“There’s a lot of stuff in the iPad: aluminum and glass, of course, but also other heavy metals and toxic chemicals. And manufacturing each 1.44-pound iPad results in over 285 times its own weight in greenhouse gas emissions,” Elizabeth Chamberlain writes for Motherboard. “The manufacturing of and material used in the iPad are two reasons why the iPad must be made in China — and not just in the ways you’d expect.”
“Yes, labor is dirt cheap in China… And yes, environmental regulations in China are pretty minimal (though improving),” Chamberlain writes. “But there’s another important reason why Apple and other manufacturers have their heels stuck in Chinese mud. iPad manufacturing, like the manufacturing of other electronics, requires a significant amount of rare earth elements, the 17 difficult-to-mine elements used in all kinds of green technology.”
Chamberlain writes, “Why is all this rare earth consumption a problem? China currently controls 95- to 97-percent of the world’s supply of rare earths and has repeatedly cut export quotas, sending already – high prices skyrocketing… Facing growing concern about the possibility of a rare earth shortage, President Obama recently lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization against China about their rare earth policy. Some specialists think the complaint may be ‘too little, too late’ — by the time China changes its policy, more manufacturers will have moved plants to China… Today, an American electronics company can only be exempt from China’s rare earth export quotas by manufacturing within China.”
Read more in the full article, including why recycling rare earth elements is not currently a viable option, here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Thelonious Mac” for the heads up.]