Most electronics isn’t built to make recycling easy. I would not be suprised that this is prohibitively expensive.
The main reason components are so expensive right now is because raw materials are scarce and the supply chain can’t keep up with the demand. And to make recycling easier would alleviate this fact over the long period of time, counterbalancing the rising of prices.
Plus, making a phone or a pc easier to recycle means making it easier to repair and upgrade too. This would make devices last longer (while creating job opportunities).
I wonder if we can start building electronics in a different way to make them easier to recycle.
We can! There’s an entire research field of “green IT” dedicated to that. However, there is 0 practical industrial application because the industry is focused on performance, not recyclability. Recyclable computers would probably be bigger and heavier, and we may not have 4k ultra-portable devices, but i personally think the tradeoff is worthwhile.
I don’t see how that could be true. There are standard packages, standard dopants, etc. Separating everything has to be easier than trying to pull it out of random ore.
Especially once you assign a cost to extracting/processing the ore (e.g. cost to human lives and environmental damage)
Good point, but unfortunately recycling materials is really hard processes. Most IT materials cannot be recycled (at least with current techniques), and to extract the “recyclable” materials requires considerable amounts of harmful/polluting chemicals. For example, extracting gold from electronics is a common practice in electronic landfills, but the process isn’t eco-friendly.
I’m not saying extracting new resources is better for the environment, far from it. I’m just saying the situation is real bad currently.
Subscribe to see more stories about technology on your homepage