Last week, my laptop crashed. Fixing it would have cost about as much as buying a new laptop — so buy a new laptop I did, after spending $99 to have BestBuy’s geek squad tell me the old laptop would cost a lot to fix!
Still, I’m proud to say that I used that old laptop for 4.5 years — far longer than the 18 months or so the average electronic product gets used. Fittingly, the speed with which new electronics become broken electronics is the topic taken up by Annie Leonard and the team behind "The Story of Stuff."
This short cartoon video is "The Story of Electronics" — which follows the short life of electronics that are "designed for the dump" — a.k.a.. designed for planned obsolescence. From causing miscarriages and cancer in employees who make the electronics to wreaking environmental havoc in less-developed countries where old electronics get dumped, "The Story of Electronics" is not a happy tale.
That said, there is some good news. More electronics manufacturers are instituting take-back programs, but there's still plenty of work to do, as the Electronics TakeBack Coalition explains.
Of course, some onus falls on electronics users and their lust for the latest gadgets. My laptop — and my old cellphone, too — got weird looks from people because I'd used them for so long. Most people, however, upgrade as soon as they possibly can — often every year or so. That's why more concerned environmentalists are creating everything from DIY fix-it manuals to retro electronics shops to fight planned obsolescence — one small gadget at a time.
Be honest — how long have you had the computer you're using to read this blog post?