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We need to take Climate Change seriously


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The jury is out on whether we can even do anything to stop or change the path of the climate, however it is more important that we can agree that pollution of any sort is bad and we can always do more to cut down on that and make our environment better for each other.

E-waste is primarily caused by many things, of which I can think, but these may be limited to the US.

- manufacturers creating products with planned obsolescene and/or not following standards, resulting in short lifespans.
- manufacturers using designs that are not publicly documented, or keep documentation behind paywalls or subscription plans.
- manufacturers that replace whole parts (such as boards) instead of fixing or replacing individual components.
- manufacturers that sue repair shops
- trades (in general) not seen as important and not taught in schools, especially electronics

Going back to the 1990s, there were repair shops all over the place. You could take you electronic gadget to get fixed and it was an actual fix and not just a PCB replacement. Or you could get the service manual and do the work yourself. Even to this day, if you buy some older electronic device, you can find the service manual online and be able to do a repair yourself. With new products, that isn't an option.

As things changed, the removal of electronic repair shops, the disappearing of stores to buy components (although most can be found online), the ceasing of schools teaching trades like electronics/repair and likely the fact that costs have come way down on products has made it so people do not have the same attachment to something they once had. It is cheaper to just "buy a new one" instead of trying to find someone to repair it. Companies do replace products if they are under warranty, but they are doing wholesale changes and does not solve the e-waste issue. It is cheaper for a company to just replace a PCB and sell the "bad" one to a recycler than to spend time to diagnose and repair a problem.

So in the current day, there is too few options for what to do with broken or unwanted electronics. Pay a recycler to take the thing? Put it out into the garbage? Throw it into the woods or the ocean? We had a ton of electronics years ago and didn't have this waste problem because the products lasted longer and they could be fixed. And fixing something was cheaper than buying a replacement, or cheap enough to make waiting for a repair a better option than buying a new one.

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I can't speak with regard to most other countries, but I've heard that (relatively) unregulated recycling markets (like in United States) leads to trouble. I guess that would explain why my school had a fake recycling program for several years, all of it just going into the trash, but getting a tax credit anyway. Similarly, the curbside recycling program here recently got gutted, only accepting paper, cardboard, clear glass, tin/alum cans, and #1/#2 plastic. I guess the rest isn't as profitable, so they don't bother, because nobody is making them bother. However, our state seems to have an awesome e-waste program. Most towns seem to have municipal drop-off points, and a nearby e-waste company is able to recycle an absolutely ridiculous amount of things. I know someone who worked closely with that e-waste company, it's all really recycled, too!
 

Edited by i430VX
make location more correct
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  • 5 months later...

This will all end as usual , yet another tax or forced regulation on the shoulders of the Western European and/or Canadian , US , Australian and New Zealand customers/population. And we will pay for the whole planet , while the rest will pollute as usual , if not more . Why there's no discussion on what's going on with the waste in Asian countries or Russia, for example . Anyone ? ... silence ...

Oh , excusez-moi , I forgot for a moment , nowadays it's just so "trendy" to bash the US and/or the West.

 

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On 7/13/2020 at 8:37 AM, Tripredacus said:

The jury is out on whether we can even do anything to stop or change the path of the climate, however it is more important that we can agree that pollution of any sort is bad and we can always do more to cut down on that and make our environment better for each other.

E-waste is primarily caused by many things, of which I can think, but these may be limited to the US.

- manufacturers creating products with planned obsolescene and/or not following standards, resulting in short lifespans.
- manufacturers using designs that are not publicly documented, or keep documentation behind paywalls or subscription plans.
- manufacturers that replace whole parts (such as boards) instead of fixing or replacing individual components.
- manufacturers that sue repair shops
- trades (in general) not seen as important and not taught in schools, especially electronics

Going back to the 1990s, there were repair shops all over the place. You could take you electronic gadget to get fixed and it was an actual fix and not just a PCB replacement. Or you could get the service manual and do the work yourself. Even to this day, if you buy some older electronic device, you can find the service manual online and be able to do a repair yourself. With new products, that isn't an option.

As things changed, the removal of electronic repair shops, the disappearing of stores to buy components (although most can be found online), the ceasing of schools teaching trades like electronics/repair and likely the fact that costs have come way down on products has made it so people do not have the same attachment to something they once had. It is cheaper to just "buy a new one" instead of trying to find someone to repair it. Companies do replace products if they are under warranty, but they are doing wholesale changes and does not solve the e-waste issue. It is cheaper for a company to just replace a PCB and sell the "bad" one to a recycler than to spend time to diagnose and repair a problem.

So in the current day, there is too few options for what to do with broken or unwanted electronics. Pay a recycler to take the thing? Put it out into the garbage? Throw it into the woods or the ocean? We had a ton of electronics years ago and didn't have this waste problem because the products lasted longer and they could be fixed. And fixing something was cheaper than buying a replacement, or cheap enough to make waiting for a repair a better option than buying a new one.

Exactly, I'd say these are all excellent points.

I know retrocomputers comprise a good portion of this forum, and as such they/we are all doing our part insofar as electronics go.

Today, nothing is built to last, all kinds of rare earth minerals are endlessly purged and wasted - look at sour companies like Apple. They are the epitome of planned obsolescence. Proprietary hardware, exclusive software, planned obsolescence, hardware and software incompatibility, and mobile first. As an environmentalist, it disgusts me. As a technology enthusiast, it disgusts me even more.

