Being in manufacturing for a long time, we’ve always had great concern about workers’ safety in the manufacturing of a product, but little visibility or regulation on what happens to the product and people that interact with it after the original consumer is done using it.
What I’m learning from my initial research is that we’re only seeing the first part of the overall supply chain. What happens to products post-consumer can be horrifying. We’ve seen the pictures of kids in China reverse soldering PCBAs, and of course landfills filled with old products. My hope with this piece is to build awareness of the entire supply chain and encourage our community to think about what happens to the product post-consumer in the design phase.
I’ve started to think about hardware products in terms of four base components:
For each one of these categories, I’m interested in: How long does it stick around? And what is required to recycle it?
Here are some stats, from best to worst:
What can we do?
These tips are a good place to start, especially for companies that are committed to sustainability. There’s a real challenge here, but as participants in this industry, it is our responsibility to make sure we are doing what we can to minimize our impact on the environment.
What are your thoughts on this topic? We’d love to hear from you and what else you'd like to learn about sustainability in manufacturing. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org