Cheap, easy and green: Keep your electronics efficient

BlogHer Original Post

old TVsWhen shopping for electronics, we tend to be swayed by the the initial sticker price without looking at long-term costs -- both for our wallets and for the planet. Try these tips to save your hard-earned money while feeling good about reducing your carbon footprint too:

1. Think long-term energy savings. Shopping for a new TV? That energy-sucking plasma TV on sale may save you some cash today -- but will cost you a bundle later via your electric bill. In fact, some TVs are so energy-inefficient that California's looking to ban them! After all, greener TVs are already on the market -- and the California Energy Commission says simply getting people to opt for those "could have an estimated net benefit to the state of $8.1 billion," according to the L.A. Times.

2. Slay vampire power. Another problem with plasma TVs: They suck up a helluva lot of energy even when they're not being used. Check out this handy illustration from GOOD to see just how much! Avoid paying for the unnecessary energy-suck by using a power strip to cut the power your TV -- and other electronics -- when they're not in use or charging up.

3. Make the batteries last. An easy tip's simply to follow tip #2, since avoiding overcharging will help make your batteries last longer. But's Farhad Manjoo's put together more detailed "four essential tips for extending the battery life of your computer, cell phone, and every other gadget." If your laptop battery tends to die before you're ready to replace the laptop, read the well-researched tips to figure out how you can save yourself some money -- and reduce e-waste -- by making the most of the battery you've got.

4. Fight planned obsolescence. Resist the continuous call to upgrade from the companies selling you electronics! If your cell phone's working perfectly well, why get a new one just because your annual contract's up? I get my cell service through CREDO, which gave me the option to save $10 a month on my phone bill for 6 months simply for renewing my contract without getting an unnecessary new phone. Don't be a sucker to advertisers and marketers, and love your gadgets for as long as they last.

5. Get money for old gadgets. Even if you use gadgets until they die, you might still be able to make money selling it to a refurbisher -- or at least save money on a new gadget by taking advantage of rebate recycling programs at the company or retailer you bought the old gadget. PC Mag's Electronics Recycling Superguide should help you figure out how to make the most of your old eletcronics. These programs also make sure your no-longer-functioning gadget will be disposed of properly, so you'll be doing good for the planet while being kind to your wallet.

Got more money-saving gadget-friendly tips? Share them in the comments --

Related links:

>> Sierra Club's The Green Life blog advises: "The greenest choice is to stick with that old black box until its end, but when it's time to switch, opt for Energy Star-labeled TVs."

>> Jaymi Heimbuch at Treehugger gives us yet another reason to hold on to the working gadgets we alredy have: The Digital TV Switch Causes 70% Rise in e-Waste.

>> Jenn at Tiny Choices shares cheap eco-DIY home improvement tips she's tried herself -- including getting a new-to-her TV stand through Craigslist. She even resold her old TV stand for the same price she originally bought it -- also on Craigslist.

Photo by David J

BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel also blogs at


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