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PC users 'want greener machines'

03 July, 2006

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ISLAMABAD : Consumers are willing to pay up to an extra $197 for a PC containing fewer chemicals, a survey had found. People also felt manufacturers should take responsibility for the disposal of old machines, the research showed. So-called e-waste is a growing global problem, with 30 million PCs being dumped each year in the US alone.

The study by Ipsos-Mori for Greenpeace coincides with an announcement by PC maker Dell to phase out a number of toxic chemicals in its products.

The nine-nation research found that UK computer users were willing to pay an extra $117 while people in China were prepared for spend up to $197 for a more environmentally sound PC.

A report published by the UN University in 2004 said making the average PC required 10 times the weight of the machine in chemicals and fossil fuels.

The study also found that the short life of computer equipment was leading to a mountain of toxic waste, mainly in India and China.

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a massive global problem. Thirty million computers are thrown out every year in the US alone. About 70 percent of heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, in landfill sites come from e-waste.

Greenpeace International spokeswoman Zeina al-Hajj said: "Consumers not only want greener PCs but they are willing to pay extra for them. "Dell's decision to remove these harmful chemicals reflected a move within the electronics industry in the right direction to become cleaner."

The environmental group has long campaigned for the sector to move to cleaner production methods. Dell said it would eliminate the use of all brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its products by 2009.

A number of other firms, including Hewlett Packard, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, have also made commitments to phase out the use of hazardous chemicals in the near future.

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