Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Gets Its Green On

CES tradeshow floor photo

Photo via CES

Consumer electronics present big problems, from producing them with unsustaibable materials, to emissions for manufacturing and using them, to the e-waste and toxic problems they present at the end of their lives.

The Consumer Electronics Association, however, recognizes these issues and is actively working on greening up the industry. They have released the first sustainability report in the industry, and are improving the impact of the Consumer Electronics Show with eco-friendly options.

Parker Brugge, our VP of Environmental Affairs spoke with us about CEA's green moves. Environmental Sustainability and Innovation in the Consumer Electronics Industry Report
This report by CEA takes a close look at industry progress, including adopting sustainable policies, practices and programs, and highlights specific environmental accomplishments by companies in the consumer electronics industry.

Among the report's findings are a decreased electricity use, a reduction of greenhouse gasses among companies that reported their emissions from 2004 to 2007, active recycling programs, and improved energy efficiency for the products created.

Through the report, the CEA gives props to companies that are pushing towards sustainability through manufacturing, company policies, and products, and making that a significant piece of status in the industry. You can check out the report for more details.

ces carbon reduction photo

Panasonic AVC Networks President Toshihiro Sakamoto makes an environmental announcement during the opening keynote address Monday at the 2008 International CES. Via CES
Consumer Electronics Show 2009
We will be attending CES in January and plan to keep a sharp eye out for improvements in both the greenness of the gadgets, and of the show itself. 2008 was the first year CEA actively tried to green the show, and they plan to try and top it this year. Brugge filled us in on some of the steps CES is taking to be greener, and how it actually helps the entire industry reduce its carbon footprint.

Cutting Global Emissions
According to CEA estimates, attendees of the show average 12 business meetings. And so CEA figures that by putting on this show, they help the industry avoid 700 million miles of business travel for that year. It is an interesting — and somewhat groping-for-green — way to look at such a massive show, and yet, something so big is bound to have an equally massive footprint. That is why CEA focused on choosing venues with green reputations.

Greener Vendor Options
CES will utilize Aramark catering services, which is working to reduce waste by using biodegradable service ware, recycled napkins, Energy Star equipment, and eco-friendly cleaning products. The Las Vegas Convention Center, the main hub of the event, participates in the EPA's WasteWise Program, has a 50% recycle rate for all of its shows, and uses water conservation devices in bathrooms among other actions.

Side events are held at venues like the Palazzo, which is a LEED Silver building and offers valet parking for bicycles; and the Sands Expo Center, which recycled 89% of materials generated from its largest show, and trains with EcoLab to maximize efficiency on water, electricity and other utilities and products.

Okay, so none of those things are particularly spectacular and we could make a looooooong list of better improvements CEA and associated venders could be doing. But when it comes to such a massive show, we have to give snaps when they're due.

Eco-Booths to Cut Carbon Footprints
CEA is also offering "eco booth" options to exhibitors, which include formaldehyde-free insert panels and shelves, and recycled carpet. Again there could be a lot more being done here, including more rigorous eco-friendly booth options, or even requiring exhibitors to have greener booths. Brugge was also unable to give numbers for how many exhibitors are taking them up on their eco-friendly offer, and, really, it didn't sound like the options were very popular.

However, exhibitors will get an elbow nudge towards greening their products and services when they see the greener gadgets tech zones, panels discussing e-waste issues, green design, and sustainability, and the organizations speaking on improving the electronics recycling laws. Greening the industry will be a strong undercurrent to the entire show.

Keeping an Eye Out for Green
It's going to be tough wading through all the wasteful products that are sure to end up in a landfill within a year's time thanks to build-in obsolescence. But with the growing green highlights, we're sure to have some great news to report and eco-positive innovations to show you.

Stay tuned for more CES news.

More on CEA and CES:
Electronics Companies Team Up to Create Mega Electronics Recycling
How Green was CES This Year?
Are Women Greener Than Men?

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