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Biodegradable computers

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The world's first biodegradable computer, the iameco, has arrived in Dublin. Made with biodegradable wood panels drawn from waste products in the lumber and pulp industry, it uses one third less energy than conventional computers.

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[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

Computers use a lot of energy and often need to be replaced far too quickly. When we get a new computer, the old and useless ones end up in the landfills taking forever to degrade and leaching chemicals into the ground while they do. One cannot escape the fact that computers are harmful to the Earth. Luckily there are ways to minimize that negative effect.

With constant up-gradation in technology, computers are designed to be replaced which means more electronic waste and more energy used in production.

[edit] How does this affect me?

So far whenever we had to replace our old computers and wanted to do so in an eco-friendly way, we either donated it if it still worked, or take it to an electronic recycling depot to avoid leaving all that plastic in the landfills polluting the Earth. With the advent of biodegradable computers we can very well bury it in our gardens and in three years they will biodegrade and yield better vegetables.

[edit] Biodegradable computers and environment

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Electronic waste, or "e-waste", is quickly becoming a problem of a dire nature. Even if e-waste doesn’t take up much of landfill space, it contributes the maximum toxic waste.

[edit] EPEAT- registered computer

EPEAT (Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool)-registered computer products have reduced levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury to better protect human health, and are easier to upgrade and recycle. With EPEAT registered products purchasers can significantly help reduce the environmental impacts of their computers.

EPEAT is a system to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT also provides a clear and consistent set of performance criteria for the design of products, and provides an opportunity for manufacturers to secure market recognition for efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products.

The following are some highlights from the report by the Green Electronics Council of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Save 13.7 billion kWh of electricity, enough to power 1.2 million U.S. homes for a year;
  • Save 24.4 million metric tons of primary materials, equivalent to the weight of 189 million refrigerators;
  • Prevent 56.5 million metric tons of air emissions (including greenhouse gas emissions);
  • Prevent 1.07 million metric tons of carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to removing 852,000 cars from the road for a year;
  • Prevent 118,000 metric tons of water pollutant emissions;
  • Reduce the amount of toxic materials used by 1,070 metric tons, equivalent to the weight of 534,000 bricks, including enough mercury to fill 157,000 household fever thermometers; and
  • Avoid the disposal of 41,100 metric tons of hazardous waste, equivalent to the weight of 20.5 million bricks. [1]

[edit] All about biodegradable computers

iameco, the world's first biodegradable computer, has been produced by MicroPro, a company based in Dublin, Ireland, which produces eco-friendly computers, keyboards, mice and flat-panel monitors.

The journey to the first biodegradable computer began for this company of 17 engineers headed by Paul Maher 15 years ago with the objective of ending the era of computers of short lifecycle and disposable nature. What irked Meher most was the common use hazardous materials such as brominated flame-retardants, PVCs and heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury.

iameco computers have cut this waste out, and have built beautiful, high-specification computers without any of the toxins that have traditionally been used in computer manufacture. The computers are also powerful enough for everything from 3D gaming and design, to simple email and word processing.

[edit] Computers to grow trees

One of the amazing features of this new eco computer is that implanted within the wood panels,are seeds from native-tree species, so that when the components are buried in a landfill the wood breaks down and new trees begin to grow.

[edit] Other biodegradable materials for computers

  • Biodegradable plastics used in computer manufacture, though expensive compared to traditional plastics, decompose in a few months whereas traditional plastic takes decades. While traditional plastics are manufactured from numerous non-renewable resources like natural gas, coal, and oil, biodegradable plastics are made with plant-based materials and result in 15% less carbon emission.
  • Starch, which is a natural polymer, can be processed into a ‘bioplastic’. When the starch is harvested from corn, potatoes or wheat, a microorganism transforms it into lactic acid. It is then chemically treated to cause the molecules of lactic acid to link up into long chains or polymers, which bond together to form a plastic called polylactide (PLA).

Companies such as Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories Limited use biodegradable plant based material as a substitute of polystyrene for the manufacture of embossed carrier tape used for packing large-scale integrated circuit chips (LSIs) when shipping them on reels. Biodegradable plant-based embossed carrier tape acts as protection against electrostatic discharge, durability. It is eco-friendly and it does not produce toxic emissions when incinerated.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • The iameco uses recycled wood panels (waste products from the local pulp and lumber industry) for its CPU casing, keyboard, mouse and monitor panels. It is supposed to use one-third the energy that most similarly-featured computers require.
  • Iamco computers are built modular. That means all components, including the motherboard can be changed or upgraded. So rather than buying a new computer you can add to it bit by bit.

[edit] References:

  • World's first eco-computer produced in Ireland
  • Green Computer
  • Green Computer with Biodegradable Peripherals

[edit] Source

  1. New Report Shows Environmental Benefits from Green Computers