A MacBook: From Cradle to Cradle

What is it made of? How does it degrade? How can we reuse?

What is it Made of?

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A MacBook is composed of many smaller components. To truly understand what it is made of, we need to break it down into its parts and then assay each of those components individually.


Computer processors are made of metal and sand. These are put through various manufacturing processes that create a processor.


The body of a MacBook is made of aluminum that requires a large amount of heat to be molded into the distinctive shape that it will eventually take.


The LED display of a MacBook consists of a large number of liquid crystals, a light, and gorilla glass. The gorilla glass is made of sand that is put through an intense manufacturing process. The liquid crystals are a type of metal that has certain properties. The type of liquid crystal varies by MacBook. The light is made up of glass that is made of sand and filaments that are made of metal.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is made of either glass or aluminium. The glass is usually made of sand. The Hard Drive will also require steel for the reader and a fair bit of plastic for the coating of wires and connectors inside.


RAM requires basically the exact same materials required by hard drives.

Wireless Cards and Graphic Cards

These will be made of metals for the circuits and antennas inside. For the outer shell, silicon will be used and this is made of sand. Some plastic will also be used for connectors.


This is the circuit that holds everything together. This will be made of silicon, metal and plastic in certain places.


These batteries, more specifically lithium ion batteries, are made of carbon, metal oxide, and a fair bit of lithium.

Charging Cable

This will be made of plastic and copper.


The packaging usually consists of a fair bit of paper and plastics. There will also be metal in the form of staple holding it together.

So, what are the overall raw materials and where do they come from?

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A MacBook will also require paper, not because it is needed to run, but because we believe that it is efficient to package them in it. This paper is usually from rainforests or forests around the world that are chopped down daily.

how are they used and how long do people use them and what impact do they have on the environment?

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MacBooks are usually used daily for homework, work, or just browsing the internet. They will usually last a long time and are known to last for at least 8 years. The packaging is usually rid of quickly. The packaging is usually disposed of in a trash can; however, it is known that cardboard is recyclable. Most of the parts of the MacBook on the other hand, are not very reusable. All of the inner parts of it are not reusable. The aluminum is reusable though. The plastics and other parts are usually fairly toxic to the environment. They tend to pollute water sources. Especially the battery fluid. The silicon does break down fairly quickly though. The only part of the MacBook that lasts particularly long is the plastic.

How can they be Sent Cradle to Cradle?

Good computers are usually refurbished and resold. Unusable parts are separated into categories, plastics, cables, motherboards, metal and sold off to recyclers. The processors can be heated to separate the metal and the sand to be reused. The displays can have their liquid crystals removed and reused. The filaments of the light can be repaired and reused. All of the plastics can be melted and reused. Same goes for the aluminum. The battery fluid can be extracted, re perfected, and reused. The metal can all be melted and reused. Anything that can't be sold, reused or recycled is incinerated to generate energy. This method of reusing computers has had great results and has usually reused 85% of computers. This way, damage to the environment can be controlled and resources and habitat can be preserved to maintain greater biodiversity.