I got myself a new multi-function laser printer a couple of months back. At a good price too. It works well too. I should be happy, right?

Not so.

My previous laser printer, bought at 3 times the price, which was behaving badly now sits in my cupboard. It’s shelved beside my even older printer.

They stare back at me ever so accusingly.

What are they doing taking up space in my cupboard? I should just chuck them in the bin, right? Or take them to the rubbish tip?

Electronic waste or E-waste may contain lots of materials including precious metals, toxic heavy metals, metal circuitry, mixed plastics, fire retardants and glass.

Luckily, my local tip (a.k.a waste management centre) has a recycling area for electronic goods.

Many places don’t bother with such things. They just send their e-waste elsewhere, usually some third world country.

Nigeria and Ghana are but two countries in West Africa that have had e-waste from Western countries dumped on them. Once pristine environments now contain mountains of e-waste. Such shipments are supposed to be illegal but companies get around it by claiming that these are “second hand goods”!

Where is your e-waste going to?

So I should be happy that at least the materials in my printer will get recycled.

Not so. (I know, it’s hard to keep me happy!)

It would be joyful if 100% percent of my printers were recycled but I know that a lot of their parts will just end up as pure rubbish that will sit in that tip until the end of time.

The real issue here is planned obsolescence.

In simple terms, things are deliberately manufactured not to last. They’re designed to be difficult and more expensive to repair. The idea is for you to buy a new one. Over and over again.

You see this problem in our printers, computers, DVD players, hair dryers, light bulbs, fridges, washing machines, televisions, toys, toasters, CD players etc etc.

The result: we fork out more of our hard-earned money, plus generate tonnes of e-waste.

So that’s why I’m not buying the iPad 2. I’ve already bought 10 computers and 9 printers in my all-too-brief lifetime. I’ll wait before buying new technology until I really have too or just can’t resist. So that’s why I’ll probably wait for the iPad 6!

Are you going to the electronic shops today?

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