New report explores the safe materials aspect of green technology

Lots of the green technology coverage out there right now is focused on the carbon emissions impact of various gadgets, equipment and data centers. But a new report illustrates the advances that seven electronics companies have made when it comes to eliminating hazardous materials from their products.

Lots of the green technology coverage out there right now is focused on the carbon emissions impact of various gadgets, equipment and data centers. But a new report illustrates the advances that seven electronics companies have made when it comes to eliminating hazardous materials from their products.

The report, "Greening Consumer Electronics: Moving Away from Bromine and Chlorine," centers on the toxicity of these chemicals when they are released into the atmosphere, such as when electronic waste is burned or smelted during the disposal process.

Since the capacity to handle all the e-waste that our society is creating is still lacking, some companies have moved to reduce or eliminate the materials. There are seven featured in the report:

  • Apple, which has eliminated a vast majority of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs) from its entire product line
  • Sony Ericsson, which is undertaking a detailed inventory of all its products. They are now 99.9 percent BFR-free (sounds like an Ivory soap commercial) and all PVC components should be eliminated by the end of 2009
  • Seagate, which has designed new disk drives that eliminate both substances
  • DSM Engineering, which has engineered and manufactured PVC-free and BFR-free components
  • Nan Ya and Indium, both of which have created bromine-free and chlorine-free components for printed circuit boards
  • Silicon Storage Technology, the first semiconductor manfacturer to supply Apple with bromine-free chips

One final word: The report was produced independently by Clean Production Action and ChemSec (The International Chemical Secretariat), sans funding from "any commercial entities." It can be found on either of these web sites: www.cleanproduction.org or www.chemsec.org.