Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Modular Laptops and Electronic Waste (Article: The Economist)

Electronic Waste, also known as E-waste is fast becoming a leading contributor to landfill waste and environmental pollution. "In 2007 the EPA estimated that we threw away 2.25 million tons of electronics,1" many of which contain toxic contaminants such as lead, cadmium and mercury.

In resolving this problem legislation and public awareness have a long way to go, but you can help by taking your e-waste, cell phones, mice, keyboards etc.. to various retailers that participate in recycling programs (Bell Mobility, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile, Best Buy and Verizon) or check out this about.com article for more ideas.

  • Aaron Engel-Hall, a member of the Stanford University team which last year created a prototype for the world’s first fully modular and recyclable laptop, explains that an entire portable computer can, theoretically, be recycled. "The most difficult step is separating the materials.
  • The modular concept, known as Project Bloom, is appealing in other ways, too. Modules, such as a USB drive, circuit board or LCD screen, could be swapped in as they break or become obsolete. The laptop design is such that it can be dissembled without tools in under two minutes. Such devices could prove a boon to cash-strapped consumers, all the while making them easier to dispose of (eg, the computer can be dismantled into parts small enough to post off to recyclers).
  • Similar thinking has been employed with some mobile phones and even cars, such as the modular Smart Car.

  1. Scientific American. "Gadgets are Garbage." http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gadgets-are-garbage
  2. First Image from roundoff.com 
  3. Second Image from blog.belgravetrust.com

    No comments:

    Post a Comment