Eco-friendly technology for Earth Day and everyday 

From speakers to home appliances that tap into volcanic minerals

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With a rapid-pace cycle taking consumers from new to outdated to obsolete in a nanosecond, it would make sense that lots of technology ends up in the landfill. And it does. 

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But more than a million tonnes of electronics have been diverted from Canadian landfills since 2007, according to the Electronic Products Recycling Association, (EPRA) an industry-led, not-for-profit organization that operates recycling programs across Canada. 

Increasingly companies that manufacture technology behind everything from earphones to televisions and kitchen appliances are finding ways to be less of a burden on the planet. That includes a conscious effort on picking packaging that is environmentally-friendly to relying on production and materials choices that are clean and green.

In honour of upcoming Earth Day, we are highlighting a few products that are all that in the tech world but easy on the planet, too.

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House of Marley

House of Marley  produces headphones, speakers and turntables. Their products use bamboo, which is one of the world’s fastest growing plants. They also use a fabric that they call REWIND. It’s a fabric weaved from 30 per cent reclaimed hemp, 30 per cent reclaimed organic cotton and 40 per cent recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate). The brand also utilizes recyclable aluminum, an efficiently reusable metal, significantly reduces the amount of the material entering the waste stream. Recyclable aluminum can be found in its turntable platters, headphone housings and ear cups.

Since 2017, House of Marley through the donations to One Tree Planted, helped plant 223,000 trees around the world.

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Mathew Wilson with Best Buy said House of Marley, for instance, is widely seen as a leader in embracing an environmentally-conscious approach to their products.

“A lot of their speakers are made of bamboo and all their packaging is completely recycled all the way down to the cable ties. It’s actually quite impressive,” he said.

And you are not sacrificing quality, according to reviews on Reddit and Amazon.

House of Marley products

House of Marley Get Together 2 waterproof, Bluetooth wireless speaker | Best Buy ($349.99) The rechargeable battery 16 to 20 hours of continuous music play.

House of Marley Get Together Mini portable audio speaker | Staples ($179.99)

House of Marley Get Together Mini Bluetooth speaker | The Source ($119.99)

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Skullcandy produces earbuds, headphones and accessories. The brandpartners with facilities around the globe to recycle and upcycle Skullcandy products for resale. They’reon their way to meet a goal to keep 1,000,000 pounds of waste from entering landfills by the end of 2025. Skullcandy has a program called RePlay where they take used products and assess whether they should be upcycled or broken down and recycled. A ticker gives you real-time updates on product material refurbished or diverted from landfills. Their packaging is also 100 per cent recyclable. 

Skullcandy products

Skullcandy Push Active In-Ear Sound Isolating Truly wireless headphones | Best Buy ($79.99)

Skullcandy Dime True wireless earbuds | Amazon ($39.95)

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This Bosch 800 Series dishwasher with CrystalDry, for example, uses a volcanic mineral called zeolite which absorbs moisture and at the same time generates heat – both properties help dry dishes. The mineral also never needs replacement, said Joe Alicandro, Senior Merchant at The Home Depot Canada.

“We know that making sustainable choices is important to many of our customers, and innovative technology like volcanic minerals in dishwashers or laundry units that use AI to communicate with each other, empowers our customers to help maximize their energy and dollar savings,” he said.


LG Electronics 36-inch French door refrigerator with Instaview

Knock on the glass twice and the inside of the fridge illuminates so it can be viewed through the window preventing energy loss.

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The fridge also has a compressor that uses an inverter motor which, unlike a conventional one that turns on full power all at once and shuts off all at once, allows the compressor to slowly ramp up and ramp down. This is a more efficient way to cool with quieter operation.

LG Electronics Front Load WashTower Laundry Centre

“One of our more popular and most innovative laundry products is the LG Washtower. This washer/dryer combo uses a number of sensors and AI to sense the type of clothes being loaded in the washer and automatically sets the optimal amount of water and detergent / wash cycle for an optimal clean,” Alicandro said. “The washer communicates the load type (denim, light cottons, etc.) to the dryer, which then sets the optimal dry cycle. The sensors in the dryer can also tell when the load is dry, thereby reducing energy.”

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You can schedule the washer to work in “off peak” hours to save money.

LG Electronics Top Control Smart Dishwasher

“This dishwasher uses steam and comes with a lot of benefits. The steam loosens up caked on food during the pre-cycle, helps to sanitize during the cycle and also contributes to drying when the washing is complete,” Alicandro said. “A steam particle is hundreds of times smaller than a water droplet, the steam in the dry cycle displaces the larger harder to dry water droplets allowing the dishes to dry faster.”

“This dishwasher doesn’t have a “heat dry” cycle with an element to dry the dishes at the end of the cycle; saving you energy,” he adds. “In the case of the dryer and the dishwasher, both use a direct drive motor. These motors are more efficient than conventional motors.”

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And what happens to all that tech that gets recycled?

Instead of becoming e-waste, new tech is harnessed to break down old tech. The process includes recovering In the process, raw materials like glass, plastics and precious metals are recovered and put back into the manufacturing supply chain to make new products.

More than 80 per cent of Canadians polled have at least one end-of-life electronics device sitting at home, according to the Electronic Products Recycling Association

Not only do programs like this mitigate the environmental hazard of having toxic and dangerous materials like mercury and lead hit landfills but means repurposing of everything from old cell phones, laptops and even burn-out light bulbs.

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There are more than 2,500 sites across the country (find a eco-friendly program drop-off near you) where Canadians can drop off end-of-life electronics, some even taking toasters, microwaves and vacuums. All Best Buy locations also take old phones, printers, laptops and more.

Shopping Essentials is a new category that features highly-researched products, new and exciting launches or behind-the-scenes info — learn more.  All prices are accurate on the day of publication.



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