Network World has an excellent pictorial slideshow that shows us just how ridiculous our neophilia has gotten. While it’s weak sauce coming from a site that celebrates the new, it’s clear that our constant drive to upgrade, improve, and innovate, has its drawbacks.
The slideshow gives us a fairly sanitized peek inside a number of recycling facilities, including a few photos of the decades-old Minitel recycling effort that decommissioned hundreds of thousands of old terminals that were still in use in France until 2012. I would argue that of all the items shown in the slideshow, the Minitel was the most successful: it offered something for a set of specific users all the way up to the end of its lifecycle.
I also think the quietest, most egregious e-waste problem is Apple’s move from the 30-pin adapter to Lightning. While it’s clearly not Apple’s fault that their phone got popular, the number of unusable accessories has to be staggering. Additionally, the number of upgraders who don’t want their old and busted (but perfectly usable) iPod docks lying around anymore should also give us pause. Our thirst for technology is covering us over like horse manure in New York. My only hope is that something comes along at the last minute to solve this issue. Given the degree to which it’s swept under the rug, however, I doubt that very much.
Take a look at the slideshow here and maybe, just maybe, sit out the next upgrade cycle.