The Truth about Tech
Recycling: It’s Green
or it’s Mean
The awkward thing about getting new tech toys is the fact that there’s
usually an old tech toy left over, suddenly unloved and unwanted.
Over time drawers are filled with old cell phones and MP3 players,
piles of old computers linger in our closets, or the obsolete electronics
end up in the trash.
None is a great option.
Drawer and closet space is at a premium
around most households, and at some point
there will be a howl of indignation and a
demand that you get rid of the junk
so useful things can be stored. Somehow
my spouse never falls for the argument that
we might need it some day—I guess he
can’t see the same potential in a battered
old BlackBerry that I can. Narrow-minded,
but there we are.
So, what to do?
Chuck it in the trash, you say? Bad idea.
The number and variety of environmentally-unfriendly substances in the average electronic
device—lead, mercury, beryllium and lithium,
to name a few—are terrifying. Unless we
want our children and grandchildren to have
tentacles or glow in the dark (or maybe not
even be born), we need to find a better way to
dispose of our ancient toys.
The better way, oddly enough, harkens
back to something our grandparents always
urged us to do: recycling. Of course, that’s
not what they called it—to them, it was
simply the thriftiest way to make the best
use of scarce resources. I still remember my
grandmother’s adage, which she learned
during World War II: “Make it do, wear it
out, use it up, or do without.”
Try that line on someone from our conspicuously consuming society today, and
they’re apt to hurt themselves laughing.
But environmentalists are increasingly see-
Lynn Greiner Business: the 8th layer