The early twenty first century might well be remembered as the American gadget age, characterized by high consumer interest in all things gadget.
Some slightly dated 2009 statistics presented in the top pie chart shows that nine out of every ten households contained at least one, and probably more than one rechargeable gadget such as a tablet, phone or camera.
A solid seven per cent of American households registered more than eight digital gadgets.
Many of the latest generation of communication gadgets also go by the name green gadgets, because they help with the transition to a wireless and paperless information society.
Renewable Energy Resources
In a globalized manufacturing world, considerations of green consumer products need also take into account production activities across the supply chain.
Worker health and safety issues, along with human rights issues intersect at almost every corner of the resource extraction and manufacturing components of the information technology industry.
Temporarily bracketing the topic of the political economy of green gadget, practical considerations related to consumer care and use also serve as organizing concepts for green gadget discussions.
In the battery driven gadget world, battery recycling practices might be another way to consider a gadget's greenness. Using a solar charger to maintain the batteries in any or all household gadgets represents another green gadget use and maintenance strategy.
Using the same laptop, tablet device or other gadget for an extended period of time, rather than consistently purchasing the newest version, in an endless string of newly improved gadgets, might also register as green to many environmental ears.
Another group of gadgets, the wind-up gadgets such as flashlights and radios, also get marketed as environmentally friendly devices because of their battery free energy source.
The picture shows one such product, a wind-up flashlight, complete with three attached LED lights. The product claims that winding the crank for a minute produces approximately one hour worth of light.
A few initial experiments with the light confirmed the claims, albeit with one caveat. The light dimmed considerably after fifteen minutes of use on the three light setting. Rewinding the device produced another stream of bright light.
For use in emergency situations, or any situation requiring a limited use of light, a green gadget description might be appropriate for items in the wind-up energy category.
Questions regarding the longevity of wind-up gadgets persist. Life cycle comparisons between wind-up gadgets and their traditional battery counterparts might provide one green baseline.
© 2009-2012 Patricia A. Michaels