Stop trashing computers

To conserve precious resources

Published: Thursday 15 April 2004

-- a recently published study provides another reason to slow the growth of high-tech trash. As per its findings, manufacturing a desktop computer uses fossil fuels and chemicals up to 10 times the weight of the device. Manufacturing a car or a refrigerator, on the other hand, uses up to twice the products' weight in resources. During the study, researchers from Tokyo-based un University calculated that making a 25-kilogramme computer (including a 17-inch cathode ray tube monitor) takes at least 240 kilogrammes of fossil fuels. More than 22 kilogrammes of chemicals and 1.5 tonnes of water are also needed. The combined requirement is equal to the weight of a rhinoceros or a small truck. "Microprocessors are the most energy-intensive components," reveals Ruediger Kuehr, one of the researchers.

Kuehr and his co-researchers have urged un member nations to minimise the growth of the high-tech trash by manufacturing longer-lasting computers and recycling hardware. "Existing users should think about whether they need to buy a new computer or if upgrading their machines could serve their purpose," says Kuehr. Such introspection is necessary considering that 130 million computers are sold worldwide each year.

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