Making Electronic Devices Sustainable
Rapid growth in the consumer electronics market creates significant sustainability challenges for manufacturers of products that range from laptops and tablets to televisions and mobile phones. For Alcoa, this spike in global demand presents an opportunity to help customers meet product performance and sustainable design requirements through the use of aluminum.
Consumer electronics represents a fast-growing market for aluminum. According to an Alcoa market study conducted in 2013, aluminum content is now expected to increase by 2% in LCD televisions and 25% in tablets between 2013 and 2015. Laptops are projected to see an 8% decline due to tablets being used in their place. Overall, we expect aluminum consumption in consumer electronics to increase 10% during this three-year period.
Aluminum offers many performance and design advantages for consumer electronics, including:
- Recyclability: Aluminum device casings and other components can be recycled infinitely, especially important in light of consumer electronics being the fastest growing waste stream in the world.
- Durability: Components made of aluminum last longer without breaking, cracking or deteriorating.
- Improved heat conduction: Aluminum conducts heat more effectively than other competing materials, reducing power usage.
- Light weight: Aluminum makes products thinner and lighter, reducing emissions from transporting the finished product.
- Production efficiencies: Aluminum reduces the number of parts required and shortens assembly time, resulting in lower production costs.
- Aesthetics: Viewed as a high-end material by consumers, aluminum is available in a wide range of surface finishes.
Our EcoWise™ aluminum alloy offers a cost-effective way for manufacturers to minimize the net environmental impact of handheld and mobile electronic devices. The alloy reduces a product’s carbon footprint while meeting or exceeding the mechanical, surface, and performance properties of traditional alloys.
To help address end-of-life challenges associated with consumer electronics, we are a minority investor in Electronic Recyclers International, the largest U.S. recycler of electronics waste. Through this partnership, we are bringing our expertise in recycling to the growing challenge of e-waste. (View a video on the partnership.)
Consumer Electronics Market
Product Design and Life Cycle