After I had sat through my fourth consecutive manufacturer’s press conference at CES 2009, I started making the shorthand notation in my notes: OGS (Obligatory Green Speech). As I predicted last year, the environmentally friendly position gave a company an advantage last year, but it has become required just to stay competitive this year. So the companies were falling all over each other to claim how much cleaner their factories are, and how they will recycle a pound of electronics for every new pound that they produce, or how much less power their new models use than the older models. It seems that everyone’s TVs exceed the new EnergyStar requirements. New plasma technology from Panasonic has cut power consumption in half compared with older sets, and a further revision will drop that down to just a third as much power.
Naturally, this is all good news. We all do benefit when the major companies cut down on their waste and emissions, and give us more energy efficient products. They are making it easier to recycle electronics; there’s hardly any excuse for any of it to end up in a landfill these days. Sharp, Panasonic, and Toshiba are backing MRM Recycling with 280 sites in the U.S. Sure, it would have been better had they had started this way from the beginning, but better late is far better than never.
So you can be pretty sure that the HDTV you shop for this year will have a gentler environmental footprint than the models from last year or the years before that it replaces. Congratulations to the display industry for making these improvements, but let’s hope that they keep up the effort even in these challenging economic times.