Are Gadgets Using Up Some Elements?

Illustration for article titled Are Gadgets Using Up Some Elements?

Gadgets are using up the earth's elements. Like, the basic elements that make up all chemical matter according Armin Reller, a materials chemist at Germany's University of Augsburg.


Gallium is apparently critical for making LCDs. We'll be out of it in a few years. Hafnium (part of Intel's breakthrough with Penryn) will be gone by 2017 says Dr. Reller. We're also blowing through our supplies of zinc and copper, even though we have a shitload of it. Obviously, it would seriously cramp our gadget style, since copper is in like, everything. Oh yeah, and an element going extinct might not be good for the environment. [Asimovs via Valleywag]


Damn greenies bringing us down with their reality-based talk. Give 'em a new iPhone 3G and tell 'em to shut up.

So does this mean you can not be a gadget lover and an environmentalist? If I have to choose between Treehugger or Gizmodo, I am in trouble.

Seriously, though — I am starting to believe a bit more in market forces on issues like this. As materials become rare, the price goes up dramatically which makes it very difficult for companies to use in gadgets, so they start using other materials. Ultimately, we might use a dramatic amount of the world's raw materials (which, admittedly, is not good), but given the laws of supply and demand, it is highly unlikely we can afford to use it all.