Lenovo's sustainable laptops are just the tip of the tech future at MWC

A closeup of the ThinkPad logo on a Lenovo laptop.
(Image credit: Shutterstock, Lenovo)

Lenovo’s impressive showcase at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2023) includes its sustainability efforts in the manufacturing process, resulting in laptops that use far fewer new materials and are, therefore, far less wasteful to produce. These laptops use recycled materials like ocean plastics in laptop parts, recycled cardboard in its packaging (which has also been reduced), using biofuel to ship out products, and the use of renewable energy in its factories.

The ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2, which was revealed during MWC 2023, is one such product. Its optional cover is made with flax plant fibers that have been bonded on the top cover, and the top cover itself is produced with 75% recycled aluminum. There’s also the upcoming ThinkPad X1 Fold Gen 2, with the exterior fabric finish and magnetic kickstand, both made using reclaimed ocean plastics.

And while Lenovo’s progress toward its goal of integrating “post-consumer recycled content into 100% of PC products by 2025” is quite impressive, other laptop and tech manufacturers have been working toward similar goals over the past several years. 

Dell Concept Luna

(Image credit: Dell)

The tech industry’s sustainable initiatives

Acer, for one, created the ‘Earthion’ platform, which is dedicated to the company’s sustainability and environmental efforts. It was also one of the first manufacturers to lead the charge on using recycled materials in its laptop chassis, namely with the Acer Aspire Vero lineup of laptops. The chassis in this line is composed of 30% PCR (post-consumer recycled material) plastic, which cut down on production CO2 emissions by 21%. Acer also used 50% PCR plastic for the keyboard and 100% recyclable packaging.

Then there’s Dell’s Concept Luna, an experimental project that tackles the ever-growing issue of e-waste, especially when it comes to the planned obsolescence that drives the laptop market. Essentially, Concept Luna allows consumers to take apart laptops in a similar way you would a desktop PC, which means that you can simply replace individual parts rather than tossing away the whole laptop and buying a new one, reducing e-waste.

HP’s various laptops have also been on the sustainable cause, like the HP Victus 15 gaming laptop that uses plenty of recyclable material like post-consumer recycled and ocean-bound plastic, water-based paint, and wholly recycled packaging. The HP Elite Dragonfly G2 may have been one of the most sustainable laptops released as 80% of its mechanical parts were made from recycled materials, and even the finish and accents incorporated waste such as ocean-bound plastics.

Carbon Neutral

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Dmitry Demidovich)

The future of sustainability and MWC

There are many more examples of companies investing in sustainable, green-friendly manufacturing and shipping processes. However, until recently, most of these announcements had been relegated to smaller, company-only events and hands-on. 

But now these practices are drawing a wider audience than ever, including at the MWC 2023 where Lenovo showcased its latest products. This could be the tip of the iceberg too, with sustainability being treated nearly as important as specs during major global conferences. The reveal at MWC was a huge step in the right direction.

And the planet is counting on it, as the environmental impact of all these products — using up valuable resources, being tossed out after a few years of use, all the while churning out toxic waste throughout their entire life cycle — is astronomical. The damaging effects of the ‘digital carbon footprint,' one could say, must not only be addressed but significantly curbed and soon.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.