Plastic is good for our environment (and computers)

Summary:The computer industry should increase its use of plastics and reconsider its use of some recyclable materials.This is not a contrarian position but a reasonable one, imho.

The computer industry should increase its use of plastics and reconsider its use of some recyclable materials.

This is not a contrarian position but a reasonable one, imho. Consider this:

Plastic is made from oil:

--You can either burn oil and produce copious amounts of carbon dioxide and pollutants.

-- Or you can convert oil into plastic and its carbon stays put for several thousand years. The carbon is bound with chemical bonds that are so strong, it takes many thousands of years to break down and release.

Plastic has other great properties:

--The contents of plastic garbage bags in garbage dumps are partly protected from decomposure. Which means that their carbon content is not released as quickly as in a cultivated compost heap, through methane and other biological actions. The plastic bags protect their contents from those carbon-releasing processes--and that's a good thing.

--plastic based clothing fabrics such as microfiber offer silk, cotton, and leather-like substitutes that are getting better than their organic (and carbon-loose) comparable materials.

--creating plasticized wood and cements is producing superior wear resistant materials that are longer lasting and have superior carbon sequestration properties than their counterparts.

Lets Have A Carbon Sequestration Value

It would make sense that materials of all kinds, in all manufacturing processes, should be rated on their carbon sequestration properties. For example, wood based products would have a lower value (bad) because they give up and recycle their carbon easily through burning or composting.

Plastic based products would have a higher carbon sequestration value than wood, which would be good because the carbon in plastic is tied up for thousands of years. And plastic does not pollute, it is a very inert substance which means it does not dissolve or react with anything in our environment.

Recycling Increases Our Carbon Footprint

Every time we recycle anything, it increases our carbon footprint because of the energy that is needed to process the recycling. With plastics you don't need to recycle, you just bury it.

I can't understand why plastic hasn't become the darling of the green movement.

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Innovation


In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to become a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley. Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leading comput... Full Bio

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