OPINION: More companies should be aiming to make their tech more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and Acer has take a big step forwards in this endeavour.
CES 2022 has bought us some amazing new announcements; with Samsung bringing in new TV designs that actually fit into your home, and Project Sophia, a modular gaming desk from Razer that has a gaming PC built inside.
However, I noticed that during CES this year, there was a distinct lack of companies focusing on the sustainability and eco-friendliness. Instead, like the years before, aesthetics and upgrades took centre stage.
Don’t get me wrong, CES is definitely the time to be thinking about how products and tech can be improved, such as Intel launching its latest generation of laptop processors, but it felt like all companies could have put more emphasis on how they’re trying to combat the environmental problems that come with making new tech.
That’s where Acer comes in. The Acer Aspire Vero National Geographic laptop is, as the name suggests, a team up between National Geographic and Acer. The aim is to increase the awareness of conscious consumption and sustainability, starting with a more eco-friendly laptop.
The Vero Nat Geo comes in one variation, with the keyboard cap being made from 50% PCR plastic, while the plastic top and bottom cover, screen bezel and operating surface are made from 30% PCR.
For anyone not in the loop on what plastics are good and what plastics are bad, PCR, or post-consumer recycled material, refers to plastics such as PET or PP. These are plastics that have been widely recycled and then repocessed into resin, meaning that the original plastic has been reused and made into something completely new, with a new purpose.
This is the alternative to using virgin plastic, which is resin made from natural gas or crude oil, meaning that it hasn’t been recycled or reused, but made new for whatever it’s needed for.
And since laptops and tech in general relies on plastic to such an extent, it is nice to see a company making active effort to change the way it sources its materials.
And to all the naysayers, I know that this is a complicated process and that it won’t be necessarily an option to use PCR for all the plastics in tech, and that the electronic components also take a huge toll on the environment in and of itself, however, one thing that can be changed is the way tech comes packaged.
The Vero Nat Geo is boxed up using 85% recycled cardboard, with no plastic bags or LDPE foam included in the box. This is a lot more achievable, and actually makes it easier for the consumer to deal with all the waste that comes when you buy a new laptop or monitor.
I would hope that all the companies at CES 2022, and all tech companies in general, can take note of the way the Vero Geo Nat has handled its plastics and packaging and consider implementing more eco-friendly practices into their own products and practices.
And while this likely won’t be quick or easy process, it will definitely be worth it in the long-run, so we can make it to CES 2030 without all drowning in plastic packaging.