Transitioning to digital copies and saving the environment…

When digital copies of games and blu rays first came on the market, I remember thinking how movies and games, downloaded digitally, wouldn’t feel like your own; the struggle to remove the plastic from a CD, DVD, or BluRay would be gone; the feeling of owning the copy wouldn’t be there. But now, I own several digital copies of movies and games and I find hard copies of the previously mentioned burdensome, hard to organize, and easily damageable.

But what I didn’t know was that my change to digital could have an impact on the environment: “future archaeologists will note that at the tail end of the 20th century, a new, noxious kind of clutter exploded across the landscape: the digital detritus that has come to be called e-waste” (Carroll, 2015). E-waste is real, growing, and I would argue, not a high priority for consumers currently.

Working as an educator, I am aware of the process of the proper disposal of e-waste at the workplace. Home consumers, on the other hand, must be educated and make a conscious choice to dispose of e-waste properly. “Televisions, computers and other electronic items contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury and cadmium. They pose a threat to the environment if buried in a landfill”(Edmonton.ca, 2015).

In the Science 9 curriculum, students “analyze and evaluate mechanisms affecting the distribution of potentially harmful substances within an environment’ (Alberta Education, 2014). An amazing learning opportunity for students is the Waste Tours put on by the City of Edmonton at the landfill. This type of hands-on learning experiences will have lasting effects on students as they can see the consequences of the waste they produce especially waste that can potentially be substituted with digital copies and waste that needs to be properly disposed of (i.e. e-waste).

Pile of Waste - Electronic Waste Documentation (China: 2007)

Education.alberta.ca,. (2015). Retrieved 10 April 2015, from https://education.alberta.ca/media/654829/sci7to9.pdf

Edmonton.ca,. (2015). City of Edmonton :: E-Waste (Electronics) Recycling. Retrieved 10 April 2015, from http://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/service-e-waste-recycling.aspx

Carroll, C. (2015). High-Tech Trash – National Geographic Magazine.Ngm.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 10 April 2015, from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/01/high-tech-trash/carroll-text

 

Image found at http://jjrobins.ucalgaryblogs.ca/files/2015/04/guiyu-ewaste.jpg

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