Monday, April 26, 2010

Have you Heard of the Floppy?

The Problem

I had to think back to remember what a floppy disk was too! Sony recently announced that they would be ceasing their production of floppy drives in their Japanese factory. Believe it or not, floppy's were invented in the mid 1970's which is only 35 years ago! They have already become completely obsolete and now bordering on extinct! Other things like the CD player, CD's, and Walkmans (just to name a few) are quickly following in the floppy's footsteps

This raises concern about our lives and the ever increasing need to be sustainable. Western society has been completely transformed by this technology rage and with that comes the speed at which it changes. A cell phone that arrives today, being cutting edge and amazing, will be relatively obsolete almost guaranteed within a year. The original iPhone for example cannot do half the things that the newest 3Gs version can do.

The Reason

Behind these electronics such as high tech storage devices, gaming machines, and cell phones comes the power that is driving them, their manufacturers. So many of the things we buy rely on services provided by their providers, again coming back to the iPhone. All Apple has to do to get people flocking towards their newest product is to restrict the older versions from enjoying what the newer ones can accomplish.

On a different tack, I remember when a 512 megabyte flash drive was over $100! You may only have to think back about two years to remember that, but now 2 gigabyte drives are sold in bins for $15 or less. The demand for space to store unneeded junk on your computer has grown exponentially. All of this begs the question: do we need to throw all this 'old' technology away? The majority of obsolete tech is now sitting in your local landfill, not given to someone who would cherish it! Because manufacturers want to make an extra buck, they move new tech at an extremely fast rate leading more and more to an unsustainable future.

The Solution

How can you be more sustainable in your life? There are many local recycling depots that will take used computers, printers, and an assortment of electronics for free (there is one in Vancouver called Free Geek). They can disassemble them, sell the metal and recycle the plastic. Why are you throwing out your perfectly working MP3 player or Walkman when there are people that could use it? Basically, take all the old electronics that you will never use again sitting on your shelf (I know that there are some) and donate them to an organization. It makes a big difference for those who receive these electronics, for relatively little work on your end!

(Image courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for getting all of us to think more aobut the issue of recycling old computers and electronics. Your readers should be aware that not all recycling depots ethically recycle electronic equipment. Free Geek does and is volunteer run. For what it's like to volunteer at Free Geek take a look at my blog posting on the experiences Allen and I have been having.