Historically, many aspects of printed circuit board (PCB) production have contributed heavily towards electrical waste and emissions. For some businesses, these were prices they were willing to pay for cheap PCBs produced in large quantities.

However, as the industry makes the much-needed shift towards sustainability and seeks greener manufacturing practices, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are realising the additional benefits. Not only does the environment benefit from green practices, but there are many advantages for businesses too.

In this article, we’re going to dive into how green PCB manufacturing has a range of benefits, not just from a moral and environmental perspective, but also from a quality and financial perspective as well.


OEMs are businesses that make products or product components and parts, for other companies to sell under their own brand name. For example, a business may produce computers that a big name brand sells to consumers with their logo on it – and the consumer may never realise which company actually manufactured it.

Another common example of a product produced by OEMs are PCBs. The world’s biggest producer of PCBs is China, which is responsible for more than half of all PCBs manufactured annually. While these PCBs are often affordable, which makes them appealing to businesses, the environmental impact is huge.

Now, with growing consumer and regulatory pressure to introduce more eco-friendly practices, many businesses are turning to manufacturers closer to home. Not only does this have environmental benefits, but plenty of additional benefits to your business, including greater reliability and lower long-term costs. We’ll explore some of these benefits below.

The cost savings of green PCB manufacturing

There’s no denying the fact that the initial costs associated with buying PCBs from international manufacturers might save you money – initially. But, long-term, you’ll almost certainly have higher overall costs due to performance issues, poor longevity and less reliability. Not only will this mean having to replace products sooner, but products won’t be as efficient – both of which cost you money.

Green PCB manufacturing can save your business money in a number of ways:

  • Increased performance, durability and longevity
  • Reduced energy consumption, including more energy-efficient processes and waste heat reuse
  • Lower materials costs, including greater opportunities for recycling and the use of fewer harmful materials
  • Waste and water reduction savings
  • Transportation costs

Enhancing brand reputation and customer loyalty

Introducing eco-friendly PCB production practices can have an incredibly positive impact on brand reputation and customer loyalty. This is for two major reasons:

  1. Customers are increasingly more aware of the impact manufacturing businesses have on the environment and are likely to choose a partner that aligns with their values. When customers know that your business is doing its part for the environment, you’ll grow your reputation.
  2. When your business produces a better product that performs better and lasts longer, you’re going to establish yourself as a partner your customers can trust. This will also do wonders for your reputation and ensure you have happy and loyal customers who will be more inclined to spend their money with you again in the future.

When you implement green initiatives, you’re not only ensuring you abide by sustainability best practices and the government’s guidelines for businesses. You can also use your eco-friendly processes as a way to market yourself and your products, and build trust among your customers.

Attracting investors and talent

Many individuals and organisations looking to invest are likely to have sustainability as one of their main considerations when looking for businesses to back. Sustainability initiatives can help mitigate risks, such as operational, reputational and regulatory risks. Make yourself attractive to investors by introducing green initiatives.

Similarly, many of the manufacturing industry’s top talent will be keen to work for a business that has eco-friendly practices. Many will seek to be a part of a team that shares their values and beliefs, and green manufacturing practices can establish yourself as a forward-thinking and eco-conscious company.

Compliance and avoiding potential fines

As we learn more about the impact manufacturing has on the environment, stricter and more stringent regulations are likely to be implemented by the government. When this happens, businesses will be forced to comply, or risk hefty fines (as well as significant reputational damage). This could be to reduce emissions, minimise waste, increase recycling, use more sustainable materials or something else – all great practices to follow now, which could become mandatory down the line.

When businesses have no choice but to comply with regulations, the cost to introduce eco-friendly processes is likely to be far greater than they are now, both due to inflation and supply and demand. By proactively adopting sustainable practices, you ensure they’re cost-effective and there’s minimal disruption to day-to-day operations.

Green PCB manufacturing strategies

If your business is looking to take steps toward introducing sustainable PCB manufacturing processes, there are many strategies you can implement. Some do require more time and initial investment than others, but they all contribute towards making your business more eco-friendly. These include:

  • Material optimisation
  • Sourcing from local suppliers
  • Waste reduction
  • Sustainable PCB design
  • Eco-friendly material selection
  • Utilising renewable or cleaner energy
  • Water recycling
  • Waste recycling
  • Lifecycle analysis

Challenges and best practices for adopting green processes

The truth about adopting green processes is that if they were easy and cheap then every manufacturing business out there would already have implemented them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case – at least not in the short term. Long-term, the benefits by far outweigh the costs, but they come with certain challenges:

  • Securing the initial budget for implementation
  • Finding reliable green suppliers
  • Maintaining quality and performance from new practices

While the benefits of sustainable processes are clear, with budgets and profit margins shrinking, it can be difficult to convince those in charge of purse strings to invest money into these areas. But, there are some best practices to make the investment easier to justify:

  • Undertaking a thorough cost-benefit analysis
  • Building collaborative relationships with suppliers
  • Conducting or investing in researching
  • Innovate designs to introduce space- and material-saving techniques
  • Implement strict quality control processes
  • Be open and honest with stakeholders

The future of green PCB manufacturing

As the world becomes more conscious of how we’re treating our planet, expect new regulations to be introduced to PCB manufacturing businesses and the manufacturing industry as a whole.

More and more businesses are dedicating budgets towards eco-friendly practices. In 2023, investment in renewable energy hit record levels, and this record will likely be broken again almost immediately. This ensures new processes and technologies are developed regularly, which become more affordable and accessible even for smaller organisations.

To adapt to evolving regulations, it’s important to be proactive with your business’ green initiatives and PCB manufacturing processes. This includes supply chain transparency and collaborating with other organisations to ensure waste and energy use are kept to a minimum, and processes, designs and transportation are as efficient as they can be.

Dedicate time and resources to innovating. It’s the only way your organisation can remain ahead of the curve as more and more businesses see the benefits of green PCB manufacturing.

Partner with ABL Circuits for energy-efficient PCB production

Here at ABL Circuits, we’re proud to be leading the way when it comes to green manufacturing practices in PCB production. Get a free trial today and enhance your product with ABL Circuits.