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July 22, 2011

3 Tips to Go Green With Your PC

This week is dedicated to going green with your PC. We aren’t saying go out and buy a new PC made out of recycled materials but there are a few great ways you can make simple switches in your life using your PC.

1.) Check your power management settings. Windows makes it easy to save energy by automatically putting your computer to sleep and turning off the display when you aren’t using it. It can even extend the life of your monitor. Even if you already have power management enabled, try reducing the sleep and display blanking timeouts – do you really need to be gone from your PC for 15 minutes before the display goes off? Climate Savers Computing has some great instructions on how to check and improve power management on various versions of Windows.

2.) Make your next PC an EPEAT PC. EPEAT makes it easy to discover the greenest PCs available. Covering full lifecycle of PCs (manufacturing, use and disposal), EPEAT rates PCs and monitors on over 50 criteria and rates them with a bronze, silver and gold status. You can also check for the EPEAT logo when you visit online retailers such as CDW, Best Buy and Office Depot. Ben the PC guy shared more about this this morning.

3) Refurb, Reuse, Recycle: Did you recently upgrade to a new Windows 7 PC? Do you have an ancient tower standing around in your living room like Julie? If so, you may want to consider a few alternatives to just chucking it in the trash can. Surveys conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency have noted that only 15% to 20% percent of retired personal computers, TVs, cell phones and other electronic devices are being recycled in the United States. That means that odds are 1 in 5 that you weren’t considering recycling. The thing is, it’s not that hard to recycle and it keeps your information safe. shares the following great advice for finding a recycling venue for your old unit:

The Rethink Program, hosted by eBay has a good computer recycling FAQ section and many useful links to recyclers, as do CompuMentor‘s Tech Soup site and the EPA’s eCycling website.

You can also go here to locate a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher in your area. The benefit of going to a refurbisher is that they ensure that your computer undergoes proper disposal so that your data is not compromised. A Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher specializes in safely decommissioning PCs, and refurbishes PCs or servers with genuine Microsoft hardware.

Does this still seem like a lot of work? It may take an hour of your time to find the closest destination (most Best Buys will do it!) and donate but it could make a difference. Every PC that isn’t donated is a missed chance to help provide access to technology for those who need it. For an article on the 10 Things You Need to Know to Dispose of A PC, click here and if you have additional questions tweet me or @Microsoft_Green.

Do you have more great tips or tricks for greening your life with your PC? Share them in the comments section below, via Facebook or via tweeting @kristinalibby.