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Electronic Waste: How Do We Stop It?

Hi everyone, super early with the posting since I’m traveling for work until right before class next week. Here’s my podcast/slideshow on the problem of electronic waste. Also, SlideShare has been giving me some problems, so please let me know if you can’t access this (there are slides and sound). Enjoy!

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  1. mushon 10:09, Mar 26th, 10

    Very interesting. Like many recycling challenges it is really hard to get consumers to care about waste, as we have built systems to just get it out of our way and forget about it. It is hard to build incentives to reconfigure our relationship to waste in general and e-waste specifically (especially when the new device quickly occupies our valuable attention).

    I would love to learn how (/whether) environmental activists and organizations are developing approaches beyond education to create incentives like that and indeed disrupt our relationship to waste.

    Some product designers are trying to consider the full lifecycle of their designs, but I can understand how electronic companies are less interested in marketing their products as “good to trash”.

    Well crafted narrated slideshow. I think the format is working well for you and the content was well edited and narrated.
    Still, I think you can get better about the choice of what to put in the slide. With every slide, try to ask yourself what is the information you need to display visually, especially when the content of your words is extensive. It is hard (for the audience) to both read and listen, and when the text in the slide matches the one you’re reading our mind tries to match the voice to the visual rather than focus on the content. Try to think what is the main points you want us to keep in mind, like one sentence or just a few words, or an image, even with no text. Try breaking to several slides or building them bullet by bullet to not overwhelm us visually and make sure your are leading our eyes just as much you are leading our ears. Keep it up!

  2. ElzbthMllr 15:09, Mar 26th, 10

    Thanks for the comments. I’m used to giving vocal presentations way more than visual ones so these tips help.

  3. HoniehLayla 10:15, Mar 30th, 10

    E –

    I was unaware that there are 400 million unit thrown out each year!

    Is there a relation between current types of cancers and this type of waste?

    As far as the EPA is concerned – is there a correct process to dispose of this type of waste – I will definitely check out computertakeback.com?

    The Images in China were fascinating and yet so sad. What are the guidelines for dismantling these products??

    Sorry for so many question – I find your topic very interesting – Definitely can’t wait to discuss in class.

    Great job – I found your presentation to flow well and I enjoyed listening to it while I was working.

  4. Ryan 10:55, Mar 30th, 10

    Great images of the China problem. Honieh had all the good questions, so I’ll try to think of something else. I think Mushon is also right that you could get “richer with the pictures and slides as you narrate it. If you don’t understand, then let me know and I’ll show you. Why isn’t this getting the type of coverage here in the US? It obviously a health hazard in other countries, but what’s the coverage there? Could this be just as important as global warming or other environmental issues. I still have my old computer I think, unless my mother donated it to salvation army. I don’t think she threw it out. I’ll ask her what she did with her computers. Wonderful presentation. I look forward to next week. You have great journalism skills too.

  5. ElzbthMllr 11:26, Mar 30th, 10

    Thanks Ryan and Honieh for the comments. I’ll work some of those answers into next week’s podcast for sure. Ryan, I think that the whole issue of sustainable consumption and production in the US is a huge factor in global climate change, electronic waste is just one of several issues (water, paper, etc) that contribute to this problem.

  6. Alexandra 11:57, Mar 30th, 10

    Man, the China photos you showed were pretty terrifying. Where did you learn about this? I do always try to recycle my electronics when possible, mostly because my best friend works at the Lower East Side Ecology Center and she is always nagging me to recycle. You can check out their site here: http://www.lesecologycenter.org/ They also do a ton of outreach within the city on electronic waste and have local drop off points for people where they can dispose of things safely. I think Whole Foods will also take your old cell phones, although I’m not sure about other electronics.

    I think one important way to get people to change their behaviour, aside from outreach efforts by nonprofits and retailers, is to have some they know and trust – like me and my best friend – tell them they should change. I find that in the city people are typically pretty aware of this sort of thing, even with the “I’m not a plastic bag” campaign, and now I always bring my own bags to the grocery store if I can. My parents, who live in the suburbs and drive their car to the grocery store, take all the plastic bags thrust at them. So in general I think it’s a combination of reaching some people who are more aware of the importance of recycling and then getting them to influence their friends and family, whether it’s plastic bags or electronics or anything else.

  7. ElzbthMllr 12:02, Mar 30th, 10

    You’re definitely right about the person to person influence. Speaking of plastic bags several places have instituted a tax (I was in DC this weekend and the restaurant charge me 5c for a plastic bag to put my leftovers in) and the city of San Fran has outlawed plastic bags all together. New York State also has something called The Bigger Better Bottle Bill, which taxes plastic bottles. It’s all very interesting and related to the issues of sustainable consumption, but couldn’t fit it into my travalogue.

    I learned about this issue because my foundation has two program areas, the environment and human rights. I’m a Program Associate for the HR area and I hardly ever get chance to explore the environmental issues we support so this seemed like a perfect opportunity. 60 Minutes did a segment on the China problem, it’s interesting it was very dangerous for them to film, they were kicked out several times, it’s clear the people who run that place do not want the outside world to know about it. Very sad.