Computer and printer

Printers and computers have several features that affect the environment and people. Read our advice and facts on how to use printers and computers more sustainably.

  • 60% of a computer’s climate impact comes from the extraction of raw materials and manufacturing. According to a report from the UN, approximately 1,500 liters of water, 3,000 kWh of energy, 240 kg of fossil fuels, 22 kg of chemicals, and 1.5 tonnes of raw materials are needed to manufacture a computer.
  • In addition to being energy-intensive and environmentally damaging, the manufacture of computers often takes place in low-wage countries, primarily in Asia, where working conditions are inadequate. Read more about the environmental, health, and social aspects of electronics during their lifetime here.
  • The remaining 40% of a computer’s climate impact comes from its actual use, i.e. energy consumed during the use.
Tips for a conscious consumption of computers
  • To reduce the power consumption of your computer, use power saving mode instead of using a screensaver, and shut down your computer when not in use.
  • Upgrade your computer and replace the memory card or processor before considering buying a new computer.
  • If you are buying a new one, choose a computer that suits your needs.  A powerful computer that is mostly used for writing and internet surfing consumes significantly more energy than is justified for the tasks.
  • It is also important to think about what materials are included in the computer.  For example heavy metals in batteries, flame retardants, mercury in the monitor. Another thing to consider is the availability of spare parts for the product so that it can be repaired.
  • Return used computers for recycling. Here you can find your nearest recycling center.
  • In case you decide to buy a new one, choose an eco-labeled computer and look for current labels on our labeling guide
  • Similar to other electronics, the production of printers requires a lot of raw materials, metals, and chemicals.
  • The use also affects the environment because it consumes electricity, ink, and paper. Try to use your printer for as long as possible, even though a new printer may be cheaper than a new ink cartridge.
  • It is important to return both empty ink cartridges. Toner cartridges and used printers for recycling to prevent chemicals from spreading into the environment. Then the material can also be used in the manufacture of new products.
Tips for a conscious consumption of printers
  • Can you find a used one? Many sites sell used printers either through private individuals or through companies.
  • If you are buying new, look for the most energy-efficient one. It would also be good to ask if it is possible to replace spare parts if something breaks.
  • Choose eco-labeled and refilled toner cartridges and ink cartridges. Check if the supplier you are buying from has a return system for returning your empty toner cartridges and ink cartridges. There is usually information about this on the package, otherwise, you can always get advice in the store.
  • Return used printers and empty toner cartridges and ink cartridges to the municipal recycling center. Toner cartridges can also be returned to the store free of charge.
  • Choose an eco-labeled printer if you buy a new one and look for current labels on our labeling guide.

Updated 2021