Material Use and Reuse

Design for disassembly and longevity may some day allow computers to be easily upgradable and refurbishable (Hendrickson et al. 1994). Some components of discarded computers are re-usable and contribute to the positive value of discarded computer equipment.

Chips and fans may live a second life in next-generation equipment, or in a product of less value (such as chips in home appliances or modern toys). It is anticipated that in the future cutting-edge electronics equipment may be leased to demanding companies, and be passed on to other customers after becoming obsolete and having gone through some refurbishing (Damian 1991).

Computer companies are switching to single-polymer and steel cases in their designs. Along with 'snap-fits', no glues, no paints, no composites and only a few fasteners, an environmentally conscious selection of materials facilitates less material use, easier disassembly and recycling.

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