A BBC article on the toxicity of semiconductor manufacture says that:
… weight for weight, the average computer chip does more harm to the environment than the car. … In order to produce one memory chip that weighs two grams, the total amount of materials and fossil fuels required to make that chip is 1,400 grams. That’s 700 times the weight of the original chip…
I knew semiconductor manufacturing was very toxic, but didn’t know it was this bad. However it would be much harder to account for the amount of resources computers save via:
– digital photography (analog photos also extremely toxic)
– paperless office (hah! in theory*)
– what else?
Also it’s a red herring to only compare manufacture – try comparing the impact of daily use of cars and computers.
* I’m content not to print almost anything, but long ago accepted that many people do — I work with people who print out anything longer than a paragraph so they can “actually read it.”