Technotrash refers to the enormous amount of waste, generated by the computer industry. Use one laptop over dozens of desktop computers and cables, and don’t buy things you don’t need. But if you have lots of electronic trash, what do you do with it?
Don’t send it to Africa or Asia, that’s what. These continents have huge issues with people donating (meaning well) all their rubbish to countries that can’t deal with it, and they end up with landfills packed with chemicals and fire hazards. Known as ‘digital dumping’, Ghana bears the main brunt. The dump at Agbogbloshie is where most of the world’s e-waste ‘goes to die’. Yet melting these parts down to sell the copper and metals inside, results in toxic wastes and fumes. Even the food there is now contaminated by the fumes from melted electronics.
Recable (Germany) offers a sustainable conflict-free cable, and you can repair 90% of the parts. Fairly-made, you can also fast-charge it with your smartpfone. And for each one sold, they donate a day’s worth of food to wild birds. Held together with a grass paper belly band (no plastic) and printed with eco inks, it’s climate-neutral (made with green electricity) and shipped in a cardboard box).
Donate or Recycle Unwanted Electronics
You can usually find local charities that are happy to take on old computers and accessories like London’s Little Lives. Learn how to wipe clean your computer’s hard drive for security (bank details etc). Donate unwanted computers to charities (business can recycle at Weee Charity).
We could do with something like the US company Greendisk where companies send all their mixed technotrash to one place. Or order a Terracycle Box to recycle in bulk for your company or community (there is a one-off charge).
Support the Right to Repair rule
This enforces manufacturers to be able to upgrade goods, rather than buy new. This would stop the huge amounts of e-waste being generated in the first place. The Restart Project holds regional ‘repair parties’ to teach people how to repair broken electronics, and rethink how to consume them in the first place. The UK is the world’s second-highest producer of e-waste per person, with appliance failure rates growing.