Imagine this: you buy a new computer monitor, take your old one and just bury it in the garden. 3 years later the monitor has biodegraded and your prized tomatoes are growing better than ever. The world's first 100% biodegradable computer components have arrived from MicroPro, a company based in Dublin, Ireland who produces eco-friendly computers, keyboards, mice and flat-panel monitors. The company, established in 1992, has just 17 engineers but has made a big impact with their innovative designs.
The product is named iameco, and is the brainchild of MicroPro's Managing Director, Paul Maher.
Maher's journey to create the world's first truly green computer began 15 years ago when he watched a little girl disassemble a computer with a blowtorch. "She was about five years old and was recycling the lead. She was bare foot and didn't even have a mask on. Her legs were speckled with burn marks. From then on I started working on the green computer," he says. Maher was annoyed at the short lifecycle and disposable nature of computers. Worse yet, manufacturers commonly use hazardous materials such as brominated flame-retardants, PVCs and heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury.
"I have been in the computer business for close to two decades and in that time, I have been aware of the astonishing waste in the PC industry. With iameco computers, we have cut this waste out, and have built beautiful, high-specification computers without any of the toxins that have traditionally been used in computer manufacture. Not only has great care gone into the outside of these machines, we have put just as much effort into ensuring that iameco computers are powerful enough for everything from 3D gaming and design, to simple e-mail and word processing, says Maher.
The designs are ascetically stunning and easily upgradeable. The computers modular design is what makes them different from other computers: our computers are updatable, upgradeable, reusable, recyclable and at the end of the life of them we can replace the main board and start all over again. You can remove individual parts and reuse them or replace them with more modern parts. The life span of these computers is 7-10 years, up to 3 times the lifespan of an average computer. The computers are a third smaller than average computers on the market, requiring less energy to manufacture. They require less energy to run as well: "this runs on low power - 35W in normal mode, whereas other computers use 300W, and 4W in standby mode, says Maher. Many of the keyboards, mice and monitors have a wood based frame and are made from the waste product of the pulp industry in Europe. These materials are 100% biodegradable. Other components are made of wood harvested from sustainable sources: beech from Germany, ash from the USA, and dark wood from East Africa. You can bury them in the ground and they will go back into the soil within 3 years. The use of reusable materials and recyclable packing results in a zero waste product. The product is very close to achieving the European Eco label, a world first.
Under the HoodThese computers aren't just eco-friendly; they look stunning and pack a powerful Intel Core 2 processor under the hood. Most are customizable and will ship internationally. Prices range from â‚¬699 ($914US) -â‚¬1599. Many iameco monitors double as a television; they even have 40inch flat TV/monitor and a 32inch flat HDTV TV/monitor.