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Electronic Waste: A Conclusion

Here’s my concluding podcast on E-Waste. Enjoy!

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  1. mushon 16:29, Apr 12th, 10

    Great summary.
    I hope this travelogue would help inform the way we act on this subject in the future, either as consumers, producers, or civic actors. It is well structured too. I felt the length was precise and the pace was engaging.

    I am really interested in how environment awarness is promoted through new ideological and aesthetic efforts both from the government (the celebration of the potential for “green jobs”) and from the entertainment industry (countless mainstream films from Wall-E to Avatar). Greenwashing is a good sign in the sense that it means green is a desirable quality. At the same time it is also a problem when the depth of this highly scientific issue is still not very accessible to most people who would just like the warm fuzzy feeling of “consuming green” rather than a more involved environmental responsibility.

    It seems to me like curbside electronic recycling is a low hanging fruit for governments, it is something we are already conditioned to do. It can also start on a state level.

    Last note on use of media. It seems like you’ve crossed from too much text to too little. You have a series of slides there that are more decorating than illustrating your ideas. Sometimes it’s ok to put text on a page, especially as a way of emphasizing that point. In that sense your third slide strikes that balance perfectly.

    Overall again, good job. I’ve learned a lot.

  2. HoniehLayla 19:38, Apr 12th, 10


    You are right that we need federal legislation to get this going and definitely should not rely on private companies.

    I feel that a national program would help consumers more than recycling based by a company specific rules.

    E-waste can DEFINITELY create a new potential industry and more important JOBS. I wonder if Nadine has any input as to what is being done in Switzerland? Is this a huge money making industry?

    If it was a money making industry – maybe the federal government would find more motive to take interest in it.

    I’m curious as to how “Toxic” e-waste is? Is it worse than our typical air/water pollution we already have? How much is this waste contributing to this problem?

    I enjoyed your presentation and I’m glad you shed some light on a problem that most of us don’t really think about – although we are a society of people who LOVE gadgets.

    It definitely made me think twice about how to dispose products of this category.

  3. Jimena 22:14, Apr 12th, 10

    I really enjoyed your post! It was clear and useful.
    I definitely think that the “business” edge to the issue is a force that will trigger more ideas and action about e-waste–when there’s money involved, people get creative and proactive.

    You mentioned the importance of us consumers demanding greener electronics, by being aware enough to reward manufacturers with our business or punish them by ceasing to consume from those who don’t actively participate in the process. I think that besides giving manufacturers a sort of green report card, Federal government could motivate the consuming of greener electronics with fiscal incentives– lower taxes, or tax return, even, by buying greener electronics or recycling large appliances–a similar logic than the bottle industry, where you get back a deposit, but with ammounts that are proportionate to the appliances. This could engage the countries where the e-waste is exported, too…

  4. Alexandra 11:57, Apr 13th, 10

    Great job. I think you should send this to the White House and try to get some attention for this issue. You clearly outlined the steps needed to take action on this issue before it’s too late. In terms of consumers demanding greener electronics… I’m not sure that is going to happen any time soon, unfortunately. I think car manufacturers are having some trouble selling hybrids even though they are marginally better for the environment, they cost more and are therefore unappealing. I think consumers need to care enough to demand greener products first, and then they have to be competitively priced against the “regular” products to encourage people to purchase them. Penalties, as you mentioned, are also important – otherwise no one will bother to follow the correct procedures. We are so used to throwing things out and forgetting about them that it is probably quite difficult to change people’s behavior.

  5. nadine 12:21, Apr 13th, 10

    I have this very old television at home, and was looking for responsible recyclers in NY. Where are they??!! It is really difficult 1) find a place to recycle, 2) responsible. I will probably end up at BestBuy, but would my trash would then go to India?The Electronic Take Back Coalition indicates only two companies in NY state. How is that possible? Even with good will, this tasks becomes incredibly difficult. It is fundamental that recycling stations must me in every neighborhood. Recycling should not be a out-of-the-ordinary civic action, but a normal consumer behavior. There is a far way to go in the U.S.

  6. Ryan 15:10, Apr 13th, 10

    So when I want to throw out my macbook or recycle it I know who to come to and ask where. I like Jimena’s idea of giving incentives to motivate recycling or donating your old computers and other electronics. It reminds me of the “Cash for Clunkers” federal program. I think that greener products will come out in the future, but we will still need to effectively manage e-waste on all levels from a federal to an individual cohesive effort. Everyone has a responsibility from the manufacturer, the government, the corporations, and the individual consumer. Again, everyone needs to play their part.

    I thought your posts were great. Scholarly informative, engaging, and clear. I thought your plans were interesting with regards to enforcing these issues. Who do you think should be responsible for enforcement and how seriously do you think people will take these issues if they don’t see that it directly affects them (apart from the conscious people that care about the environment)???

    Overall, another great travelogue with nice use of media. Do you write out what you say before you say it? I would think you do or do you just talk about it?

  7. niharika 01:15, Apr 25th, 10

    Update from India –


    Looks like we have a new global trash can you guys!

    Oh & did you notice the new Best Buy campaign about e-waste? They’re offering to recycle & take in any e-waste, whether it was bought at their store or elsewhere … lets see how successful they are in the long run !

  8. ElzbthMllr 10:30, Apr 25th, 10

    Niharika, I just saw the ad for the first time yesterday! I am going to go to their website to learn more about it!

  9. ElzbthMllr 10:32, Apr 25th, 10

    Oh and Ryan, yes for this travalogue I did write out what I was going to say in advance and then I read it. I was afraid I’d ramble on too long if I didn’t :)

    As far as enforcing, I think that’s the role of local governments (with a national mandate). There are several incentives that could be done, such as tax credits, fines for not participating in the program etc. I really think public education is key here also.

  10. richa makwana 12:48, May 1st, 10

    you have done a great job. u seem to be a creative and thinkful person. ur idea is fantastic. superup i will surely visit ur site. excellent keep it up!!!!!!!!! a nation will always needs a person like u.

  11. nadine 10:29, Jun 10th, 10

    Hi Elizabeth! I came across this website and thought of you: http://www.recyclebank.com/
    Interesting approach! What do you think? Though, I think the ultimate goal should be to promote more responsible consumer habits (and not giving mere incentives to spend more…)