Compostable Electronics

September 9, 2015 | 00:40
Hmm... tastes a bit like chicken
Hmm... tastes a bit like chicken
The mountains of waste electronic materials we generate every year are shocking and unsustainable. Germany alone generates two million tons of electronic scrap per annum. It’s a small start but researchers at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) have been developing printed electronics made of compostable natural materials.

They have been experimenting with semiconductors made of plant extracts and insulators made of gelatin, which are easily biodegradable materials.

According to Dr. Gerardo Hernandez-Sosa, leader of the Biolight Young Investigator Group at KIT “These may not be as long-lived as the inorganic alternatives, but they easily survive the service life of disposable electronics and after use, the electronics can simply be thrown away into the biowaste bin or on compost heaps, where they will rot like a banana skin”.

The researchers anticipate that we will be seeing the first biodegradeable electronic products on the shelves in the next three years. Its a step in the right direction but what we really need of course are edible electronics, that’s sure to shorten the composting cycle big time, who knows, one day a Smart phone might count as one of your five-a-day.
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