Making internet surfing greener

woman_computerAs part of our Change the World Wednesday month long challenge, we’ve been reducing our electricity usage.

One thing I’ve made good progress with is turning off the router, printer and computers at night time AND when we go out during the day.

Now I have another ethical challenge of my own! My laptop is slowly dying and I’m faced with buying a new one.

The greenest option is to cycle to my local library and use one of their machines instead of purchasing my own. The second greenest is to buy secondhand. But to be honest, with the usage I require I do need to buy a new machine. One that is quick and can keep up with the latest programmes and my desire to be productive and efficient.

The way I look at it, if I have a machine that works as fast as me I can spend more time doing the things I love!

It’s a bit of a moral dilemma though isn’t it? I’m pro making things last, repairing them, keeping them for life not just a season. However when it comes to computer technology you really have to move with the times. It’s currently taking me over a minute to load a small photo to illustrate my blog posts, it takes over 5 minutes to boot the thing up, opening a broswer can take another 3 minutes. As patience is NOT one of my virtues it’s all getting a bit much.

I’ve been browsing for a laptop on the Currys site and and over at PC world they have some cheap laptops too.  Both of these companies have stores close to where I live so I can pop in and check things out.

It’s a bit of a minefiled though isn’t it? How do you compare one model to another, especially when you’re looking for an eco buy but have a budget you have to stick to?

In their Guide to Greener Electronics, Greenpeace rate the following three companies as being the ‘most green’

  • HP
  • Dell
  • Nokia

Fortunately both Currys and PC World stock HP and Dell laptops. On each site it’s simple to find the brand you are looking for by selecting the ones you are interested in from a menu on the left hand side.

Starting at £389, Currys even sell refurbished Dell laptops which could well provide the solution I’m looking for. These might have been otherwise wasted, so effectively I’m helping reduce landfill waste AND I should be able to get more of a bargain for my money. The information reads “This refurbished laptop has been professionally checked, tested and repackaged. It comes with a reassuring 12-month warranty and offers fantastic savings over the ‘as new’ price.” What’s not to love?

I have to be honest, the prices astonish me. My first computer, complete with huge tower, floppy disc drive and CRT monitor was £1500. Now you can pick up a dual core HP laptop on PC world for £260…

There are other ways to make your computer experience greener:


Netbooks tend to use less energy


Buying a desktop with a large tower leaves room for expansion and upgrades


Donate your old machine to charity

Bye bye standby

Make your own habits greener – turn computers off when not in use, only print when necessary etc


Buy second hand or refurbished

WEEE recycling

If your old machine is unuseable, make sure you recycle it according to WEEE regulations


Consider charging your machines by solar or switch to a 100% renewable energy tariff

What about you – how do you make surfing the internet a ‘green’ experience?