What Impact does the Electronics Industry have on the Planet?


In recent years we’ve seen a tremendous change to how we live as humans, and technology has completely transformed our daily lives. Electronics are in everything we use, from toothbrushes to televisions. The world is changing, and as vast parts of the planet are seeking modernization, we’re placing increasing demand on the earth’s natural resources. The tech industry is one industry that requires a large portion of the planet’s natural resources, and mining for materials to sustain this industry is on the up.

Tech minerals or Rare Earth Elements are, by there very nature, difficult to find but tremendously important to the production of the electronic goods we use every day. Tech mineral mining happens all over the world. Materials such as Zinc, Copper, and Cobalt are all crucial to the production of everything from Solar Panels to Remote Controllers. We’ve become so reliant on minerals for the technology industry that there is, in fact, a shortage of tech minerals.

Where are Tech Minerals Found?

Cobalt is one of the minerals used most frequently for the production of lithium batteries, which are commonly found in Smartphones, Power tools, and other electrical devices. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world’s largest producers of Cobalt, and there are mines throughout the country catering to the tech industries growing demands. Tungsten is the metal responsible for allowing phones to vibrate and China is the country responsible for most of its production China is also the world’s foremost consumer of precious metals due to its rapidly expanding economy and growing demand for tech goods.

Circuit Board Improvements for Less Waste

Fortunately, our growing demands on the planet’s finite resources have also encouraged engineers and designers to develop new, smarter technologies that use these resources more efficiently. Printed Circuit boards or PCBs, for short, are part and parcel of almost all electronic products, and they are central to the tech goods that we use every day, such as Laptops, Smartphones, and Watches. HDI circuit boards provide several advantages over and above traditional PCBs, including reduced size, improved thermal efficiency, and better electrical performance. The materials for HDI circuit boards have meant that more complicated electronics can be fitted into smaller components, and because of this have allowed for far more efficient production of the electrical products that we rely on.

Cities are Growing to Accommodate Technology

Emerging technology and our demands on the products and gadgets we require in 2020 is even shaping the cities in which we live. China is currently experiencing an economic boom, and the changes happening there are, to a great extent, a by-product of satisfying our growing demand for technology. A previously agricultural economy, there are more people than ever before living in Chinese mega-cities working in the electronics industry, producing the products we’re routinely relying on. The production of phones, laptops, and even refrigerators are responsible for a complete shift in the way people organize themselves and who knows what other influences technology will have on our lives in the coming years.

In the last 100 years, technology has given rise to dramatic changes to how we live our lives. Not only are we looking further and wider for precious metals, but we’re now utilizing the planet’s mineral wealth in more elaborate ways than ever before. This change has, in turn, prompted a complete shift in how we organize our social structures and large there are now more people living in cities than ever before in human history. Today, over half of the human population are living in cities, and to a large extent, this sea-change is due to the electronics industry and its impact on the planet.