Tech Topic Series: Eco-Design for Circular Electronics Economy, Webinar #3

Series partners


iNEMI’s Eco-Design for Circular Electronics Economy is a series of three interactive webinars featuring experts from leading organizations that are doing innovative/beyond-compliance eco-design work. The series will be an avenue for eco-design leaders to showcase their thought processes, strategies, successes and failures. The goal is to capture the best and most innovative practices being used today and to highlight the processes these leaders follow to determine where to focus their eco-design efforts. All webinars will be recorded for broader distribution and exposure. Download an introduction to the series.

Webinar #3
July 27, 2021


  • Klaus Grobe, Senior Director, Global Sustainability for ADVA Optical Networking
  • Katie Morgenroth, Industrial Design Lead and Manager, and Adi Narayanan, Head of Materials Science and Engineering, both with Google 
  • Download the presentation

Presentation Synopsis

ADVA Optical Networking​
Klaus Grobe talked about circular economy challenges for telecommunications infrastructure equipment. The industry is seeing exponential growth in ICT (information and computer technology) traffic — including bandwidth and WDM (wavelength-domain multiplexing) — plus power consumption of all core-network equipment classes is increasing. Global ICT power consumption is forecasted to grow massively, potentially making the Internet the biggest energy-consuming machine. WEEE (waste electronic and electrical equipment) generation and raw-material depletion are also growing problems.

Network ICT equipment faces several challenges in achieving circularity:
  • Core-network ICT equipment does not have a substantial second life
  • PSS (product-service systems) regarded most efficient are challenging for ICT
  • Parts reuse in old ICT WEEE is strictly limited
Despite these challenges, ICT is the key enabler to decarbonize our lifestyle and can enable decarbonization in other sectors. ICT has very strong climate-change mitigation and adaptation enabling potential.

Katie and Adi talked about how Google is making a positive impact through the application of materials, processes, and sustainable design thinking across its portfolio of products. They described the steps Google is taking to reduce waste, design for longevity and develop circular materials and gave examples of the company’s efforts to close the growing plastics circularity gap. They also outlined the company’s “safe chemistry” efforts to eliminate hazardous chemicals, develop safer materials and processes, and design for biocompatibility.

Google’s journey to sustainable hardware includes:
  • Eliminate plastic from packaging and make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025
  • 50% recycled or renewable plastic content by weight across portfolio by 2025
  • Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill certification for all final assembly manufacturing sites by 2022

Series Follow-Up
In addition to the initial three sessions, a summary video will be developed at the end of the series that captures the best practices and unique lessons from each of the speakers.  

Future sessions beyond the initial three may also be scheduled as we find more speakers and get feedback from attendees and iNEMI members to guide us.