Hey you on the other side of that computer screen—if you’re reading this blog, you’re an environmental malefactor.

Although computers aren't without green aspects—they cut down on paper use and connect people without carbon-inducing travel—they also suck up huge amounts of power and clog landfills with a variety of toxins and non-biodegradable crap.

Obviously, I write these posts by hand using locally sourced dyes on organic hemp paper and send them to Plenty via free-range homing pigeon. However, for those of you who insist on using the interwebs to communicate, there’s a store that can help make you a better online environmentalist.

Verdant Computing opened their online store as a one-stop shop for the latest in environmentally friendly computing gear. The site carries a list of requirements that products must meet before they can be sold through Verdant, including such features as use of recycled or sustainable materials, ease of recycling, energy efficiency, minimal use of toxic materials, eco-friendly packaging, and independent certification.

While the issue of high tech pollution has taken on a higher profile in recent years (for example, the Greenpeace quarterly list of the worst offenders in the electronics industry has been a source of embarrassment and motivation to tech manufacturers around the world), it still isn’t easy to find products that meet all these criteria in the consumer-competitive world of computers. Verdant deals in components, peripherals and refurbished machines rather than complete systems (although you can buy what you need to build your own) because it’s challenging to source equipment that fulfills all of the company’s environmental requirements. However, Verdant founder Carl Foner says that they’re continually researching manufacturers and expect to offer a broader product range in the future.

Besides talking the talk, Verdant seem to walk the walk. Their office uses green power (in fact is powered by sunlight during the day), they offset the carbon of their shipping costs, and according to the website, they discourage rampant consumerism—although that may be more of a philosophical than a practical consideration.

In terms of price, Verdant is competitive with companies selling similar products. However, more importantly, you can engage in blogging, gaming, and illegal media downloading without the crippling guilt that accompanies less socially conscious computer use.

Story by Patrick Metzger. This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2007.

Online store offers guilt-free computing
Find out where to get electronics with reduced environmental impact.