How Much Environmental Responsbility Should Mobile Phone Manufacturers Have?

Friday, December 17th, 2010 at 10:08 am

The question of how much responsibility mobile phone manufacturers should have in helping consumers become more environmentally aware and energy efficient has been raised by Forum for the Future.

James Taplin, their principal sustainability advisor says that rather than just reducing the carbon impact of producing mobile phones, customers should be encouraged to think of being greener in other ways: “How do the devices help them to video conference better, or reduce the genuine need for other devices, so there are more devices in one package?  There is a genuine case that if, for example, you have a sat nav built into your phone, you’re unlikely to go out and buy a separate sat nav. So having it in your phone could potentially replace the need for a totally different device.”

A timely example of mobile phone manufacturers trying to reduce their carbon impact comes as LG announced that by 2012 it will no longer use magnesium in its mobile phones.  When mobile phones are recycled at the end of their life cycle, materials such as magnesium are often released into the environment.  LG will instead use eco-magnesium which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by four kilograms for each phone made.  The production of Eco-magnesium eliminates virtually all the sulphur hexafluoride that normally occurs when magnesium is produced.

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