The Green Party claimed yesterday that Microsoft's newly launched Windows Vista operating system would force computer users to dump their old PCs. Now Microsoft has defended itself against the criticism.

The political party stated that people who upgrade to Windows Vista will have to buy more power-hungry hardware, whilst disposing of their old PC, both of which will have a knock-on effect on the environment.

"Future archaeologists will be able to identify a 'Vista Upgrade Layer' when they go through our landfill sites," the Green Party 's principal speaker Siân Berry said.

But today Microsoft defended itself saying it was doing its best to improve its environmental standing, and that it would be happy to meet with the Greens.

"Environmental issues are important to us all, and we believe we are making important steps towards reducing the environmental footprint of our products and the hardware on which they run," Microsoft's director of government affairs, Matt Lambert, said.

Choose re-use

Charity Computer Aid also warned about the impact that Windows Vista could have. Tony Roberts, chief executive of Computer Aid, said that up to 10 million PCs may be discarded in the next two years as a direct result of Windows Vista.

"We are urging individuals and businesses to consider the environmental impact of those old machines, many of which will still be in perfect working order. And we are reminding them that re-use is the best option for the environment," Roberts said.

"Choosing re-use over recycling allows IT equipment to be used until the real end of its productive life, enabling individuals and businesses to reduce their environmental footprint," Roberts added.