Foreign Policy Blogs

Electronic Waste

I did the right thing today and brought some electronic waste downtown to a Department of Sanitation drop-off site.  I can't say that I'm impressed with New York City's program in this.  The advertising was poor – you really had to search for it even at their website.  Plus, there were far too few locations in each of the five boroughs and this all only happens periodically.  Recycling, I'm sorry to say, has never been a top priority of the city administration at any point.  There have been various times when the impulse has flowered compared to others when the City has dragged its feet.  I would not say, however, that the full potential here has ever been anywhere near embraced.  (I like to plug my grand scheme at this point , Urban Gold , which I shopped around a few years back and for which I got a pretty fair hearing in a number of places.)

I do want to flag a really compelling article from National Geographic magazine from last January – High-Tech Trash.  Aside from the article itself, and the always superb photographs, NGM's website has some in-depth features including this interactive look at all the toxic components of a computer and monitor.  There's also a section on how you can reduce e-waste.  See also EPA's "eCycling" webpage.

Followup:  See this excellent article on the life cycle of computers from GreenerComputing News – How Activists Are Forcing Change in Green IT. This is precisely what the doctor ordered: tremendous built-in reductions in electronic waste as a direct consequence of paying attention to the life cycle.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change