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.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.