Free Geek, a Canada and USA ethical salvaging centre, where I learned some very key ideas involving recycling. Contrary to popular belief, recycling centres are not always sustainable, efficient, ethical, or environmentally friendly. A large portion of them do not recycle everything that is within the product such as certain chemicals or heavy metals. Many organizations simply ship e-waste to other countries such as Africa or China where some is salvaged for money and the rest is dumped. This presents a huge problem especially with the increase in e-waste within the past 10 years. Estimates of around 40-50 million tonnes of e-waste is dumped around the world yearly; that number steadily increasing with the increased perception of obsolete electronics. Not only are these recycling organizations not recycling efficiently or sustainably, there are just not very many of them at all!
Facts and Definitions
Planned Obsolesce: A marketing strategy used to create new software in order to make the old electronics running it obsolete.
Vista Layer: The millions of tonnes of electronics dumped due to Microsoft creating Vista, an inefficient operating system designed to get the consumer to update their computer. (Planned Obsolesce)
Canada has signed an international treaty called the Basel Convention which is used to prevent the export of e-waste to other countries (recycle within the same country). Canada has not enforced this treaty due to lack of funding so e-waste is still shipped across borders.
The average lifespan of a computer in 1999 was 6 years, now it is 2 years.