(E)-Waste Not, Want Not: A Consumer’s Perspective

Note: This was posted to the original version of the SEI blog by SEI staff member, Amy Cade.

The content of this blog now has a designer’s view of e-waste, a recycler perspective, a recent engineering graduate’s thoughts, and the perspective of a current college student about e-waste and electronics sustainability. But what about the everyday consumer? Without the consumer’s contribution or consideration of e-waste, nothing could be accomplished.

This article is one consumer’s take on electronic waste. The author’s name is Casey Brazeal; he is a long time blogger (northandclark) but a first time e-waste commenter. Casey offers a unique consumer perspective from an environmentally conscience standpoint.

It may not always be easy to do but I try to see the value in all electronics: a broken air conditioner, a dead cell phone, an 8-track tape player…

They have all been manufactured and so they have all gone through many steps to get to where they are today and definitely not without some cost to the environment. Is the presence of that guilt in knowing that I contributed to this problem enough to have me care about the best solutions? Why is it so hard to appreciate yesterday’s electronics? This is what I have come up with: the pace of innovation makes so much of what we have seem worthless so fast. The CD player that was my greatest treasure seven years ago is now growing dusty in the corner of my room; taking up space, cluttering my room.

Nontheless, even with the apparent state of uselessness, I still cannot forget the value of these electronics. In the making of any electronic product miles were traveled, metal was shaped, and great rocks were dug out of the ground. All this was done to make these things that now sit seemingly indefinitely in my attic. If we do not think about how we dispose of these valuable yet outdated electronic materials they will end up causing even more damage. It is our responsibility to consider how we can put old electronics to good use through responsible disposal, repair, or donation.

I try to remember that if my electronic waste goes to someone who can recycle the parts here in the U.S. I am helping provide Americans with jobs. If I repair my old equipment I am preventing the environmental impact associated with creating new electronics. If I donate my used electronics to someone who will use it, I am helping the less fortunate in my own community.

We have to take care of our junk.

One Reply to “(E)-Waste Not, Want Not: A Consumer’s Perspective”

  1. Great little read! I just want to share that last time I had to get rid of my old electronic devices I used http://www.recycleapc.com I did some research about them and It looks like they had all their certificates up to date. They also are an official Apple and Asus recyclers so it was an easy choice. They are highly trusted and have been in this business for decades. 30$ is a small price to pay to know that my carbon footprint will be smaller and my information will be safe.

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