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GREEN GADGETS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Electronic gadgets are popular holiday gifts, but as their popularity and versatility continue to grow, so does their impact on the environment.

Devices that plug into wall outlets are responsible for a small but growing portion of a household's total energy consumption (about five to seven percent). This energy is generated primarily by fossil fuel-fired power plants, which are America's single greatest source of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and the air pollutants mercury and sulfur dioxide.

Battery-powered devices pose problems as well. More than three billion alkaline batteries are thrown away in the United States each year instead of being recycled; the toxic metals they contain (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium) can leak into groundwater supplies and harm local residents or wildlife.With a few simple strategies, you can give your gadget-loving friends and family members a gift with a smaller environmental footprint:

If you plan to give someone a new gadget to replace an older model, consider recycling the old gadget as part of the gift. Many companies refurbish older electronic devices, salvage the usable parts, or recycle the toxic components.

Written by: Union of Concerned Scientists.


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