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Designed for the Dump

Designed for the Dump

With Christmas just around the corner, are you excited by the prospect of getting an iPad from someone you love? Are you planning to surprise the family by finally upgrading to high-definition TV?

Everyone wants the latest technology to take advantage of the amazing world of evolving media that are out there. But our hunger for cheap, quickly obsolescent electronics, has many hidden costs to the environment and human health. To make people more aware of e-waste, Greenpeace recently released its latest installment in the Story of Stuff Project, “The Story of Electronics”:

It’s long, but completely worth it! There’s a longer, and interactive, version at the Story of Stuff site.


What’s great about this video is that it doesn’t just damn us for our appetite for innovation. Instead, it suggests smarter ways to design responsible electronics: standardization, modularity and upgradability.

Remember when there used to be TV repairmen? Have you seen one lately? Many of us have experienced the frustration of realizing that our electronics aren’t worth fixing, since it’s cheaper to buy a new model. But what if we demanded that manufacturers (and therefore, we) paid the true cost of manufacturing, recycling, and cleaning up our e-waste?

According to the Greenpeace blogpost, the UN estimates that upwards of 40 million tons of e-waste is generated globally each year. But as all consumer activists know, the answer is in our hands. Only by demanding better, from retailers, from manufacturers, and especially from our legislators, can we reduce this ridiculous and toxic waste.

Related Story of Stuff posts:
The Story of Cosmetics
The Story of Bottled Water
The Story of Cap & Trade

Free Range Studios
Greenpeace Blog

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more
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