Past Shock: Today E-Waste Event in Rutland Vermont

Today our company is holding a free collection event for used electronics in at the Rutland County Solid Waste District, from 9-1, at 2 Green Hill Road.   We are sorting electronics by brand, introducing a new coupon program (adding Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba and Vizio), and training new staff (we don't have too many of these events this close to home in Vermont - Events are kinda 2004.  We'll be playing Brittany Spears - Toxic!).

It will be interesting to see how "events" play 9 months from now, when all e-waste collections are free in Vermont, and you don't avoid a $10 drop off fee by waiting in line.  Will people still come out in the rain to demonstrate their Earth Day credentials?  Or will ewaste recycling become, as it should be, like laundromats and tire replacement?

"Grandpa, we've heard that story."

The secret is that for most people, used electronics recycling is as boring as a car inspection.  We can thank the newness of the field, and the blizzard of "aha gotcha!" journalism stories.  The truth is that the action is in the Indonesia coral islands (being mined for tin to replace lead solder), the Congo jungles (where coltan is mined for cell phones), and the mountains of the Afghan Pakistan border, where used cell phones are being purchased and jerry-rigged.

We tried to spice up the old recycling stories (newspaper recycling, office paper recycling, bottle and can recycling) with "ju-ju" topics, like "toxicity of landfills" and "toxic ash from incinerators".   Some recyclers are trying to do the same thing with electronics, and have a lot of people convinced that a TV is toxic and poisonous in your basement (it's far more dangerous when plugged in and working in your living room).

Mass production of grey market, contract management, repair manuals, etc. is BORING.  The rapid obsolescence of brand new products has blurred the area between new and aftermarket.  Designing laws based on selling shoes in wholesale bulk that are "used" or shoes in wholesale bulk that are "new" is going to be a real head scratcher to the grandkids.  Not just that Grandpa talks about when recycling or laundromats or gas stations were "new and controversial", but that people actually tried passing laws to so tightle command, control, and influence the used stereo, laundromat, recycling, RAM upgrade, muffler patching businesses.

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