Archivo de la etiqueta: RAEE/e-Waste

Speculative Historiographies of Techno-Trash

We are soliciting personal histories of technological use, disuse, and disposal. Send us your stories and photos, and help raise awareness about the social and environmental impacts of our personal technologies and media practices.

Speculative Historiographies
of Techno-Trash

This is a project lead by Mél Hogan and Andrea Zeffiro.

A recent study completed by the Solving E-Waste Problem (StEP) initiative estimates that the amount of global electronic waste will increase by 33 percent, from the 49 million tons tracked in 2012 to over 65 million tons by 2017 (StEP 2013). Given the magnitude of waste, what if we were required to physically store and care for our personal devices, such as cell phones and desktop computers, long after these machines served their intended function? In such an imaginary, unusable technologies remain within our sights, and in our sites.

This project is an opportunity to think through this query by digging into the numerous layers in which our personal technologies and media practices contribute to a mode of ‘technological trauma’ and ‘drama’ that is best described as the trauma and drama of disembodied techno-trash (McLuhan 1962, 1965; Pfaffenberger 1992).  For McLuhan, it was electric speed that inundated even the most remote areas in the world with Western technology. Today, the West continues to deluge the Global South with its devices and gadgets, but more often than not, these technologies quickly become obsolete and inoperative, or simply, trash. Electronic waste is increasingly unloaded in countries like China, Ghana, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Vietnam, where facilities or regulations governing recycling initiatives are lax.

Weaving together personal accounts of technological ownership, this project speculates on the life cycles of our devices and gadgets, and postulates not only the environmental burden of contemporary consumption practices, but also the scale of environmental trauma and drama that is symptomatic of global capitalism.

We are soliciting personal histories of technological use, disuse, and disposal.

Send us your stories and photos, and become a participant in raising awareness on  the social and environmental impacts of our personal technologies and media practices.

Questions to consider include but are not limited to:

• What technological devices do you use on a daily basis?
• How did you acquire these devices?
• How often do you change/update your phone/laptop?
• What usually makes you want to change your device?
• What devices are you no longer using, but haven’t disposed of?
• How have you disposed of your devices?
• Where do you dispose of them?
Do you consider the social and environmental impacts of your devices?

TEAM: Techno-Trash is a research project initiated by Mél Hogan and Andrea Zeffiro. As the project evolves, the research team will expand to include a network of scholars, activists, artists, and practitioners invested in topics that intersect the perils of technological waste.

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El hospital de los ordenadores retro



Esa machacona versión chiptune de Somewhere over the rainbow lleva sonando tanto tiempo que ya ni se escucha. Es como si esa tonada aguda y constante fuera el silencio. Bobby esquiva las tuercas y los tornillos que vuelan hacia él mientras salta de andamio en andamio. Ya casi ha llegado a su destino, pero el enemigo no da tregua. Lanza uno de sus arcoíris contra un robot que revienta en mil pedazos y lo utiliza como escalera. Ve la meta, casi está ahí. De pronto, un disparo salido de la nada le alcanza por la espalda. Era su última vida. Fin de la partida.


Rubén le arrea un guantazo al Spectrum que le trajeron los Reyes Magos hace unas pocas semanas. Rainbow Islands no es un juego fácil y le había costado llegar tan lejos… El cabreo está más que justificado, pero el ordenador no opina lo mismo. El puñetazo no le ha sentado bien y se ha estropeado. Se enciende, pero a los cinco minutos se calienta y deja de funcionar. El Spectrum recién estrenado de Rubén acabó guardado en un armario y ha pasado allí los últimos veinte años. Ahora reconoce que aquella rabieta “fue una chiquillada”.

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The Glitz and Glamour of the Scrap-Metal Trade

The Glitz and Glamour of the Scrap-Metal Trade

For a journalist and his wife, the garbage and recycling business brings them close to a world of fortunes made and lost.
Nov 11 2013,
The scrap-metal business, despite its unglamorous connotation, has minted no small number of very rich people. (Adam Minter)

The Saudi Arabian scrap-metal tycoon I met 30 minutes ago is explaining why his brother’s camel cost a million dollars. “The face,” says Mr. M with a happy smile. “It has the perfect face.” He pulls out an iPhone and scrolls through photos of humpy ungulates yawning against blue skies and white sands. I pretend I can tell them apart.

It’s been like this our entire stay at the Pudong Shangri-La in Shanghai, home of the 2013 Bureau of International Recycling convention. Dinner with an American scrap-metal processor whose brother bought a castle in France. Drinks with a Taiwanese scrap broker who’s gotten fabulously wealthy importing American scrap into China. Sightings of so-and-so recycling magnate who splurged on a hill and snowmakers in Southern California so his kid could have a ski party for his birthday.

One night, a group in the hotel lobby catches my eye: dapper men in crisp suits; lithe, lovely women draped in silk and jewels. “Who are they?” I ask my husband Adam Minter, a scrap journalist. There is an aura of elegance, of celebrity around them that tells me these aren’t corrupt Chinese officials with their two-bit mistresses. Adam whispers a name in my ear. “Very rich, very influential Chinese scrap family,” he says. “They’re very nice people, too.”

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Visualizing The World’s E-Waste Problem

Every day, we throw out an enormous amount of precious metals that are hiding inside our old electronics. Just how much? This infographic will shock you, especially if you like gold.

Electronics supply chains have become a popular topic of discussion over the past few years, mainly because of Apple’s labor and environmental issues in its factories. But the other end of the supply chain–what happens after electronics are tossed in the trash–isn’t talked about nearly as much. We’re as guilty of that as anyone. And yet, e-waste is a really, really big deal.

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Frost & Sullivan: High Demand for e-Waste Recycling in Europe–sullivan-high-demand-for-e-waste-recycling-in-europe-225917351.html

— Germany, France, Italy and Central and Eastern European countries offer immense growth opportunities

LONDON, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Electrical and electronic equipment account for the fastest growing volume of waste generated. Consequently, managing this waste has become imperative to limit hazardous elements and to decrease illegal dumping and export to cheaper countries. The increasing volume of waste electrical and electronics equipment (WEEE) coupled with scarcity of precious metals, high cost of mining, and limited landfill capacity have lent momentum to the European WEEE recycling market. The need to recycle e-waste has prompted waste management companies to optimise collection systems as well as recovery and recycling technologies, further aiding market development in the region.

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