Did you know that in 2019, global electronic waste generation reached a record high of 53.6 million metric tons?
This figure represented an increase of 21% in just five years with approximately 7.3 kilograms of e-waste – coming from electronic products like smartphones, earphones, laptops, tablets, chargers, and the like – per capita.
Apart from the mountains of physical waste that electronics companies and consumers produce, what’s particularly troublesome is the toxicity of these discarded materials. On top of contaminating the environment and poisoning precious flora and fauna, electronic waste’s toxic components such as mercury, lead, cadmium, barium, and lithium could be very dangerous to human health,. The negative health effects of e-waste toxins on humans include potential damage to the brain, heart, liver, kidney, skin, and even skeletal system.
This is the very reason why I felt extremely delighted when I learned that a new London-based tech company called “Nothing” has dedicated itself to creating gadgets that have Sustainability as a key selling point and top value proposition.
To quote Nothing, “Waste Nothing. We can’t ignore the effect consumer tech has on the planet. Every Nothing product will be made with intention. We’re working towards circularity initiatives, starting with recycled materials and bio-based plastics. There’s so much to be done, but it starts here.“
On August 17, 2021, Nothing officially launched their first product, Nothing Ear 1, in 45 countries around the world, including UK, USA, and Canda. Nothing Ear 1 wireless earbuds feature powerful 11.6mm speaker driver, Sound by Teenage Engineering, Active Noise Cancellation, and up to 34 hours of music playback. But for me, the best thing about this product is that it’s Carbon Neutral. According to Nothing, “To neutralise [Ear 1’s] 1.78kg carbon footprint, we adopted renewable energy certificates for the manufacturing process, then purchased additional carbon credits from Verified Carbon Standard to offset the remaining emissions.” Nothing Ear 1 will soon be available in the Philippines via Digital Walker.
So what’s next for Nothing?
Well, on July 12, 2022, the company is set to formally introduce its second product, the much-awaited Nothing Phone 1.
So far, we have only seen leaked images of the handset, which show its transparent case, Dual Rear Camera Module, and wireless charging coil. Light strips at the back have also been shown in videos. As for the specs, Nothing has previously hinted that Phone 1 will be powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor and will come with 45W Fast Charging as well as Android-12-based Nothing OS user interface.
Like the Ear 1, Phone 1 is expected to also be made from consciously-chosen sustainable materials. Nothing describes Phone 1 as “Designed with intention. Full of warmth. And joy.”
A lot to look forward to, right? For tech-enthusiasts like me who are starting to open our eyes to the impact of our electronics consumption on the planet, Nothing’s products certainly bring hope.
And with that, here’s to hoping that Nothing Phone 1 could indeed herald a new era of Sustainability for the Technology Industry. I wish that more companies would follow Nothing’s lead, especially giant ones like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi.
I really believe that it’s possible for humanity to be technologically advanced and to be environmentally friendly at the same time — but we all have to work together to make it happen. It is only by living sustainably today that we can ensure a bright future for our children and all other creatures that will live on this planet.