Carnegie Mellon University
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Product disposal and re-use for portable computer design

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journal contribution
posted on 1994-01-01, 00:00 authored by Chris Hendrickson, Carnegie Mellon University.Engineering Design Research Center.
Abstract: "Portable computers including laptops, notebooks, sub- notebooks and portable digital assistants are a rapidly growing segment of the computer market. Manufacturers of portable computers have an opportunity to win public praise and to avoid censure and liability by embracing green design and sensible product disposal systems. This paper analyzes the environmental issues associated with disposal, re-use and recycling of these machines, focusing on potential design changes to alleviate environmental burdens. Portable computers can replace larger machines, resulting in lower energy use and lower overall material demand. Since the number of portable computers purchased may be as many as 100 million over the next decade, environmental concerns become increasingly important. Portable computers use batteries with toxic components, so there are disposal or recycling problems. Another significant issue in assessment of disposal and recycling processes is the expected life time of portable computers. Machine design with capability for easy upgrade can be expected to have a longer useful life. The paper uses experience gained in several generations of wearable computer designs at Carnegie Mellon University for illustration."


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