According to Greenpeace, we are contributing approximately 20 to 50 million tons of e-waste annually, a range that is expected to rise given today’s manufacturing trend of disposable products and consumer electronics with shorter life spans. Enter Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, whose ‘Phonebloks’ vision of creating sustainable cell phones has garnered considerable attention among electronics developers and consumers alike. Hakkens’ concept is not unlike the building blocks we all grew up enjoying as kids, Legos. Instead of discarding your cell phone entirely due to outdated specs (just six months after its original purchase), imagine only having to upgrade particular components, while keeping the frame of your cell phone intact for a longer duration. Although Hakkens’ idea has many critics, Phonebloks is not the only sustainable consumer electronics concept in development. Others include soluble circuits from researchers at the University of Illinois and Tufts University that can dissolve over time when exposed to water, batteries that can be charged via a USB port, and biodegradable keyboards made out of bamboo. Hopefully, and for the sake of our planet’s health, this remains a growing trend.
Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.