This is a post about thinking global and acting local. A short description of the global problem of recycling computers is followed by local actions you can take to deal with the problem.
There are three reasons why computers should be reused: First, reducing the impact of used computers on the environment. Too many computers are recycled in developing countries in unsafe and unsustainable conditions. Second, reusing computers will reduce mining of rare earth metals. Mining is often done in unsafe, and unethical exploitative conditions and the rare earth mineral trade fuels regional conflict. Third, reuse enables individuals to learn hands on skills with computers, an ability that is not provided in most classrooms.
1) Reducing the impact of used computers on the environment
The documentary Manufactured Landscapes (2006) vividly captures on film changes in landscapes due to industries such as computer recyling, including unsafe and unsustainable practices. Director Jennifer Baichwal and Photographer Edward Burtynsky created a documentary spanning the world and the imagery captures many memorable shots, including piles of motherboards, network cables, CDs and other accessories. The documentary includes children playing in toxic waste sites created by recycling activities. Continue reading