Sunday, January 31, 2016

Another One Bites the Dust

The second electronics recycling center in my area is closing its doors gates, only months after the first, due to a shortage of funding and a surplus of CRT-TVs. I'm afraid that it's only going to continue to domino across the state, and we'll be back into the bad way of disposing of them, namely, landfills.

There was a reason we stopped throwing electronic devices into landfills, and it's primarily because they're filled with nasty stuff that shouldn't be re-introduced to the environment and the water table.

Except the city and the county have decided the money isn't worth investing in the future. Screw the future, am I right? Oh, wait, no, I am the future, I have to inherit this land when you policymakers are all gone and dead, and the mess of politics you've made is bad enough, but now you have to ruin the environment too.

But here's my thing (well, two actually):

First, nobody is making CRT TVs anymore. That means that once everybody has thrown out all their old CRTs, it'll be done with, and all the electronic refuse will be back to following Moore's Law again. Once the jumbo TVs are gone, the electronic refuse will just get smaller and denser. You just have to hold on until they're gone.

Secondly, when the gates to these centers close, it's making all the local papers, but nobody's bothering to publish that there are alternatives out there. There's a Freecycle network, where you can post your old stuff for free, and see if anybody else in the area could use it. Yes, I'll agree that hardly anyone in the Freecycle communities (that I belong to) will take CRTs, but if you give all the other retired electronic devices into the Freecycle network, that will reduce the load on the state-run recycling centers, and make it more feasible for them to accept those listings that go unanswered.

Except that people use the state-run centers as a first resort instead of a last resort, and it taxes the system (literally and figuratively) beyond what it can bear. Thus we get closing recycling centers, and next thing you know, there's going to be nothing but the landfill.

I really hope I'm not being prophetic when I worry that the closing of electronics recycling centers will continue to domino across the state. I really want it to not be a pattern that grows and accelerates to the point where there's nothing anybody can do but shut down, for no other reason than that you couldn't hold on to a perfectly well, working TV just because you wanted the slimmer, sharper model.

I use my electronics until they break, and then I upgrade, but not before.

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