‘The Story of Stuff’ 2.0: An E-Waste Sequel
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Just a few weeks ago, I was despairing over how difficult it is to recycle e-waste in New York City even though nearly every computer and MP3 player package today has a cute little green admonition to “please recycle.” This week, I see a bit of light on the horizon.
Annie Leonard, who brought the country the viral video “The Story of Stuff,” has a new film out this week called the “The Story of Electronics: Why Designed for the Dump Is Toxic for People and the Planet.” Take a look. Do I see a consumer movement for greener electronics in the making?
Last year, my colleague Leslie Kaufman wrote about the profound impact that the 20-minute “Story of Stuff” was having in America’s classrooms. She described it as a “cheerful but brutal” assessment of how much Americans waste, prompting even 9-year-olds to think twice about each car trip to the big-box store.
Ms. Leonard’s equally brilliant new cartoon video specifically targets e-waste. She describes the familiar cycle of buying a new gadget that rapidly becomes outdated, requiring you to buy a new gadget (easy, if you have the money) and dispose of the old one (as we’ve said, really hard). Most all of these wonderful electronic items — and they are wonderful, I confess, as I write on my much-loved MacBook Pro — contain heavy metals, toxic chemicals and flame retardants.