Ethical electronics production and components

Hi I’ve built some DIY things before and I’m currently researching how I can make some new instruments that are mindful of the components they’re created from. Has anyone got any insights on how best to source and create the guts of machines that are least harmful to the planet? I understand it’s a tough topic as the raw materials have their own ethics issues and labour implications. Just curious if anyone is also exploring this?


I am curious to know this as well and am skeptical that there is a clean way, but maybe at least ways of trying. Following!

The least environmentally damaging would be to source your parts from old electronics that are about to be scrapped / recycled / thrown into landfill.
This would be logistically difficult and you’d have to test each component individually before using, but reuse of anything, in general, is the most ecologically sound way.


If you haven’t, take a look at North Coast’s ‘Green Modular’ blog posts…

Part 1: Energy, carbon, and power supply regulators
Part 2: the big three metals of RoHS
Part 3: More metal
Part 4: Wood, and toxic waste
Part 5: Behind the scenes

Also posts on DIY flux, etc.


Yeah I thought this might be the case. I was pondering perhaps recycling old smart phones where possible. I only plan on doing small batches of instruments, but I agree having to completely re think salvaged parts each time would be a nightmare. If I can repurpose ‘old’ things that could be good.

oh wow, this looks like a good read, thanks!

The big issue for me is the packaging. The last time I bought from Mouser, I felt terrible about the plastic packaging and vowed to find another way. I do try to recycle components whenever I can but it isn’t always practical.


posting to follow this thread - fascinating issue. I’ve had a lot of luck finding things like wire, enclosures, and other hardware by browsing thrift stores but know nothing of the production of resistors or ICs