As I mentioned in a previous entry, I am concerned about my filmmaking’s impact on the environment. I’ve been thinking about electronics and garbage recently because my old 1996 TV has finally decided to give up on life, and I need to figure out what to do with it. Of course, in a way I am happy because after years of shooting HD I am finally thinking about buying a TV capable of showing those images properly. Only thinking of buying mind you, as there is no way I can afford such a luxury right now.
That said, I try not to replace computers or electronics too often also because I know I don’t want it to end up in a landfill. I actually still have the powerbook 150 my dad bought me in 1996 sitting in a closet. This same vintage JVC tv on the other hand needs to be disposed of some way, and as opposed to just throwing it on the sidewalk, I am determined to find out where I can bring it so it doesn’t end up trashed and polluting our waterways with more lead and mercury among other things. What I found was this place: PCRecycle.
The business recycles computers mainly I gather, but other e-waste like printers, scanners, monitors, and of course, televisions. The best thing is they don’t end up shipping it out to third world countries, which often gets boatloads of this kind of junk – and children end up tearing it up and selling what they can find that is valuable. Needless to say, those kids (and adults) are exposed to terrible toxins, and the parts that aren’t easily sellable are just chucked in a pile. A very, very large toxic pile, as I have seen in Bangladesh and heard of in many other poor countries.
Even local first world businesses can be guilty of saying they are recycling, but actually burning plastics and other materials to get to the valuable metals (gold, copper, etc) and letting many unhealthy gasses into the environment. I suppose, I like everything, do your research and don’t be so cheap you won’t pay a few buck to properly dispose of an object.
So please, if you are throwing something away that has electronic components, think about bringing it to a place like this in your community. With all of our gadgets becoming obsolete so quickly nowadays, it is a growing problem, and one we can easily deal with sooner rather than later. It’d be nice if things lasted longer (although I can hardly complain about my 1996 tv) but that is another topic for another day.