Photo courtesy of Super Scholar
And yet few students seem to know much about what happens to their products when they are done. I have been interviewing students about e-waste for a documentary for a class, and their responses have been interesting. Some students have never considered what happens with their electronics and freely stated they threw them away. Others were incredibly knowledgable and talked about how much of our e-waste is exported to third world countries.
Images courtesy of National Geographic
According to Planet Green,
"The nation dumps between 300 and 400 million electronic items per year, yet less than 20% of that e-waste is recycled properly. About 50 million cell phones are replaced worldwide a month, yet only 10% are recycled."What shocked me the the most were the students who said the had never heard of e-waste and had no clue what I was talking about. I guess I have always assumed that everyone in Silicon Valley and especially students at SCU have at least a basic understanding of it.
My friend and student at SCU, Lauren D., had as great insight as to why students do not know much about e-waste.
"I think Santa Clara is really good about the environment and they are really conscious about what everything is doing, but I have to say that I think e-waste is one of those problems that we don't necessarily pay enough attention to anywhere. It's one of those topics that not as many people know about. People aren't as educated [about e-waste]... I think at Santa Clara we need to put more attention on it."I have a feeling that it's not just students at SCU that have never been educated on e-waste before. So spread the word and let everyone know where their cellphone goes and encourage your friends to not rush out to buy the next iPhone when their cellphone still works just fine. Share what you know about e-waste to make a difference.