Taitronics 2014, one of Taiwan's oldest technology shows, is in full swing. Amid the hustle and bustle of the show floor, business leaders and governments have descended on Taipei to discuss how the electronics industry can contribute to a green and sustainable future.
Experts from both Taiwan and abroad gathered at the "Circular Economy of Electronics" forum, where environmental engineering professor Chang Juu-en's words that "there is no such thing as waste, only misplaced resources," drew a chorus of nods from the crowd.
It is predicted that more than USD$1 billion (£617 billion) per annum will be generated globally by 2025, and 100,000 jobs will be created over the next five years. However, the forum concluded that this will only happen if companies encourage the establishment of circular supply chains to increase the rate of recycling in manufacturing.
The electronics industry is currently failing to minimise its environmental impact, the speakers claimed. Every year consumers rush out to buy the new and updated products that have been brought to market, sending their old devices to landfill.
Meanwhile, manufacturers mine raw minerals, such as oil and metals, to create the next big release. Since an estimated 80 per cent of an electronics product's environmental impact stems from its design phase, the forum argued that the resource consumption associated with creating a new electronics device outweighs any gains gleaned from a more efficient design.
So what to do? The speakers suggested that consumers and companies should opt to repair or rent existing electronics, rather than buying new devices outright. They argued this would cut wastes and save costs, but do you agree? Let us know in the comment section below.
In the meantime, head over to our liveblog of Taitronics 2014 to keep up to date with all the action from the show floor.