Sustainable technology evolves
Is consumer technology compatible with a sustainable economy? This year’s amazing must-have devices mean that last year’s are headed for the scrapheap. It’s an endless churn of resource extraction and disposal.
Andrew Bolwell, chief disrupter at HP & head of HP Tech Ventures, says it doesn’t have to be that way. Throughout tech, companies are exploring ways to reduce their environmental impact through recycling, reuse, and repair, and overall circularity. For its part, HP is exploring advanced materials that will consume fewer resources and generate less long-term waste. This year, it introduced the HP 14-inch Eco Edition laptop, one-quarter of which consists of recycled plastic. “We’re always looking at how we can create a more sustainable future, like using molded fiber-based packaging instead of plastic packaging, and apply that across our supply chain,” he says. One company with a unique solution is California-based Cruz Foam, which uses natural materials to create the only foam packing material that is fully compostable.
Another way technology can aid sustainability is by turning outdated equipment into a valuable resource. Molg, a startup that is using robots and proprietary software to enable circular manufacturing, which optimizes the design and production of hardware so that devices can be recycled and components reused. This approach, says Bolwell, “is great for the environment, great for the industry, and great for people who otherwise couldn't afford brand-new high-performing electronics.”