Part 1: Personal Reflection of My Own History of Technological Use/Disuse
On a daily basis I am using several technological devices; I’m either on my iPod Nano, iPhone 5, or MacBook Pro. All of these items I have purchased on my own (minus the MacBook Pro, I needed a little bit of assistance with the hefty price tag attached to it). I am glad my parents made me pay for these items, as it taught me the value of a dollar. It also taught me though that when it comes technological devices a dollar does not go very far. The price tags are high despite the items that have just been purchased are soon to be obsolete (or already are), and/or fail to perform in a short amount of time.
Now when looking into how often I have replaced such items, I tend to replace some more often than others. In regards to iPods I am on my 2nd since roughly Grade 9 (I previously owned a SONY mp3 player as well). As for cellphones I am on my 4th since Grade 9, and as for laptops I am on my 2nd since Grade 12 (to put that into perspective I am now 22 years old).
Sadly with my iPods, and cellphones I have upgraded due to the technology being so-called ‘outdated’, or lacking the ‘coolest’ new features. I have also replaced my existing cellphones due to the ability to upgrade for free, or at a low cost when my contract had ended. The devices in which I previously used though were still, and still are today fully functional. In regards to upgrading my laptops, I had only recently replaced my 1st laptop because it was on its last legs. The battery would not last without being plugged into an outlet (despite purchasing a new, and larger battery a couple years back to hopefully extend its lifetime). It would also run into several errors while starting up, or while working on it. I’m sure there was a way to fix it myself (but unaware of), and because of that it would cost an arm, and a leg to get it fixed by someone else; it was just easier, and cheaper to buy a new laptop.
As for disposing of my old technological devices, I still have both of my iPods (and MP3 player), 2 of my 3 cellphones, and my old laptop. My first cellphone though was brought to my provider Telus where they apparently recycled it when I purchased a new one. Although they said they recycled it, I have no idea the actual journey it took after I handed over the desk.
In regards to disposing of my own e-waste I have never actually just thrown my technological devices into the garbage. Back when I was younger, and into video games for a short period of time (owning SEGA, PlayStation 1, and Gameboy Colour) these items were disposed of properly. They were either brought back to stores that would give you money for your used items, and/or sold at garage sales.
As bad as it sounds I personally do not consider the social, and environmental impacts of my technological devices. If I did I would not own an abundant amount of technological devices, nor would I be updating them as often as I do. It’s actually disgusting considering the amount of electronics that I can recall being in, and/or once existing in my home. Each cellphone, iPod, computer/laptop, printer, TV, DVD player, etc. have all been replaced at least once, or twice, if not more.
Through this personal reflection on my own history of technological use and disuse I really come to conclusion that I am an abuser. Putting this all down on to ‘paper’ is a real shocker, I am only 22 years old and myself have already gone through that many devices at the rate I’m going how many more will I go through in my life time. Through course readings, and other materials this week it made me think a lot about my own use, and how I need to reflect, and change my use.
Part 2: Pinterest Board
As I still own most of my technological devices I no longer use, I decided to look up what I could do with my e-waste…
1. Heroes for Children: Laptops for Love
Heroes for Children is an organization based out of the Unites States that provides assistance to families whom children are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Through their program Laptops for Love people are able to donate new, and/or lightly used laptops to teens that have cancer. Teens who receive a laptop are then able to keep relationships with friends, and family healthy, and flourishing while their time is spent in hospitals. It also allows them to keep up with their education, and not fall behind.
Globetrops is a donation-based charity that allows people with once again new, and/or lightly used laptops to donate them to those in poor societies, and to those whom may have never had one. Once the laptop is donated, it is sent to Globetops command centre where all laptops are collected, erased of all memory, refurbished, and then finally sent to its new rightful owner. Both the giver, and receiver are then given the opportunity to communicate, and become friends with each other.
ecoATM is a self-serve kiosk that pays cash for old, and used technological devices. Currently they accept items including cellphones, MP3 players and tablets. Accessories such as chargers, and cases are also accepted but only for recycling not for pay. Items that are then received if still functioning are reused, while others that do not are recycled for their materials. Along with offering pay, the ecoATM gives you an opportunity rather than taking the cash to donate it to one of their charities (even if it is only just a proportion).
4. Game Changer Charity
GameChanger Charity is also another organization that collects old, and/or lightly used electronics to provide financial assistance to families whom have children that are suffering with some form of life threatening illness (these illnesses are ones that are often neglected, and rare). This charity also collects video games (it’s original mission), which are given out to those children as a source of entertainment while in hospitals. Money donations are also collected in order to fundraise for cures of theses diseases.
5. Isidore Electronics Recycling
Isidore Electronics Recycling is a service based in Los Angeles, which recycles e-waste. As mentioned in their video e-waste is an issue, and so is criminal activity so they provide on-the-job training, and an employment program for previously incarcerated residents. With every 50,000lbs collected, the service can then hire a new worker to keep off the streets. Through this company they lessen the consequences of improperly disposed of e-waste, provide green jobs, and offer jobs to those who may have difficultly obtaining, and keeping jobs due to their history.
6. Cellphone for Soldiers
Cellphones for Soldiers is a non-for-profit organization, which provides free communication services to active members in the military, and as well veterans. What I found surprising was that the founders of this organization were on 12, and 13 when they came up with the idea! Along with collecting cellphones to give away, they also collect money donations to provide free talk time, and calling cards. Through this organizations initiatives they were able to prevent 11 million cellphones from being true waste.
7. Electronic Waste Disposal: Goodwill of Orange County
Goodwill of Orange County runs a program called E-Waste Solution in which collects e-waste (functional or not) free of charge. They will also even pick up the items for free. Now, through recycling the e-waste they are able to re-sell the items to families in the community who can’t necessarily afford the latest trends in technology. If items cannot be repaired they are then taken apart, and the metals are sold to state recyclers. Lastly, the program provides job training and jobs to those with disabilities, and other barriers that make job opportunities difficult.
8. Reboot Charity
Reboot Charity is an organization based out of the United States, that believes one-on-one education is essential to making change in communities. To make this a reality they collect donations of e-waste to recycle, and/or redistribute. Proceeds, and redistributed items are then given to the volunteers to help provide one-on-one education to the public, and those with disabilities. This type of education includes: “successful family life, dangers of drug abuse, dangers of alcohol abuse, music education, reading education, finding employment, and personal improvement.” (http://www.rebootcharity.org/about-us/). Also, those whom are volunteering are helped with finding employment, as most happen to be financially suffering due to job loss.