It may seem like nothing more than fanciful alchemy, but it’s true: the vast majority of electronic products are nearly 100% recyclable. With core components of plastics, metals and glass, anything from televisions and table computers to remote-control cars and microwave ovens are able to be shredded, sorted and smelted into new products. This is very fortunate news considering the hyper consumerism promoted at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in Las Vegas January 6-9. Self-proclaimed as an “eco-friendly electronics show,” the 2009 CES was named North America’s Greenest Show by Trade Show Executive magazine. The trend continued this year, as green exhibits such as the Sustainable Plant TechZone featured the latest, greatest, energy-efficient, eco-friendly gadgets. With topics ranging from advances in green building and alternative-energy technologies, to green business services and solutions, smart-grid technologies, solar and renewable products, sustainable packaging and wireless convergence, this year’s CES expanded well beyond a longer-lasting light bulb. The goal of the Sustainable Planet exhibit was to “make it possible for every person in this planet to stay connected, informed and live sustainable lifestyles” utilizing “green” products and services that fall under the aforementioned themes. Exhibitors such as Concept Green Energy Solutions, DigiLighting, Global Electronic Recycling, Goal Zero, Greensmart, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, Solarfocus, SolarTech USA, Thinkeco, Traveler’s Choice and more showcased their newest and most sustainable products in an effort to help all of us think, act and purchase green. One forward-thinking product of note is the Traveler’s Choice solar-powered, TSA checkpoint-Friendly backpack. Found here, this particular piece of luggage is a bit heavy on the wallet at $187, but it’s a step in the right direction. With a traditional backpack design and the new-age concept of offering renewable charging for cell phones, PDAs and handheld gaming systems, this product vaults the idea of solar energy into a new realm: wearable, renewable energy sources. The uses are nearly endless for a product such as this, especially imaging the possibilities of what lies ahead. Briefcases that can charge laptop computers and purses that you can plug your cell phone into — these are highly practical and greatly needed products! This backpack’s impact on the environment could even be lessened if the fabrics are made from recycled materials and the various pieces were easily replaceable, therefore negating the need to throw away the whole bag if the solar panel (or zipper) breaks. This would greatly increase the expected lifespan of this product and as such, minimize the space needed in landfills, which in itself might be a great goal for a major product-pushing show like the 2012 CES.
Just How Green is CES?
The 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show had a decidedly greener focus than ever before.