How rugged devices can help reduce your carbon footprint
Tuesday, 17 November 2020
The hidden benefit of owning a rugged bit of tech such as the Defender Tab 4 is that it is designed to last. The fact that you do not need to replace it as often will have a massive positive impact on our planet. If you look into what goes into making a modern smart device anything the industry can do to reduce it will help all of us in the future.
For example the mining for the elements to make up the circuits: You need approximately 34kg of raw rock to get 100gm of useful minerals. If you multiply that by how many devices are made that's a large part of the world being destroyed. Each device also swallows up 13 tonnes of water during its build.
The majority of carbon emissions come from the process of making the device.
Analysis showed that smart tech emissions will reach 125 megatons of carbon dioxide by the end of 2020. That's an increase from 4 percent of total ICT emissions in 2010 to 11 percent this year. This footprint, more like bootprint, is driven by the meagre two years that a device is used on average. And if you factor in that less than 1 percent of smartphones get recycled the picture only looks worse.
The majority of tablets and phones are manufactured in China, a country using coal as their main source of power generation and we all know the damage that does to the ecosystem.
The "take-make-waste cycle" that is endemic in most electronics companies is compounded by designs made to make repairs and materials recovery difficult. To tackle the environmental cost and reduce the scary amount of e-waste, extending the lifespan is a great start. The most sustainable gadget is the one you keep longest. By making durable products, making repair simple and accessible, and making products upgradable we can start to make this industry better for all of us and the world we share.