Most items, be they foods or cosmetics, now clearly claim their vegan heritage on their labeling. With each individual ingredient spelled out, we can trust that we are being informed about our consumption.
But what about electronics, and in particular our personal computers? Are our laptops vegan? If not, how far are they from it?
Are Laptops Vegan?
The number of animal products in laptops will generally be very small. Whether you consider laptops to be vegan is ultimately as much about definitions and ethics as veganism is itself. Most laptops will contain some animal products.
For practical purposes, many people may continue to consider laptops vegan. However, others who strictly adhere to a zero-tolerance for any animal by-products will argue that laptops aren’t vegan.
Are There Animal Products in Laptops?
Laptops likely contain some traces of animal products. Your computer’s screen, battery, metal hardware, and any plastics all possibly contain animal products. The difficulty is not so much in knowing whether there are any but rather how much and where they have been used in the manufacturing process.
Computer accessories such as cases and screen cases may also feature animal by-products. However, vegan leather is already an option in some cases.
What Animal Products Are in My Laptop?
Glues used in the manufacture of computers often contain gelatin which is derived from animals. Most gelatin comes from cows or pigs with their feet, hooves, skin, bones, and hides, rendered to form the substance.
Gelatin processing plants are often located near slaughterhouses to utilize the remains of animals that have already been killed for their meat. The liquid crystals in many LCD screens may have cholesterol taken from animals in them.
The metal used in laptop hardware can also have gelatin in it to improve its structure. Additionally, some plastics, rubbers, paints, and other chemicals may also contain non-vegan products.
How Can I Tell Whether my Laptop is Vegan?
One of the issues with deciding whether your laptop is vegan or not is finding someone who can answer with authority. Unlike many other products on the market today, your laptop will not come with a list of ingredients printed on the box.
It’s not required by law for manufacturers to disclose if they use any animal products unless they make a food item. Customer service representatives working for laptop manufacturers are also not likely to access that kind of information.
So far, some tech companies have stood by the assertion that they cannot produce their products with the involvement of some animal products.
So, it’s safer to assume that all laptops on the market will have some animal by-products used in their manufacturing.
Perhaps in the future, tech companies will provide more transparent disclosure on their products. Already, brands are very keen to highlight when vegan leather has been used over animal hides, so it may only be a matter of time before we begin to be offered options for the insides of our computers also.
Are Secondhand Laptops ‘More’ Vegan than New ones?
This is largely an ethical argument, although, for many vegans, it’s a worthy one to be having.
While any secondhand laptop you purchase will likely have non-vegan products, by purchasing a used item, you are acting consciously for the planet by reducing waste and not contributing to the further harvesting of new animal products for laptops.
Veganism and environmental consciousness usually go hand in hand. A vegan diet is often argued to be better for the planet. By buying a secondhand laptop, you’re being more environmentally responsible, saving an item from a potential landfill, and limiting your contribution to excessive consumerism and the use of more animal by-products.
The discussion around vegans and technology use is widely debated both within and without the vegan community.
Could We Make a Vegan Laptop?
Humans are remarkably capable of adapting products in response to customer demand. For example, there was once a lot of animal testing in the cosmetics industry. As protest grew, so did the number of companies willing to ban animal testing and find alternative vegan-friendly ingredients for their products.
The same may become true of technology. If there is enough pressure on tech companies to adapt to vegan-friendly processes and products, then tech-veganism could well become the future.
Other ethical issues involved in the manufacture of laptops include the potential use of child labor for the mining of certain materials. This is another key area where socially-responsible and ethically minded vegans may have an issue with the practices of technology companies.
Once again, it will largely be consumer pressure that will force the manufacturers to innovate away from such practices. They can make a laptop that is more vegan, more environmentally friendly, and more ethical. Whether they do so could rely on us.
Already these companies are launching more vegan-friendly laptop options, so perhaps vegan-happy tech is on the rise.
Are Laptops Vegetarian?
This one definitely comes down to definitions. If we define a vegetarian as someone who abstains from eating meat and fish, then yes, laptops can be said to be vegetarian.
If your vegetarianism extends to having a moral, religious, or health objection to animal by-products as well as their meats, then laptops are probably not included in your list of vegetarian products.
Ultimately, any conclusion as to whether or not laptops are vegan is probably less important than your personal stance on their usage. For many of us, the very small amounts of animal by-products found in laptops will not dissuade us from owning and using one.
After all, existing in today’s world without a computer is no easy task. However, you make your own rules. If strict adherence to a no-animal product regime is your brand of veganism in all aspects of your life, then perhaps a life free from computers is for you.