The rapid advancement of technology has transformed the world we live in. However, our ever-growing dependence on technology has taken a toll on the planet.
As we continue to consume resources at an unprecedented rate, we are approaching a time when we will no longer be able to sustain our way of life. In this blog, we will explore the impact of IT on the planet and the resources that are running out.
The resources needed for IT and why they are running out
There are around 66 individual minerals that contribute to the typical laptop, including lead, quartz, galena, cerussite and anglesite. These minerals are used for everything from glass production to printed circuit boards and computer chips.
Here are some of the minerals commonly found in laptops:
Lithium – used in the batteries of laptops
Silicon – used in the microchips, processors, and other electronic components
Aluminium – used in the laptop casing, keyboard, and other structural components
Copper – used in the wiring and circuitry of the laptop
Gold – used in the connectors and other electronic components due to its high conductivity
Tin – used in the soldering of electronic components
Tungsten – used in the filaments of laptop screens and light bulbs
Zinc – used in the coating of screws and other metal parts to prevent corrosion
Lead – used in some older laptops as a component of solder, but has been phased out due to environmental concerns.
It’s estimated that over 1 billion laptops have been sold worldwide since 2010. This means that a huge amount of resources have been used in order to produce these devices. The demand for laptops is only increasing as more people rely on them for work and entertainment purposes.
It’s important to remember that while laptops are incredibly useful tools, they come at a cost both financially and environmentally due to the resources required for their production. By being aware of this fact we can make sure we use our laptops responsibly and do our part in protecting the environment.
Challenge of Depleting Mineral Resources for Laptop Manufacturing
The US Geological Survey has identified 23 minerals that pose a supply risk to the US due to their limited availability. These include copper, nickel, lithium and tin which are all used in laptop manufacturing. In addition, some research suggests that known primary metal supplies will be exhausted within about 50 years.
The depletion of these minerals is concerning because they are essential for powering our electronic devices. Without them, we would not have access to the technology we rely on today. It is important that we take steps now to ensure that these resources do not run out in the future. This includes finding alternative sources of minerals or recycling existing materials instead of relying solely on mining new ones.
It is also important to note that while some rare earth minerals may run out in less than 100 years. Overall, it is clear that laptop manufacturing relies heavily on minerals which are becoming increasingly scarce and difficult to mine. We must act now if we want to ensure a sustainable future for our technology-driven world.
Green Computing: How Using Remanufactured Laptops Can Save Earth’s Precious Resources and Reduce E-Waste
As today’s world shifts towards a more sustainable future, green computing has become an increasingly vital topic. One significant way to implement sustainable IT practices is by using remanufactured laptops. These laptops are pre-owned devices that have gone through a thorough repair and refurbishment process to extend their lifespan. By utilising remanufactured laptops, the demand for new manufacturing is reduced, which saves an incredible amount of earth’s valuable resources. Not to mention, it also reduces the e-waste that ends up in landfills. With the staggering number of laptops being disposed of every year, it’s time we start exploring more widespread usage of sustainable IT solutions like remanufactured laptops.
Within the world of non-new computers, buyers are advised to discern between different practices before making their choices. At the lower end of the refurbishing scale, this can solely provide a mild cosmetic improvement to a used laptop, but no uplift in its natural length of service. On the other side of the scale, Circular Computing’s Circular Remanufacturing Process separates the laptops to their core component parts and each unit undergoes a 360-step process before going back out to users. In between these two examples, good refurbishment of laptops definitely have a role to play in improving our overall sustainable landscape but buyers should be focussed on two things:
How much longer the life of the laptop is extended
This is what ultimately drives fewer numbers of new laptop purchases. The new BSI Kitemark for Remanufactured Laptops can be a way of determining likely usage lengths.
The sustainable practices of the company
Whilst remanufacturing and refurbishing has a significantly lower footprint than new, there is a wide variation in the sustainable behaviour of the companies that provide this. Look for companies that are carbon-audited, minimise e-waste, offset their own footprint and ideally do something to address legacy emissions of the IT industry.
The world has reached a tipping point with climate change and resource management, so now is the time to act.
Of course we would advocate more widespread usage of Circular Computing in order to responsibly extend reduce the carbon footprint by 316kg of CO₂ emissions per laptop, as well as deliver huge resource and water footprint savings – but what does real global success look like beyond this?
Well, we believe that means global adoption of remanufactured IT moving from under 1% to 30-40% over the next 10 years. That would certainly mean more companies learning how to remanufacture and multiple large scale facilities built throughout the world, but there does not seem to be another option.
Together, we can help protect the planet for future generations by choosing to make sustainable decisions today. We are proud to offer an innovative solution to combat climate change, but we know that greater realisation of the problem, significant behaviour change and adoption of the right is needed.