Writing & Research
The way that society moves nowadays is based on the development of technology. We communicate, we learn, we transport and we entertain ourselves mainly based on electronic devices. As we develop as a society, technologic has to develop, too. Hence, every time we want to renew our electronics, we first have to disposal the ones we had before. The problem about ‘renewing’ our televisions, mobile phones and computers is that we are creating unnecessary waste to the planet. This type of waste is mostly known as E- waste, E-scrap or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). E-waste is basically discarded electronics destined to as to whether to be recycled or to be disposal “there are three possible outcomes: products may be reused or refurbished, recycled, or disposed”. (Electronics Waste Management in the United States Through, 2009) Whatever the way e-waste is destined to be, those methods pollute not only the environment but also damage people’s health with the scrap components e-waste contain. In recent years, we have noticed the how fast technology is developing. Around 1900, it was an anomaly to have a computer or a cellphone. Normally, people that owned a computer was mostly for job purposes. In contrast with 2014, technology had become accessible for almost everybody that it’s now an anomaly not to have basic electronic devices. In fact, technology had become cheaper than before. In this chart (extracted from the report Electronics Waste Management in the United States Through) shows the rapid pace of consumerism of technology from 1980 through 2010. The chart below shows the years from 2000 to 2010, where all the sales duplicated even 30 times than 20 years ago. One relevant fact is the increasing sales of the electronic products in the market. The total amount of electronic products’ sales only in 2000 was 333,408,552 electronic goods. By the year 2010, the products sold in 2000 became obsolete. This means that most of those electronics are now trash in comparison to what technology is now. In other words, new advances in technology such as the introduction to the innovative programs, softwares, apps and make our old electronics less valuable. It’s not that our ‘old’ electronics doesn’t work anymore, an appropriate justification to this event is that those old electronics doesn’t fit the actual lifestyle. In 2014, we depend on gadgets. And if we are not updated, we don’t have value. On the other hand, Annie Leonard explained in her video, that this effect is only one market strategy called perceived obsolesce. It essentially focuses on ‘the newer, the better’. Which stimulates the people to buy and be modernized. That’s why we see a huge quantity of advertisements everywhere. We are surrounded by ads promoting what is trending right now. The plot is simple. Society is bombarded with advertisements that tell the people what will make them look or feel better. Leonard also exposed another important tactic, Planned obsolesce. Panned obsolesce is fundamentally stuff made to be junk. For example: plastic bags, coffee cups, food containers or Styrofoam. Astonishingly, other things are also included in this planned obsolesce. Headphones, radios, barbeques, cameras or even cellphones are meant to be disposable within the first six months. The only result left about this consumerism strategies is more waste to the planet. All the waste generated by our hunger of being technologically updated creates more pointless junk to earth. Currently, it is not directly affecting us, but soon it will. Cadmium, mercury, sulphur, phosphor, hydrocarbon and brominated flame retards are the main contaminants found in electronics. If the recycling operations were run safely by the workers, and if the rest of the waste would be dumped properly to the landfills, then there wouldn’t be a concern for us as inhabitants of the...
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