Southern California environment news and trends

Digging for green at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

(Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

People sample a 3M Touch Systems 46-inch PCT-display demonstrating the scalability of projective capacitive technology at CES Unveiled, ahead of the opening of the annual Consumer Electronics Show, Jan. 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The world of technology has descended on Las Vegas to ogle the latest and greatest gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show (better known as the CES), not exactly the bastion of environmentalism or sustainability. Showcasing everything from household appliances to children’s toys, anything and everything that can be plugged in, charged up and do something is on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center floor, packed with exhibitors, retailers and credentialed electro-groupies.

Of course, some concession to conservation has to be made amidst this orgy of energy. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) who put on the event have created the “Sustainable Planet Zone”, an area specifically for companies that produce environmentally sound products and services. But according to critics at the show, it’s not much to talk about.

“Out of 3,100 exhibitors, only 24 are in the Sustainable Planet Zone,” tweeted environmental blogger Jaymi Heimbuch about it this week. “I'd say CEA should either build it up, or shut it down.”

But of those few exhibitors, companies like GoalZero got high marks for solar-powered chargers, and trash kings Waste Management have set up shop in the area as part of their resolve to find new sustainable solutions to trash disposal.

Electronic giants Samsung have stepped up in a big way this year, setting up an “Eco Zone” display of new, more sustainable-minded products. The buzz has been loudest around their stylish WF457 Green Wireless Washer, which promises to use up to 70% less water than your average machine, and comes smart-grid ready. It has already been given awards by Energy Star for “Most Efficient” and the CES for eco-design.

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