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Making PCs Greener
Anil Arora
Friday, August 1, 2008
Much has been said about the health and environmental hazards associated with e-waste, and recycling of the same that needs to be done in a very environment friendly manner. The changing lifestyle of people and constant technology upgradation have resulted in short lifespan of computers and laptops, leading to generation of large quantities of e-waste. As Wikipedia describes it, electronic waste or ‘e-waste’ is a waste type consisting of any broken or unwanted electrical or electronic appliance.

Globally, laws have been framed for proper management of e-waste. But shockingly, about 90 percent of the big corporate houses do not have any policies related to the dumping or recycling of their obsolete IT products here in India. The scientists and researchers are coming up with the idea that the manufacturers should take care of these issues right from the initial stage. They should avoid using harmful material in their devices and take responsibility for their products till the end of their lifecycle. Almost all the European countries have adopted RoHS environment-friendly (lead-free) directive. It stands for ‘the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances’ in electrical and electronic equipments. RoHS restricts the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl in computers and laptops. Application of the standards in India is increasingly becoming more necessary, considering the amount of e-waste that gets generated.

PCs typically constitute thousands of components that are mostly sourced from different vendors across the world, while a few are manufactured in-house. Most of the firms that have manufacturing plants in India assemble the components at these units. Now the companies are focusing on RoHS compliant vendors, which will help in reducing e-waste. The RoHS directive does lead to additional costs for the companies, as it requires upgradation of the manufacturing process and use of alternative materials. However, collectively, the computer manufacturing companies have made an effort to opt for eco-friendly PCs and laptops without any implication on performance, reliability, quality, and cost for the end consumer.

The Indian government is also toying with a legislation on the lines of the RoHS, but the awareness level is poor amongst the consumers as well as the manufacturers. However, quite a few desktop and laptop manufacturing companies in India are now paying attention to the issue of increasing e-waste and are launching eco-friendly range of products as part of their responsibility towards cleaner environment. It makes a lot of sense for Indian companies to invest in manufacturing green products since they have to meet certain standards, including the RoHS, in geographies other than India as well. However, there is a need for accreditation and standardization from the government to monitor the system so that India does not become an e–waste dumping yard for the Western countries.

As a consumer, it is indeed your moral right to check whether the brand is RoHS compliant or not when you are going to buy a PC – be it a desktop or a notebook. All the LG PCs are 100 percent RoHS compliant. We, at LG, ensure that all quality standards are met with and our technological benchmarks have a balanced mix of quality, aesthetics, and innovation.

The author is the Business Group Head, PCs, GSM, and DAV, LGEIL
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