Tuesday, June 28, 2011
My students got me really interested in recycling electronic devices this year. I love my ipod, cellphone, Macbook, iMac, digital cameras, Promethean Board, projector, Wii Fit, home theater--all that jazz--to distraction. I just love new gadgets. David Pogue is on my blogroll--I've got it that bad. I spent a good amount of time last summer setting up our in-home wireless network so that I could avoid a cable bill by going all-Netflix-and-Hulu-all-the time. It isn't easy for me address any issues arising from my conspicuous consumption of electronics. But it turns out to be ridiculously difficult to recycle a PC tower or a gaming system or even a GPS responsibly. In May, we watched a PBS special called Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground, which is about the ways in which the current economics of recycling dictates that third-world nations take in our useless electronics and allow their poorest citizens to poison themsleves and their environments with our waste. It was an eye-opening and frustrating film to watch.
We supplemented our understanding by watching Annie Leonard's excellent piece, "The Story of Stuff." She points out that we used to produce less waste and purchase products less frequently, so I have been trying to think of ways to reduce, reuse, repair, repurpose, and recycle as many products as I can, especially electronic products. Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be interviewing people on their best repurposing efforts of late. Stay tuned!