LAS VEGAS: Greenpeace has sharply criticised four of the biggest names in electronics for breaking their promises to make products more environmentally friendly.
Speaking at the release of its latest Guide to Greener Electronics Greenpeace toxics campaigner Casey Harrell accused Samsung, Lenovo, Dell and LG of reneging on promises to eliminate brominated flame retardants from their products.
"Unfortunately we're still seeing companies making commitments and not living up to them," he said. "It's cheaper to spend money on marketing than it is to spend money on change. When times are tough you will see a lot more greenwash marketing."
Of the 18 companies Greenpeace monitors Nokia received the highest green score, ahead of Sony Ericsson. The worst offender was Nintendo, which Harrell said refused to have any dealings with Greenpeace, followed by Microsoft.
Overall, however, the picture is positive. Companies are getting a lot better about recycling their products and designing them to be environmentally friendly in the first place.
This is particularly true in the case of companies that recycle their own hardware, which are particularly keen to eliminate toxic waste since it reduces the cost of recycling.
Nevertheless, large amounts of electronic waste are still being dumped in landfill in developing countries, or burnt to extract valuable materials from circuit boards, with catastrophic environmental results.
"Burning electronic waste for scrap gold and copper releases a bevy of toxic waste into the air, earth and water," said Harrell. "In sites where this goes on, neurotoxity is off the charts and we're seeing cancer clusters around these areas."
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