Image: The Story of Stuff Project
"Why Designed for the Dump is Toxic for People and the Planet"
There's a new addition to the series of short animated films made by The Story of Stuff Project, Annie Leonard's brainchild. If you're not familiar with it, check out this great overview post that Chris wrote a few months ago. The latest installment in the series is about electronics; how they're designed, made, used, and disposed of, and how could all of this be better. Check out the video below.
It's a Complex Issue
While the video is great and raises awareness about a serious problem, I think it over-simplifies things a little bit. Maybe it was unavoidable in a 7 minutes film, but I think they're a little to quick to blame corporations for this and don't put enough blame on the people who buy all this stuff. The problem, as I see it, is that better, greener design can be more expensive. Sometimes make durable and fixable electronics doesn't cost more, but most times it does increase the price (stronger materials, more modular designs, doing R&D; to replace known toxic chemicals with benign alternatives, etc) and so far, sadly, consumers haven't shown that much desire to pay more for these greener products.
It's not an easy problem to solve, and maybe take back programs are the solution. Maybe other types of regulations or taxes on "bads" (a significant tax on any arsenic/lead/etc content in electronics would create big incentives for both producers and consumers) would be more effective. What will probably happen is a combination of all these things along with better public education and labelling so that people can actually make informed decisions. Right now, most people don't even know about all of this, which is why The Story of Electronics is so important!
Via The Story of Stuff Project
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