30 March 2008

Recycling Electronics

National Public Radio
's Morning Edition program recently had an article about recycling consumer electronics (MP3 players, DVD players, TVs, etc.). You can read and hear this article here. There are also links to other articles about recycling at the bottom of that page.

A general recycling article from Morning Edition can be found here.

It is not easy to recycle or properly dispose of broken or unneeded consumer electronics, especially in smaller urban or rural areas, but it is worth the time and effort, if you want to keep mercury, various metals, and non-decomposing plastics out of your water, land, and air.

Check with your local grocery store or office supply store. Some store chains are actively recycling used printer ink cartridges, cell phones, and plastic bags. Consider donating old cell phones to women's shelters or other community organizations.

Check with an electronics repair store to see if your player can be repaired for at or near the cost of buying a new one. Sometimes you can get the old one fixed and use it for a few more years, saving money and resources.

I see so much waste of reusable items, lack of recycling or proper disposal of consumer goods, overpackaging of consumer goods, and more and more "use and toss" cleaning products that I have come to call western culture, the "throwaway society."

When it's actually a matter of health, and not just a marketing scheme, I understand and can support single-use items. Even though media players have dropped so dramatically in price that it's actually cheaper to buy a new player than fix an old one, I still can't easily and willingly throw it away.

Cheap electronics can help close the "technology gap," which is good, but I'm saddened by the lack of quality in a desire for higher sales.