Earth Day Hangover: All That E-Waste
Earth Day was four days ago, so you can tell how important it was for me to talk about it. I appreciate the sentiment behind Earth Day, but I find most events either at the very least, tacky, or at the most, obscene. I think of all the fliers, plastic junk, and ridiculous products that are pitched, and I wince. Like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, every day should somehow be Earth Day. But if there are more kids who get inspired by an Earth Day event, then perhaps there is some long term good. Last week I wrote on Triple Pundit about the scams involved in e-waste drives. Far too many people pitch their computers, cell phones, and other electronic equipment at drop off points, thinking they are doing a great deed. Unfortunately, many of the people behind these drives are charlatans, who end up shipping your retired goods to countries like India and China, where the equipment is disassembled or even worse, pulverized in horrendous conditions. In my view, much of the blame lies with the manufacturers. When I was a child, if the family TV or stereo conked out, a repairman was called to patch up the device. Now we are accustomed to just buying something new, because the cost of fixing the device often exceeds the cost to replace it. The result? Junk everywhere: in our landfills, on our sidewalks (in LA), and most disturbingly, in our oceans. If your computer becomes obsolete, try to pass it off to someone who can use it—perhaps a younger family member or friend who just needs something for typing a document or surfing the web. But if that computer just has zero life remaining, then take it to a reputable recycling service. e-Stewards has the most responsible standards for repurposing that old gadget of yours. Companies like Redemtech, based in Columbus, Ohio, apply rigorous processes in breaking down old electronics. It’s time to stop treating Asia, Africa, and India as our global garbage cans. Take a moment to sort out what you can do with those old appliances and gizmos of yours.