CES 2011: CE Industry Getting Greener?

On the eve of its big show in Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) gave itself a hearty pat on the back for being green. The association released its 2010 Sustainability Report, which it said details the industry’s great strides in doing everything from “designing more energy efficient products to cutting greenhouse gas emissions at facilities, to developing a national electronics recycling infrastructure.”

The report cites some data and a lot of case studies – 21 of them – to support the claims of progress. It noted, for instance, that “industry-wide unit sales of U.S. products registered with EPEAT (that’s the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, a green rating system) grew by 10 percent in 2009, to a total of 48.5 million products.” And it pointed to a video service provider who “consolidated its shipments and decreased its use of cartons by more than one million in 2009 – a 75 percent reduction from the previous year.”

Consumer Electronics Association sustainability report

image via Consumer Electronics Association

On energy efficiency, the report said some 27,000 consumer electronics products now earn Energy Star designation. And it highlight the example of a semiconductor design company that “created a chip that can reduce its (greenhouse gas emissions) by up to 40 percent by combining the processing and graphics processing units and the Northbridge chipset onto a single chip.”

Attendees at this year’s CES might be heartened to learn, as well, that CEA itself, in its own operations and events, has become more environmentally aware. The group noted in the report’s introduction that at the 2010 CES, it “worked with the Las Vegas Convention Center to recycle 68 percent (372.2 tons) of the total solid waste generated by show attendees through diversion of cardboard, paper, metal, wood, carpet padding and plastic from landfills.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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