Where does it come from, where is it going?

Lifecycle analysis is a complex, art.  Figuring out where all the bits of my Samsung Omnia came from, down to the metal ores is a lot of guesswork.  Even figuring out what components are in there is mostly stabbing in the dark.  At least I know there isn’t any staballoy!  (or I sure hope there isn’t)

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The chart above tracks the energy and a number of the raw materials, and the top national sources for those materials.  This is not an exhaustive list, and I have no idea where Samsung would be sourcing materials from on the world markets.

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This second chart describes the effects of materials extraction and processing.  The pollutants listed on the right are the major issues in the categories of pollution formed as a result of the acquisition and processing.  The resource extraction, gathering, and processing phases are enormously destructive, likely more damaging than disposal—for every kilogram of metal extracted, potentially hundreds of kilos of ore may have to be processed- not exactly the most efficient process.

As a result of all of this, I really hope that the overall impact of the smartphone as convergence device delivers utility in excess of environmental impact. 

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