Sustainability 101

Great Forest Speaks With Curbed About E-Waste

Agbogbloshie_Ghana
The burning of e-waste in places like Agbogbloshie, Ghana, releases toxic fumes that poison residents and the environment.

Great Forest’s Director of Sustainability, Anna Dengler, was recently interviewed for an article about e-waste published in Curbed.  As noted in the piece, the problem of e-waste is growing:

According to the United Nations Global E-Waste Monitor, roughly 46 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2014. Only 7.1 tons were recycled or reused, slightly more than the 6.6 millions tons of screens that ended up in trash heaps that year. Those numbers are expected to rise by 4 to 5 percent annually for the foreseeable future…

Jonas Allen of the nonprofit Green Electronics Council points out that part of the problem seems to be the focus on technology for technology’s sake.

You have a kajillion gigabit processor to play Candy Crush, that’s a little bit of overkill, no? The conversation needs to start changing from what’s feasible to what’s meaningful.

Another problem is that products are not designed to make recycling easy. The article explores the efforts of a new breed of modular phone companies “…which feature replaceable parts, greener supply chains, and longer lifespans” that are hoping to make the future of electronics more sustainable.

Anna confirms that recycling has to always be a part of the equation since materials used in electronics can cause environmental damage, especially when they are burned to recover the valuable metals inside, which often happens in poor countries.

Read the full article in Curbed:  Modular Phones, E-Waste, and the Shift Towards Sustainable Electronics

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