Up at Small Dog today getting a battery for the little apple laptop and ran into their recycling day. Monitors, printers, telephones, a jumbled mountain of electronics out in the parking lot. I’ll bet most of it – well, maybe not the gutted cpu boxes – still worked.
I was amazed. Being a bit of a junk hound, I had to stop myself from starting to pick through it.
Over and over, I look with awe and disbelief at the huge amounts of material things this culture of ours cycles through. This stuff was all new not so long ago. Desired, worked for, cutting edge … it was going to make a life better, make someone happy, impress someone maybe … It was going to be just the thing, just what we needed.
And here it all is, no respect, (where did the love go?) out on the pavement, enough to fill a 50′ tractor trailer. I know that there is more where that came from. In your closet, maybe?
In a spllled heap these beauties look slightly tawdy, a theater with the lights coming up, the fair midway the morning after. Almost don’t want to look too closely, like we don’t really want to take in that person asking us for spare change. We might see a person underneath the grime. Here, we might just see the fact that this old junk looks a lot like the stuff we just loaded ito the car at the mall today.
We buy it, off it goes to the landfill. Here is some information on why that is not a particularly good idea from from the Small Dog site It is nice to see yet another small vermont company doing the right thing because, well … it is the right thing to do.
E-waste, electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, printers and related peripherals, is both an environmental problem and a health hazard. Electronics contain substantial amounts of hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and hexavalent chromium, discussed in detail below. When electronics are not properly disposed of or recycled, the toxins can potentially seep into the ground and affect our groundwater and the air we breathe.
Some discarded electronics end up in landfills in the U.S., but many are shipped to third world countries where children and other workers sort through the discarded electronics searching for parts they are paid several cents for. They often do this work without gloves, masks or goggles, suffering exposure to the harmful chemicals, glass, and other sharp objects.