RoHS and green PCs: a survival guide

This Saturday, a new law called RoHS looks set to kick-start a green computer revolution. Well, a small one. It should be a stride forward in terms of

This Saturday, a new law called RoHS looks set to kick-start a green computer revolution.

Well, a small one. It should be a stride forward in terms of how computers are manufactured, as makers will no longer be able to stuff their machines full of the nasty chemicals that currently clutter many of our homes and offices.

For some companies, the new law won’t cause much of a sweat. Fujitsu-Siemens has already got in there with an environmentally friendly desktop model, the Esprimo P Series (pictured above), and Dell has also created a bunch of business models – including the Optiplex GX620 - to pass the RoHS test.

In fact, Dell is a veritable swot in terms of cutting back on inner junk. It’s promised to sack brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride from its products by 2009. It’s not actually proven that these chemicals are harmful, but Dell is no doubt keeping its eye on the horizon, and thankful for it we are too.

Here are a few things you’ll need to know if you’re thinking of picking up a new machine any time soon.

What is RoHS?

It stands for the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

What’s off the menu?

From 1st July, lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.

Who’ll stop companies selling dodgy toxic PCs?

The National Weights and Measures Laboratory is the RoHS enforcement body and will kick the ass of anyone flogging chemical-laden PCs.

How can I make sure my new computer is RoHS friendly?

If you buy one this Saturday, ask the shop if they’ve heard of the new law. If they look confused, and there’s no clear labeling, take your custom elsewhere.

If I’m building my own computer, do I have to comply?

In a word, no. If it’s for your own domestic use and not to be marketed, you have the pleasure of poisoning your own personal environment to your heart’s content.

To find out more about RoHS, click here.