Buying Better Computers

Fact Sheets

A short background document that discusses the growing global problem of electronics and provides information on what institutional purchasers can do, explaining available tools such as the Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) and additional criteria to help you go Beyond EPEAT.

Guidelines for addressing the environmental and public health threats of electronic products through purchasing preferences and manufacturers' design. Prepared by Health Care Without Harm, Hospitals for a Healthy Environment, and the Electronics Takeback Campaign.


Power Points

Presentation given by Ted Smith, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition at Cleanmed 2004 about the environmental and social costs of the electronics industry and why healthcare should care.

Presentation given by Mary Ellen Leciejewski, OP, Ecology Coordinator for Catholic Healthcare West hospitals, at Cleanmed 2004 about the steps they are taking to embed environmental and social criteria in to their hospitals' electronic procurement contracts.

Presentation given by Anne Peters, President Gracestone, Inc., at Cleanmed 2004 on how to incorporate environmental and social concerns in bids for electronic products.

Presentation on the issues related to electronics procurement and environmental responsibility.

Recycling Programs

Choose a vendor who has signed the
Electronic Recycler's Pledge of True Stewardship

Power Point

Three Laws of Technology Recycling (PowerPoint) (ppt)

Presentation given by Robert Houghton, President of Redemtech, Inc., on electronics asset recovery and healthcare.

End-of-Life and Takeback Programs

These supplemental program summary forms provide a way for institutional purchasers to compile and compare information about different vendors' equipment end-of-life management and packaging takeback programs, respectively, to help determine which services purchasers might want to include in their contracts.

Responsible Disposal


Exporting Harm: The High-Tech Trashing of Asia (pdf)

Video Documentaries

  • "Exporting Harm" (Video Documentary)

This 23 minute film documents the real consequences of exporting e-waste to developing countries for "recycling," by following a trail of toxic e-waste destined for China.

Produced by the Basel Action Network (BAN) and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, "Exporting Harm" can be ordered from BAN's website. The official trailer is below.


  • "Digital Dump" (Video Documentary)

This 22 minute film continues to expose the harmful, escalating global trade in toxic, obsolete, discarded electronics that was uncovered in "Exporting Harm," by following a trail of hazardous e-waste to Lagos, Nigeria.

Produced by the Basel Action Network (BAN) and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, "Digital Dump" can be ordered from BAN's website. The official trailer is below.

Concerns about Flame Retardants


This June 2005 report summarizes the latest scientific research on halogenated brominated flame retardants, including their toxicity, persistence, and presence in humans and wildlife.

In the first nationwide tests for brominated flame retardants in dust swiped from computers, the Computer Take-Back Campaign (CTBC) and Clean Production Action (CPA) found these neurotoxic chemicals on every computer sampled. The highest levels found were a form of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) called deca-BDE- one of the most widely used fire retardant chemicals in the electronics industry.

This April 2005 report by the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production examines safer alternatives to decaBDE, a flame retardant used in electronics.

Fact Sheets

Resolutions, Ordinances, Laws

This AMA resolution on the toxicity of computers and electronics waste was recommended for adoption by AMA's House of Delegates at their 2003 Annual Meeting.

This resolution on the toxicity of computers and electronics waste was adopted by the CMA's House of Delegates on March 24, 2003.

Links to Other Websites

  • Join Practice Greenhealth
    Valuable information and resources for 'greener' hospital facilities. Topics include: eliminating mercury use, environmentally preferable purchasing, waste reduction and green design in building facilities.
  • Electronics TakeBack Coalition
    The goal of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (formerly Computer TakeBack Campaign) is to protect the health and well-being of electronic users, workers, and the communities where electronics are produced and discarded by requiring consumer electronics manufacturers and brand owners to take full responsibility for the life cycle of their products, through effective public policy requirements or enforceable agreements.
  • Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
    Resources, technical documents, slide presentations, report cards, and directories on computer recycling, sustainable water programs, and international efforts to reduce the impacts of the electronic industry on the environment and public health.
  • Basel Action Network (BAN)
    The Basel Action Network (BAN) works to prevent the globalization of the toxic waste crisis. BAN works to prevent trade in toxic waste exported from rich to poorer countries, and to promote global environmental justice and a toxics-free world.

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