Television's Effects on the Natural Environment
The consumer product that I will be talking about in this lab is the television. The television is known as one of the most dominant selling products in technology today.
The television was first introduced in 1927 and has become a very popular consumer product. China is known as the main manufacturer since it is home of the top selling TV companies such as Samsung and LG who partner with Chinese manufacturers. The typical product cycle of a television starts with the extraction of the raw materials. The raw materials that are needed for a television include glass, plastic, copper, tin, zinc, gold, and chromium as well as gases. This part of the cycle produces the largest amount of energy. Once the materials are gathered, they are then transported to the manufacturer. During this part of the cycle, the materials are then combined into other secondary materials of which are then assembled into the parts of the television. During the manufacturing step, the plastic used goes through a process known as injection molding this is where the plastic is shaped by injecting heated material into a mold. The heat that is created during manufacturing has a big impact as the smoke from the heat is being released into the air. After manufacturing the televisions are then transported to the original factory where they are then packaged into a box with Styrofoam to help avoid the television from getting damaged. After being packaged they are shipped out to retailers where they are then sold to the consumers. The consumer then goes out and purchases the television which they are then used for entertainment. The television then reaches the last step of the cycle which the disposal. Televisions normally goes through a recycling process. The first step of that process is the tv itself being opened where it is then stripped down of its raw components. The copper, wood, and plastic are removed and sold or even reused to make new products. The circuit goes to a specific type of recyclers who mine gold and other important metals. The other materials like the glass are reduced and often is used to make new TVs.
Burdens & Benefits
From the televisions production to its disposal. Each stage has a big impact on the environment. Starting off with the production of the product. Manufactures use a greenhouse gas called nitrogen trifluoride. This gas is known to be a potent greenhouse gas since it is very effective at trapping heat in the air. This leads to the gas remaining in the atmosphere for almost 550 years (Roosevelt, 2008). Which will not only be led to air pollution but also global warming effecting people as well as animals. During the distribution phase to distribute the product, the product is usually shipped out to factories where they are then picked up by trucks. Like the production phase this leads to gasses being released in the air leading to bad air quality. During disposal, although a lot of the televisions are recycled there are still televisions that end up in landfills. Once they end up in landfills because they have quite a lot of hazardous substances overtime the substances will begin to fall into the soil making it an environmental hazard that ends up lasting for years. Overall, the whole cycle of a television has a big impact on the air quilty which effect both people and animals. When looking at who benefits from this consumer product it would be the companies who are manufacturing the televisions the television has become a household staple everyone has a TV at home making these companies a profit. Consumers do however also benefit from this as they are getting the entrainment they initially wanted when considering buying the televisions.
Opportunities & Obstacles
Well to begin there are multiple steps that can be taken to help make this product environmentally healthy. Starting with the consumers it is important to note that TVs are made to last around 7-8 years and are not meant to be replaced often. So essentially, it is important to not be wasteful. When the consumer chooses to purchase a new television, they can always sell or even just give it away before considering disposal. Something else a consumer can do if the product itself starts having complications is to get it repaired by a professional or even buying it second-hand. Luckily, the television is designed with a lot of material that can be reused multiple times. There are many companies that are trying to be more ethical by reusing as many materials as they can. Unfortunately, there are also companies like Samsung and Sharp where it has been proven to be very wasteful. So, something that these large corporations can do is to promote recycling the consumers so that the material can be reused rather than ending up in landfills.
It should be known that individuals have a big impact when it comes to the environment. People should know how to recycle and dispose of items the right way so that they do not end up in landfills which will affect the environment more than anything. Making sure that you are sending it to a place that is going to reuse the materials. Its key to do research rather than just throwing it anywhere and being wasteful. The manufacturers should take responsibility they are the ones that created the items consumers are just buying. So, to keep it sustainable it should start with the manufacturers.