With the pandemic came a surge in electronics being bought. Razer became very popular, and they decided to become more sustainable. They outlined a 10 year plan that involves phasing out nonrenewable energy, with eventual carbon neutrality, and creating campaigns that support sustainability. Despite this great environmental initiative, razer’s computer mice are not very environmentally friendly. The materials were very hard to find, they do not mention how much of the mouse is made of recycled materials, and the other materials are not eco friendly.
For the Razer Deathadder mouse, there was not a material’s list for any part of the product. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is used on the mouse feet to allow for smooth motions. Although it is quite useful, PTFE does not break down and will remain in ecosystems for hundreds of years. PTFE is recyclable, but it often isn’t because it is too expensive and specialized. In its regular form at room temperature, PTFE is not toxic, but once it burns it releases very toxic chemicals into the air. The main body of the mouse is mainly plastic. Razer insists they use PCR (post consumer resins) plastic for all categories of their products. However, there was not a percentage listed or a ratio of regular plastic to PCR plastic. Regular plastic production leads to the release of sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, methanol, ethylene oxide, and volatile organic compounds. Nitrous oxides and some VOCs are up to 100x worse when it comes to the greenhouse effect. Additionally, they ruin nearby air quality and leach into nearby ecosystems.
To make the PCR plastic, discarded plastics from residential and commercial recycling programs are ground, washed, dried and pelletised. PCR plastic often comes from single use plastic, which helps extend the material’s lifetime. However, the product is still not biodegradable and there are mixed reviews on whether it can be recycled again. The preparation process for the PCR plastics is still carbon and energy intensive, but it is overall quite eco friendly. However, not every piece of plastic in razer products are PCR plastics, some are manufactured from scratch. The manufacturing process for polymer casting involves mold preparation where the mold is coated with a releasing agent and then preheated. A synthetic resin is mixed with a curing agent that is then injected into the mold, which is then heated up. Once finished, the mold is opened and the curing part is removed. Although there are various ways of manufacturing plastics, there are all quite energy intensive. Some involve chemicals additives that are detrimental to human health as well as the environment. An example would be phthalate which can lead to birth defects in humans as well as animals. What’s even more concerning, is that “90 to 100 percent of the population has measurable levels of these compounds in their bodies” (John Meeker). Razer HQs are located in Irvine, CA and Singapore, but the factories are mainly in China, which tends to have lax environmental regulations. Although I did not find any articles with definitive evidence of child labor linked to razer, razer does not control too much of the manufacturing. They usually have another company do the manufacturing processes and go with whoever has the cheapest options, which is most likely to be child labor.
Razer allows customers to bring back their used products to be recycled and if there isn’t a razer store nearby people can drop off their products at another location called DNA group. Razer emphasizes their incorporation of the recycled products into their new products. However, I did not see any products that mentioned being made up of previously recycled materials. Razer has begun to phase out single use plastics in their offices, and reduce air travel associated with the company. I have not seen too many companies talk about air travel for business purposes, so this is good to see. To address marine plastics, Razer made a clothing line with 100% marine recycled plastic to raise awareness, and pledged to remove 1kg of plastic for every article of clothing sold. This campaign was very successful, as all of the clothing sold out. Razer has outlined a 10 year sustainability plan where they are fully reliant on renewable energy by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2030. When it comes to workplace sustainability, there have been reports of the CEO forcing employees to work 60-100 hours/week before a launch (crunch time). The CEO would also yell and throw objects to showcase his discontent, and employees calling him a dictator in the workplace. Although the CEO said he was “jest[ing]”, the workplace is highly unsustainable. When it comes to racial justice, Razer created a simulation to evoke a sense of introspection in players to better understand the racial and social inequalities. This was around the time many other companies were showing support for BLM, so they were not being revolutionary when it came to racial justice but mainly following the status quo.