1.8 tons of material needed to build a PC?

— 10:53 AM on March 8, 2004

I not sure, but I'm either amused, perplexed, or horrified by this United Nations University study claiming it takes 1.8 tons of raw material to manufacture a typical computer. The concern, of course, is the environmental impact of the endless upgrade cycle, and the headline is eye-catching, even sobering. Then I read the second paragraph of the news report:

According to the study, the manufacturing of one desktop computer and 17-inch CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor requires at least 240 kilograms of fossil fuels, 22 kilograms of chemicals and 1,500 kilograms of water. In terms of weight, the total amount of materials used is about equal to that of a mid-size car.
So the 1.8 tons figure is composed of 1.5 tons of water. This is like the light beer of environmental concerns. What happens to all that water during manufacturing? Does it cease to exist? Are we using it all up? Hmmm.
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