What's Green at the Consumer Electronics Show This Year

Here are a few of the green gadgets that bloggers are talking about.

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Last year, green bloggers seemed excited that the Consumer Electronics Show was trying to be more environmentally-friendly. It appears that their tone for 2010 has changed. Treehugger titled a post "Consumer Electronics Show 2010: A Steaming Pile of Hypocrisy?" On the Huffington Post, blogger Robert J. Elis noted that the press room was no longer giving out notebooks to save paper. "This is the Consumer ELECTRONICS Show -- the place is loaded with ELECTRONICS. Everywhere. You're bombarded by ELECTRONICS. Electricity, batteries, flashing lights, electronics, electronics, electronics are coming out of every year. And they're "going green" by eliminating paper?? I don't think so."

He certainly has a point. But there's plenty of green to go around at CES, from the innovative to the ire-inducing greenwashing. A few highlights:

  • Pay more attention to Nokia products when you're looking for a green gadget. According to Greenpeace, Nokia ranks the highest in their Guide to Greener Electronics, ahead of the pack for their elimination of many toxic chemicals in products, despite a weak recycling record. Greenpeace ranked Nintendo and Microsoft at the bottom.
    • Sony has unveiled its new Vaio laptop, 23 percent of which is made from recycled CDs. Sony took care to green the packaging of the device - the carry case is also made of recycled materials, and cardboard waste for shipping is minimal.
      • OnStar has unveiled a mobile app for the Chevy Volt, available later this year. The app, for iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry Storm and Motorola Droid, allows users to remotely control the car's electrical functions. You can schedule charging time for off-peak hours, start and stop a charge, and recieve text message alerts about your battery. One feature, which OnStar has dubbed the "Brag Bar," allows you to boast about your miles per gallon.
        • Home energy monitoring has inspired several new products at CES.  Direct Energy, in collaboration with Whirlpool Corp., Best Buy, Lennox and OpenPeak, has launched a device that communicates with smart meters and smart appliances and include real-time energy monitoring, so that consumers can better control their electricity usage and costs. The company will also gather usage information from consumers and make recommendations to encourage further savings. 
        • that include real-time energy monitoring, so that consumers can better control their electricity usage and costs. The company will also gather usage information from consumers and make recommendations, to encourage further savings.
          • Inhabitat points out two different types of solar chargers at CES: one, by SolarGenix, will charge a Blackberry, iPhone or laptop through a solar sleeve or case, while the other, by Miniwiz, can utilize wind power as well.
            • Even smokers have a green gadget at CES - the Krave smokeless cigarette highlighted in the Wall Street Journal's coverage. E-cigarettes are often marketed as environmentally friendly, but that's not always the case. And they're definitely not healthier.
              • Wanna see a CES gadget that is the opposite of green? Witness: the polar bear TV.

              • Corrected on 01/12/10: An earlier version of this story incorrectly defined the Direct Energy product. It is a device that communicates with smart meters and appliances.