My husband is going through his closet and finding all sorts of treasures - 5" floppies, wires, strange boxes, software for DOS, Windows 98, speakers, etc. The 5" floppies are way outdated, but what about those perfectly good 3" ones, like the one in the box? It was only about 4 years ago I was handing in homework for a computer class on a floppy. Now we only have one computer in the house that will take a 3" disk. We've been keeping that computer "just in case."
I have a lot of pictures stored on CD's (from before the time of Flickr) and I'm afraid CD drives may soon also be a thing of the past, now that we have thumb drives. CD and DVD technology has also changed rapidly.
Of course there's the grand switch to HD TV that is really causing a pile-up of old TVs and related equipment as well.
Not in the landfillBut we don't want them in landfills. They contain a lot of nasty toxic materials, including PVC wire coverings (burning causes carcinogenic dioxins to form,) brominated fire retardent, lead, cadmium and mercury, as well as other materials that are worth a lot of money in quantity, including copper wire and gold in switches.
We have found a company that will pick it up for us when we've gathered everything. Normally they only pick up from businesses, so we're lucky we live close by.
Our town toxic waste depot does not accept electronics, and Goodwill doesn't either. Those are the places residents normally would turn to get rid of these things.
I suggested to the company who will pick up our wastes that they leave a container at the town waste area for residents to place E-waste. They guy was actually receptive, so I hope it soon will be easier for the rest of us to dispose of all this stuff we've saved, not because we really thought we'd use it again (well, not entirely!) but because we didn't know what else to do with it. Or the thought that some deserving school or non-profit or African village might want our old computer.
We may be using less paper (now that we're - i.e. "some people," certainly not us!... - not even reading paper newspapers or books) but it looks like all this e-waste is going to be even worse. Companies must design recycling into their products, and be willing to take them back.
What happens to recycled E-Waste?I found this video about what happens to some e-waste from CBS 60 Minutes, Nov 6, 2009. It looks like we can't even trust recyclers who are purportedly recycling "clean" in the US. I wonder what will happen to our stuff. Maybe we should keep it a little longer?
Here's where you can look to recycle e-waste
- What to Do About E-Waste from NRDC
- California Integrated Waste Management Board where you can search for locations in California.
- E-Cycling: EPA site
- Electronic Waste - Wikipedia
- Zero Waste from the Sierra Club
And some articles about e-waste:
- Momentum builds for 'revolution' to recycle electronic waste from Christian Science Monitor
- Don't recycle 'e-waste' with haste, activists warn