I'm also a bit of a telephone collector, sort of. My main phones are all vintage Bell System / Western Electric 500 rotary or 2500 TouchTone sets. Those things were built to last. I've plugged in 80 year old phones and those just work! Personally, I don't use anything older than the 500, which started in 1949. The F-style handsets before '49 are too uncomfortable. The G-style handsets on modern rotary and on 2500-type and Princess phones are the best. They're still widely used today - on pretty much all payphones and 2554 courtesy phones you often see in hotels, hospitals, convention centers, etc.

I don't have a mobile (cell "phone") of any kind. Absolutely no interest in dropped calls, crappy call quality, brain cancer, wasting energy, or having a useless "computer" the size of a fingernail. Or something that needs to be charged over and over. It's so nice not having to charge ANYTHING on a regular basis. And MUCH better for the environment. Also, did I mention cell phone audio quality sucks? It really does.

This kind of lifestyle is a complete rejection of e-waste, fads, frivolity, etc. I believe in things that work well that work well for a long time that are quality, durable, environmentally friendly, and top notch.

So, environmentalist technologist types, here we are:

- Using older operating systems and reusing or refurbishing older hardware

- Using timeless telephones built to last. No cheap/expendable electronics here. Probably I'll die before any of my phones do. Half of them are already older than my parents. If anything ever breaks (doubt it), easy, just open up the phone and fix it. They were made for that. (SIDE NOTE: remember when you could actually go to a REAL phone story and buy a phone? Now, the only phone store is eBay, maybe flea markets. You try finding one these days, all you find is junk, maybe a couple real modern electronic phones in Office Depot if you're lucky...)

- Using wired technologies. Ethernet cables are a superior species to radio waves. Seriously, who wants a high-latency low-quality connection? Ditch the Wi-Fi and cordless phones, and even more, ditch the 3G/4G/5G/etc.

- Not subscribing to the whole continuous never-ending "upgrade" culture. As Windows 7 -> Windows 10 has shown (or pick your favorite good OS -> bad OS transition), the wow doesn't always start now, sometimes it already started and it's OK to hop off the train for a while, maybe forever.

P.S. Vista is a good OS, I mean that in a different way.

Technology today is responsible for about as much CO2 as the entire airline industry today - about 2%. So, technologists have a responsibility to the environment. Anyways, I'll be here, all Ethernet wired up, using Windows 7, Office 2010, Adobe Reader 11, and my classic top-notch telephones, no wireless or cordless products in sight!

It's more than most people in developed Western countries are doing, at least 95% or maybe 99% of folks, so a good start I'd say!

Edited by InterLinked
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7 hours ago, InterLinked said:

Exactly, I'd say these are all excellent points.

I know retrocomputers comprise a good portion of this forum, and as such they/we are all doing our part insofar as electronics go.

Today, nothing is built to last, all kinds of rare earth minerals are endlessly purged and wasted - look at sour companies like Apple. They are the epitome of planned obsolescence. Proprietary hardware, exclusive software, planned obsolescence, hardware and software incompatibility, and mobile first. As an environmentalist, it disgusts me. As a technology enthusiast, it disgusts me even more.

I'm also a bit of a telephone collector, sort of. My main phones are all vintage Bell System / Western Electric 500 rotary or 2500 TouchTone sets. Those things were built to last. I've plugged in 80 year old phones and those just work! Personally, I don't use anything older than the 500, which started in 1949. The F-style handsets before '49 are too uncomfortable. The G-style handsets on modern rotary and on 2500-type and Princess phones are the best. They're still widely used today - on pretty much all payphones and 2554 courtesy phones you often see in hotels, hospitals, convention centers, etc.

I don't have a mobile (cell "phone") of any kind. Absolutely no interest in dropped calls, crappy call quality, brain cancer, wasting energy, or having a useless "computer" the size of a fingernail. Or something that needs to be charged over and over. It's so nice not having to charge ANYTHING on a regular basis. And MUCH better for the environment. Also, did I mention cell phone audio quality sucks? It really does.

This kind of lifestyle is a complete rejection of e-waste, fads, frivolity, etc. I believe in things that work well that work well for a long time that are quality, durable, environmentally friendly, and top notch.

So, environmentalist technologist types, here we are:

- Using older operating systems and reusing or refurbishing older hardware

- Using timeless telephones built to last. No cheap/expendable electronics here. Probably I'll die before any of my phones do. Half of them are already older than my parents. If anything ever breaks (doubt it), easy, just open up the phone and fix it. They were made for that. (SIDE NOTE: remember when you could actually go to a REAL phone story and buy a phone? Now, the only phone store is eBay, maybe flea markets. You try finding one these days, all you find is junk, maybe a couple real modern electronic phones in Office Depot if you're lucky...)

- Using wired technologies. Ethernet cables are a superior species to radio waves. Seriously, who wants a high-latency low-quality connection? Ditch the Wi-Fi and cordless phones, and even more, ditch the 3G/4G/5G/etc.

- Not subscribing to the whole continuous never-ending "upgrade" culture. As Windows 7 -> Windows 10 has shown (or pick your favorite good OS -> bad OS transition), the wow doesn't always start now, sometimes it already started and it's OK to hop off the train for a while, maybe forever.

P.S. Vista is a good OS, I mean that in a different way.

Technology today is responsible for about as much CO2 as the entire airline industry today - about 2%. So, technologists have a responsibility to the environment. Anyways, I'll be here, all Ethernet wired up, using Windows 7, Office 2010, Adobe Reader 11, and my classic top-notch telephones, no wireless or cordless products in sight!

It's more than most people in developed Western countries are doing, at least 95% or maybe 99% of folks, so a good start I'd say!

I definitely agree with you, older electronics were built to last, that's why I love using them over new ones for sure! Even Soviet electronics, that were told to be avoided, still last for me to this day without any major repairs. :)

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