Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Country, 'Tis of Thee



I love my country. Let me say that up front. But I am somewhat bemused by the penchant many have of displaying the flag anywhere and everywhere. Especially when it's decorating a trailer full of discarded televisions and computers.

Our rural county has made great progress in the almost forty years since we moved here. Back in '75, if you wanted to get rid of garbage, you drove it to the county dump -- or, far too often, threw it in the river or in the woods. It was pretty awful.

Now we have recycling centers in the various communities -- dumpsters and trailers  and bins for collecting plastics, paper, glass, metal, tires, appliances, old clothing, and used motor oil. It's quite a nice change and you hardly ever see sofas dumped in creeks anymore.

E-waste was a later addition to the recycling -- and it stuck me, the other day, that for a poor rural county, we sure consume and throw away a lot of expensive stuff.


And where does this e-waste go?  I don't know about in our county- note to self:find out-- but a lot ends up in China or Africa where people poison their environment and themselves attempting to extract the trace amounts of gold and other salable odds and ends from the discarded computers, televisions, e-phones, I-pads, etc.

There are better alternatives but they require a little detective work on the part of the discarder. Some companies -- I believe Dell and Sony are among them -- have 'green' recycling alternatives. The article linked to HERE is well worth the read.

And, 0f course. we could attempt to consume less -- hang on to the old TV or phone a bit longer if it's not actually broken.

But some would say that was an un-American suggestion.

10 comments:

Martin Hodges said...

We have a good network of recycling centres, here. But we also have something called 'Freecycle'. Basically, if there's something you've grown tired of, but it's still perfectly serviceable, you can offer it to others for free. Likewise, you can flag up items you may need. Our daughter uses it a lot. Recently, she picked up an almost new metal framed bed, a food mixer, and a pine chest. Better to reuse, than cast off into the rubbish tip.

Brian Miller said...

i am all for recycling...and there are those that will take the computer waste and refurbish it and give it to schools who are so far behind the techno ago....

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Glad you mentioned schools, Brian. I ran into a teacher who was bemoaning that Microsoft is no longer giving tech support to their older versions of Office...and that the schools all have those older programs. I wonder what lesson that will teach the kids.

Lise said...

It is a wasteful time we live in, no doubt about that. I never thought about what happens to all the e-waste, thanks for sharing that article. It's frightening that people choose to do things that will harm us or others. Thanks for sharing.

Tammy said...

We have schools here that will refurbish, as well as our friendly tech guy who will take the 'not ancient' stuff. Really though for me, it comes down to not replacing electronics until they NEED to be replaced, not just because I want the latest model. (actually that is pretty much what I do with everything...) We are just now getting 'modern' around here with recycling and have trailers parked around this town, that we can dump stuff into. It is sent to a facility where they hire challenged adults (sorry if that is not the current corrct term) to process it. So it helps employ people and clean up the excessive 'waste' we have going on in this great country. Also since metal/scrap has become the new 'gold' much of the countryside is getting scrubbed of it's piles of junk. (and scrap thieves are rampant--sometimes stealing what you don't consider scrap at all!).

Anyway, sorry so long, but it does my heart good to see that there are now avenues to recycle much of what was once waste. I can certainly improve but it's a process!

Tammy

Tammy said...

We have schools here that will refurbish, as well as our friendly tech guy who will take the 'not ancient' stuff. Really though for me, it comes down to not replacing electronics until they NEED to be replaced, not just because I want the latest model. (actually that is pretty much what I do with everything...) We are just now getting 'modern' around here with recycling and have trailers parked around this town, that we can dump stuff into. It is sent to a facility where they hire challenged adults (sorry if that is not the current corrct term) to process it. So it helps employ people and clean up the excessive 'waste' we have going on in this great country. Also since metal/scrap has become the new 'gold' much of the countryside is getting scrubbed of it's piles of junk. (and scrap thieves are rampant--sometimes stealing what you don't consider scrap at all!).

Anyway, sorry so long, but it does my heart good to see that there are now avenues to recycle much of what was once waste. I can certainly improve but it's a process!

Tammy

NCmountainwoman said...

I do agree with you about the entire post, and especially about the flags. As I drove home from voting yesterday, I passed by a trailer with three very large flags on the fence; one American, one "Don't Tread on Me," and one Confederate. The political signs in the yard were totally unnecessary what with the flags speaking so loudly.

Merisi said...

Wasteful behaviour and built-in obsolescence, nothing to be proud of. I wished there were more to do to rebel, especially against the later. Printers come to mind.

Reuse is probably the best form of recycling, less waste and no unhealthy side effects.

I feel for our children and all future generations.

Vicki Lane said...

As I said -- I'm proud of how far our county has come. And I'm glad to hear of the alternatives some of you suggest.

We have quite a few places -- Goodwill and others that take used items for resale. I have two old laptops sitting in my workroom that are no longer reliable but I worry about some refurbisher getting my information from them -- as I'm not confident I know how to REALLY erase everything. Shall have to look into possibilities.

Maiasaura WinterHeart said...

LOVELOVELOVE Freecycle. Vicki, Asheville area has a pretty extensive Freecycle network. Dunno about electronics wiping, though.