Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Laptop Monitor

While I was away last week, I dropped my trusty Ibook off to the mac store as the monitor had been having some problems. I put a letter in with it explaining what i was up to re;garbage, and asked if they would send me that parts they were going to have to discard. The good news is my mac is back and I have a new monitor (gotta love Applecare) but unfortunately I cam up snake eyes on the parts part.

As anyone who read last months National Geographic article on e-waste knows, we've got a huge problem with all these high tech gizmos that we use that as we speak are already obsolescent simply by the fat that we have already bought them and they are working on the next version that we will all "need". "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 30 to 40 million PCs will be ready for "end-of-life management" in each of the next few years." It's shocking and the article is worth the read.

So i was talking this over with my Dad the other day and he brought up the point that supposedly by 2009, all tv signals will go digital requiring everyone who has a "normal" television to either learn to read (heaven forbid) or pony up some bucks and buy a new digital set. Seeing as there will be no use for the old sets int his country, I can only assume that most will end up in third world countries where kids will melt them down in order to get money for the metals they contain. And what is this all going to be for? So that we can see the acne on teeny bopper actors faces more clearly? I don't mean to rant, but doesn't this strike everyone as a bit nuts? I mean I can see having digital and those who want it getting it, but requiring everyone? Don't we own the airwaves? And wasn't the big thing about cable that we were paying for it so there would be no commercials?

....wait a minute, I was on waste...oh yeah, sorry about that.

Anyway, I was thinking about this and it seems to me that if these companies are going to make these things with planned obsolescence in mind, shouldn't they have to deal with them down the road as well? I mean I was always told "you make your bed you lay in it" right? So here's my thought. Why not add on a $50 charge to each set sold and it can be redeemed at any store that sells that brand when you turn it in. Then it would be up to the companies to deal with these things in a responsible manner. I know I'm naive and there are huge holes in the theory, but if they are going to make them, shouldn't they have to see them through to a proper end?

On a lighter note, my friend Matt who has never owned a TV is all incensed because now he's going to be forced to NOT buy a digital TV which seems like a lot more work than not buying a normal one.

My two cents.

Live Sustainably


1 comment:

R Fiske_Maine said...

Hey Dave;
For those who haven't read it, check out 'From Cradle to Cradle, Remaking the way we make things' , by Michael Braungart and William McDonough. It outlines a philosophy which among other things, proposes an industrial model that creates a waste-stream of 'Technological Nutrients', sort of a compost-pile of old hardware which is not set out to mix with the Natural/Bio Waste-streams, with which it does not fit and is anti-productive.

It's a really interesting set of proposals and ideas, and even the book itself is made from a custom polymer that is designed to be fully recyclable, as opposed to the countless plastics that we use that are only 'Downcycleable', as McDonough puts it, making the life-cycle of too many of our plastics limited to maybe two or three uses before it enters the landfills..

Bob Fiske