Challenges to sustainability by design of electronic products

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 12.21.35 PM.pngIn the Journal of Cleaner Production, authors Rafael Laurenti, Rajib Sinha, Jagdeep Singh, and Bjorn Frostell wrote a journal titled “Some pervasive challenges to sustainability by design of electronic products-a conceptual discussion”, intended for people that recycle electronic waste, on the 4 of February 2014. This journal addresses several challenges to sustainability which include: product and consumption redundancies, embodied environmental and social impacts occurring distant in time and space from the point of consumption, and production and consumption dynamics. The authors are saying that even though electronics such as a phone have a very high demand, they can have a very negative effect on the environment. The authors use logos when they say that “ over 40 elements in the periodic table are present in a mobile phone. Among these elements, on average 23% are metals, mostly copper and a small amount of precious metals, e.g. gold, silver, and palladium” most of the time electronics like these aren’t being recycled correctly, so many of these precious metals are going to waste. Throughout the journal, the authors continue to emphasize the impact of electronic waste or e-waste as it’s called in the journal. The authors even say that “ Increasing use of scarce minerals in smart phones, tablets, laptops, hybrid cars, LED light bulbs, etc. which have contributed to resource wars in developing countries” this points out that many electronic devices have scarce resources in them and it causes people to fight over control of them because they know that they can use these scarce minerals for something else. Throughout the article, the authors continue to talk about the effects that e-waste has on a society. In one quote, the authors say “ The crude processes of informal e-waste recycling in low income countries, which add toxins to the environment and negatively affect the health of workers” this quote reveals the authors’ opinions on this matter and sheds light on this subject for future employees that recycle electronics.


Laurenti, Rafael, Rajib Sinha, Jagdeep Singh, Bjorn Frostell: “Some pervasive challenges to sustainability by design of electronic products-a conceptual discussion” Journal of Cleaner Production Vol. 108 (2015) 281-288.



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