Sustainable Development of Electronic Industry
Leidy Marcela Garcia Cardona – Student ID 3341491 2786 words
Manufacturing industry is a major source of employment, and contributes considerably to the material and non-material wellbeing of many countries through that employment and through its products. The electronic industry represents a little part of this big sector andits measurement of sustainable development is complex. The sector‟s impact on the environment is diffuse, being influence by the product composition, choice of raw materials and energy, the production process, packaging and distribution, waste disposal and recycling. One of the major problems is the generation of large quantities of solid waste including hazardous and toxic materials. This paperwill discuss the main barrier to sustainable development of electronic industry and the application of the six steps for implementing a sustainable development process with some given examples by literature. Electronic industry faces several issues affecting somehow a proper sustainable development. Waste generation is an example of these problems. Indeed, according to Clegg & Williams (1994), in1992, Americans generated over 180 million tons of municipal solid waste consigning 73% to landfill, 14% to incineration, and only recycling 13%. The number of landfills available has declined from 18,500 in 1979, to 6,500 in 1988. Similar problems exist in other countries. The problem of municipal solid waste should, however, be seen in the context of 12 billion tons of industrial waste, including700 million tons of hazardous waste, produced in the USA in 1988. Electronic products represent a landfill problem not only because of their physical volume but as a result of the hazardous nature of some of their contents. It is estimated that 1 to 1.5 million tons of used electronic products are being dumped annually in Germany and that there are 1 billion such products currently in use in thecountry. A typical television set comprises over 1500 electronic components and over 200 mechanical components with a wide range of materials, including some „secret‟ ingredients. Similar variety exists in personal computers although Hewlett Packard has, over a 5-year period, progressively reduced the number of components from 1650 to 390 with a concurrent mass reduction of 29 to 15 lbs (Clegg &Williams 1994). The recovery and reuse of materials is part of the sustainable development concept. Reducing the material content of products, extending product life, and recycling support this. Legal factor becomes a necessary tool to assist this process. Companies that faced with legislation perceive it in two ways, as a cost benefit or as a cost burden. There are many companies who see apotential cost benefit such as Hewlett Packard, Digital Equipment Corporation and Rank Xerox. The three computer manufacturers have all established take-back activity and are gaining economical as well as experiential benefits. As such companies gain experience, the balance of recycling improves (Clegg & Williams 1994). For those companies whose product does not lend itself to remanufacture, effectivereclamation may be ideally achieved by a reduction in the amount of material initially used. Digital see "de-materialisation", or source reduction, as a
significant future strategy in both today's products and those containing new technologies. The desire to reduce the material content of products may be compromised by the objective to use recycled material. The Philips organization, forexample, has estimated that it uses some 13,000 different chemicals in research, development and manufacturing. Reduction and elimination of hazardous materials from manufacturing is a specific goal of Philips which has a list of 30 to 35 materials to be eliminated based on existing and anticipated legislation internationally (Philips Annual Report 2009) Step 1 Present a guiding vision, goals and...