This ABC News video, “Combatting ‘Vampire Energy’” spotlights the alleged eco-friendliness of Asus’ new laptops made with bamboo. While soaking in the the video’s empty-headedness is worth the 5 minute-watch, the relevant portion begins at 3:55 — just in case you’ve already reached the saturation point on green vacuity and want to fast forward to the laptop part.
About the laptops, ABC’s Andrea Smith reports:
… What’s great about it is that it’s not plastic, so that, No. 1, it looks really cool. You’ll look like you’re totally eco-friendly and very chic… The No. 2 thing is that when you’re done with this and you need to recycle it, there is no plastic here to clog the landfill… It’s bamboo and it’s a self-regenerating plant and there’s lots of it.
So let’s consider the Asus bamboo laptop, Ms. Smith’s report, and, importantly, reality:
- There is still plenty of plastic used in the laptop. Only the case is bamboo. And what about the bamboo’s shiny urethane finish? Despite the name, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have generally been viewed by the greens as environmentally-incorrect.
- Bamboo doesn’t recycle so much as it decomposes — giving off greenhouse gases. The plastic in laptops can be and is often recycled for other uses. The plastic is actually a better “carbon sink” than the bamboo.
- Recycling doesn’t matter anyway — almost all laptops are thrown in the trash. Fortunately, there is no shortage of landfill space. In fact, the U.S. has more landfill capacity than ever before.
- Most bamboo comes from Vietnam and China. Not only are greenhouse gases emitted while farming bamboo, but transporting the bamboo or bamboo finished products to the U.S. involves even more greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Asus bamboo laptop costs $732.81 more than the comparable Asus plastic laptop on Amazon.com.
- Bamboo is not necessarily eco-friendly. Growing bamboo on a mass-scale requires lots of water, energy and fertilizer inputs. Without fertilizer, continual harvesting of bamboo will deplete the soil in a short-time.
The bottom line on Asus bamboo laptop?
You may look cool, chic and eco-friendly, as ABC’s Andrea Smith says, but the reality is you’re being fooled and ripped-off, while doing nothing for the environment.