would help them out. 47% of the responses indicated that making recycling easier would be a big help. 17% of the responses pointed towards new laws helping to push them to be greener.
The Retrevo survey shows that while gadgets are still trudging along when it comes to consumer behavior and sustainability, they're at least trudging in a forward direction. There's still a lot of ignorance, still a lot of apathy, but there are people who care and as greener gadgets get pushed mainstream, that share of the market will grow.