E-waste, what a pain in the ass. I would say that I get asked questions about proper disposal of old electronics more frequently than anything else. It seems like everyone always wants to give me their old junk (I love getting floppy disks though). Philly’s collection program is sparse and involves having to wake up early on a Saturday…not many will want to do that, or want to take their junk anywhere. The only way to make it work here would be to have a curbside pickup for old electronics paired up with one of the more reputable recyclers here, such as E-Force Compliance or Elemental. I can see the mess left behind on the street from that one. But it would still work better than having households slowly sneak their stuff out through the trash and into the landfills.
I was reading about Moore’s Law recently, which states that the newest stuff is destined to be obsolete right away…especially with computers. The ugly reality. It goes hand in hand with the ugly reality that the majority of our electronics are being shipped overseas to be smashed apart by little kids dancing with carcinogens. How much money can you get for burning the insulation off of a mountain of wires for strands of copper? A dollar? How much are those tiny lead solder blobs worth? It must be fun to torch huge piles of circuit boards, though. Can you really blame them for hustling? Of course not, It’s not their fault.
I am the last person that wants to point blame, as I think it goes nowhere. However, a rather apparent solution seems to exist here. Hey manufacturers, take on the disposal/recycling costs. Create a no-brainer program to ensure that your electronics can be recycled properly at any of the thousands of legit e-waste recyclers. If you complain it’s not cost effective, greenwash your new product as being made from all recycled components and mark it up a bunch more.