Category Archives: reduce reuse recycle

Electronic waste – designed for the dump

The Story of Electronics is a 20 minute animated film looking at the environmental problems caused by the disposal of electronic waste.The aim of the film is to make us all aware of the hidden impacts of our out-of-control consumption and to motivate us to act differently. It’ll make you laugh, make you despair, and maybe it will change the way you look at all the stuff in your life. When it was first released it was an internet sensation and has since been viewed over 6 million times.

We all need to be thinking about what electronic products we buy and how we dispose of them. We are now purchasing and disposing of electronic products at an alarming rate, mostly because products are deliberately designed to be replaced as quickly as possible – ‘designed for the dump’

Virtually all this electronic equipment contains toxic materials such as heavy metals which are harmful to people and the planet. Electronic waste is often exported to developing countries, where processing is done with little safety protection, exposing workers and the local population to toxins and poisoning their air and water.

The simplest and cheapest way to take action is to resist the urge to buy yet another gadget. Or we can use our power as consumers to encourage companies to make less toxic, more easily recyclable and longer lasting products.

Book - The Story of Stuff by Annie LeonardAnnie Leonard, creator of the ‘The Story of Stuff Project’ has also written a book describing how our obsession with buying more and more stuff is trashing the planet. She looks at where products such as bottled water, mobile phones and jeans come from, how they’re made and distributed, and where they really go when we throw them away. Available from Amazon – The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health – and a Vision for Change

Find out more about The Story of Stuff Project at storyofstuff.org/about

Zero waste

The concept of ‘zero waste‘ is based on the understanding that all the materials we use are resources, and only become waste due to bad design or poor management. By redesigning products and changing the way we dispose of what we don’t need, the problem of ‘waste’ ceases to exist, because everything becomes a resource to be reused or recycled.

Residents of the small Japanese town of Kamikatsu sort their household waste into 34 different recycling boxes. They currently re-use, recycle or compost 80% of their rubbish. The remaining 20% is incinerated or goes to landfill, but they are aiming to reduce waste to zero by 2020, leading the way in adopting a more energy efficient and less polluting lifestyle. You can see more on Kamikatsu in this video:

If you feel inspired to give zero waste a try, or just to want produce a little less waste, here’s a guide to getting started:


It’s really surprising just how much you can reduce your waste if you are prepared to make an effort! For more information see:

Why I lead a zero waste life – Lauren Singer

MyZeroWaste.com

zerowasteweek 

My Minimalist Baby 

The Clean Bin Project 

The Story of Stuff

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life