Did you know that the gadgets you use every day cost the planet? From batteries in mobile phones to the polluting gases emitted in their manufacture, environmental concerns plague almost every aspect of producing new tech.
Whether you’re upgrading your mobile phone or learning how to be more tech-savvy, it’s always worth knowing how to identify the environmental issues at play. We should all strive to choose brands with an eco-friendly agenda.
How does technology affect the environment?
With a perpetually high demand for new gadgets, tech is one of the biggest industries in the world.
New phones, laptops, tablets, and household appliances are produced on an immense scale every day, often relying on unsustainable practices and toxic, single-use materials. These not only seep into the ground but contaminate the plants we eat, the water we drink, and eventually the animals in damaged habitats too.
Production methods release CO2 into the atmosphere, and there’s also the issue of waste, too: once a consumer is finished with their old device, it often simply gets thrown away into landfill. In total, it’s estimated that 1,340 million smartphones have been sold across the globe.
How can leading tech brands counter their environmental impact?
Smart and automated technologies enable remote-controlled use of devices, allowing production teams to enhance program usage, optimise operations, and reduce wasted energy.
One example is the use of collaborative robots as a solution to e-waste recycling. Robots programmed and equipped with complex AI algorithms can efficiently and safely sort and disassemble used electronic devices, like mobile phones. This reduces the risks presented to manual workers, especially in the handling of hazardous substances and toxic materials.
It’s no secret that factories for technical production are amongst the most-polluting facilities in the world. Data centres, for example, use enormous quantities of power and electricity to function, and they’re often running day and night.
A few of the most incriminating examples of these are the centres used for cryptocurrency mining, which relies on complex and time-sensitive algorithms to succeed. Industry leaders must seek consultation with crypto and digital assets lawyers to ensure that they can always defend their practices and mission.
Consultants and solicitors also help big tech companies to draft their own environmental incentives. From planting new trees to using only recycled materials by a certain date, there are many ways in which companies must reassure the world that they’re trying to be greener.
In their latest Product Environmental Report, Apple announced several focus areas. By 2030, they aim to source over 3% of their manufacturing energy from clean energy projects. They also propose to use 100% recycled or responsibly wood fibres in their packaging, alongside 99% fibre-based materials to replace plastics.
Focusing on sustainable goal setting
Lastly, it’s important to make sure that a brand is genuinely taking an eco-friendly approach. The practice of ‘greenwashing’ describes the theories and goals set by a brand that can’t be backed up by evidence of genuine change or practice.
You should always do your research if you’re serious about buying greener tech. Read reports, ask questions, and try to recycle your own used devices too.