Most Macworld Online readers would be willing to spend a little more money on Macs if the machines were "kinder to the environment".

In a recent reader poll, we asked readers for their thoughts on environmentally friendly computers. A total of 1,482 readers chose to vote in the poll.

Remarkably, 60 per cent of the sample group would pay more for earth-friendly Macs. "I would willingly pay more" attracted 320 votes (22 per cent), while "I would pay more - but only a little more" drew 556 votes (38 per cent).

Price remains a problem for many readers, (494 voters, 33 per cent) who would like 'greener' computers, but "wouldn't pay more for them". A further 112 readers (8 per cent) noted that green machines would make no difference, saying: "It's not my job to protect the environment".

Discussion on the topic showed that many users feel the cost of green computing should rest with the manufacturers and government. Most readers were critical of government attempts to pass green law, and in an advertising-saturated age they regard any claims to environmental credentials on the part of manufacturers with suspicion.

"At present I think this is nothing more than a huge marketing exercise," one reader wrote, adding, "environmental thinking needs to be taken seriously".

"Any green computing initiative has to be done for honest reasons, not as some trend that can be exploited for marketing expedience," a reader warned.

Some readers pointed out that because a Mac's useful life is longer than that of Windows PCs, they are being environmentally friendly anyway.

Others see the whole discussion as one on the merits (or otherwise) of consumer society. "It's vital consumer goods become more environmentally sound," they wrote.

Another point readers raised was one of air freight. Does the environmental cost of transporting goods from abroad outweigh the benefits of using greener materials in their construction?

Packaging also popped-up as a debating topic, with many users observing Apple's move from brown cardboard boxes to lavishly designed and printed crates. They also note the extensive use of polystyrene in the company's product packaging. "Why not use easy-to-recycle cardboard inserts?" they asked.

And a call for a network of centres to which users can take their old machines for recycling also appeared: "I think there should be a small tax at sale" to support these centres, a reader ruminated.

Some users asked why the cost of corporate responsibility rests with the consumer: "The problem I have as Joe Public (distinct from corporate interest) is why should I have to pay extra? Why can't the corporate world reduce its profit margin in the interest of planet earth?"