The 21st century saw a transformation in technological commercialization like no other. Beginning in the mid 90s, electronics started making way into the residences of people. Schools bought dozens of computers each to teach students the upcoming way of life.
Today, computer technology is evolving at a fast pace. A 2-year-old desktop may not be able to support the latest software; hence we need a newer graphics card or sound card or a much higher performing processor! Our isolated lives are getting increasingly tangled within the cables of our headphones and rapidly sinking in a heap of electronic waste.
Since the 1990s, the sheer volume of electronic waste has surged globally. This has precipitated a global environmental challenge that few seem to have answers to! However, citizens around the world are waking up to the crisis and are prodding their governments and industries to address it. There is a growing realization that responsibility begins at micro level and then spreads to macro scale. For instance, Gautam’s garage has had e-waste piling up since 1999, when he bought his first TV video game.
Since then, he has bought several electronic gadgets. The garage was almost overflowing with multiple hard disks, mother boards, keyboards, CPU cabinets, TV video games, mobile phones, speakers, cords, cables, headphones, television, computer monitors and so much more! Everything just lay there, gathering dust.
Gautam took notice of the disaster that was in his garage finally, when he threw his latest faulty computer keyboard into the pile and everything started sliding. Like a domino effect, or perhaps something resembling an avalanche, everything came rushing down and pushed against the garage door!
Witnessing this catastrophe, alongside Gautam, was his friend Jayant. He looked at Gautam who had a sheepish grin on his face. Gautam confessed that he had been procrastinating on clearing up the mess. Jayant cautioned him against selling it for scrap. He advised him to recycle the old electronic items and other waste products instead. This, he said, could fetch Gautam a considerable sum of money.
Gautam was perplexed at the amount of work it would take to sift through the heap of waste that lay just a few feet from where he stood. It was much easier to just hand it over to the scrap dealer, he opined. Jayant became furious for just a fraction of a second but cooled himself down immediately. He said that there are companies that take in electronic waste and provide some sort of credit in return and that he would help Gautam get rid of most of his waste that way.
Gautam suddenly seemed interested. Jayant opened up his laptop, filled in the details of everything that could be recycled and filed an application. Then, he asked Gautam if there was anything in the pile that was still in working condition or could be reasonably repaired.
Gautam stared at the gadgets and pointed at some of the mobile phones and LCD monitors which he believed would work, if fixed. Jayant sighed and continued surfing the net for companies that took in such products for a negligible price, refurbished them and sell to others for a low price as second hand products.
Soon, most of the material was sorted into items that were recyclable and items that could be refurbished. Jayant told Gautam that everything would be cleared from his garage within 7 days. Gautam felt like a burden had been taken off of his shoulders and smiled.
The both of them then proceeded inside where their pizza had gotten cold but their hearts felt better having done something responsible.1