Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where Does all that E-Waste Go? Backtalk

What if our devices kept talking back to us after we disposed of them? Our cities, buildings and objects are getting 'smarter' and embedded with an increasing amount of electronic devices. Yet, new devices make old ones obsolete, and carry ever more batteries, rare metals, and other hazardous materials themselves. What happens to this digital refuse at the end of its life? What happens when we give it away, dispose of it properly, or just leave it on the curb? Does it get reused, or does it end up in a global e-waste dump?

We turned used laptops and other electronic devices into independent reporters that document their 'second life', sending us images and GPS coordinates from remote places. The information they report back offers first-hand perspectives - glimpses into e-waste recycling villages, local thrift stores, public schools and libraries - that prompt a reflection on our society's relationship with our electronic devices.

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