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The Story of Electronics: Why “Designing for Dump” is Toxic for People and the Planet

November 10, 2010

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Filbert Lam permalink
    November 12, 2010 3:06 am

    I like The Story of Stuff because I find it very true. Nowadays, we see complains about electronics breaking down or lasting for a shorter period of time than they appear to be able to. One example would be the iPod Touch and the iPhones. Many people complain that the battery life is too short and it is difficult to change the battery.The solution that Apple came up with for the iPhone is the new iPhone 4, which according to Apple has a 30% longer battery life. How is that a solution?

    In addition, there is no end to R&D in the electronics industry. Look at digital cameras for example. You’ll notice that Canon comes up with many new cameras every year. And each camera only comes with very minor changes to its functions.

    I feel that citizens of this Earth, we should really differentiate between our needs and wants and look at what’s really important. Saving the environment is everyone’s responsibility.

  2. Mellow permalink*
    November 22, 2010 1:24 am

    Dear Filbert, thank you for your comment and apologies on not getting back to you sooner. Yes I agree with you that people should start to differentiate between needs/wants and look at what’s important, and if I might add – necessary. Unfortunately, in a consumerist society like Singapore… where regular features of our city-state such as the COMEX and IT Fairs, sales that practically go on year round… and not to mention the regular trips up to Malaysia during the “dry seasons” don’t necessarily help in preventing or reducing our materialistic condition. So then, who is to blame for the massive consumption and cradle-to-grave mentality? I think it takes a whole lot more than legislation or mandating rules for people to comply with, regardless of the “successes” we’ve had here in Singapore… people need to start changing their everyday behaviors and consumption patterns. Perhaps The Story of Stuff might be that key factor that could start off a chain of events… who knows? 🙂

  3. Filbert Lam permalink
    November 29, 2010 7:19 am

    Hi Mellow,
    I agree. With the increasing affluence of people (especially in the Developed Countries and the Newly Industrialising Economies), there has been a huge increase in demand for electronic products. From a simple electric fan to TVs and computers, there is a ceaseless demand for such products. And based on the economics principle of demand and supply, the producers would tend to increase supply (through increased production and IT fairs) in order to reach a wider consumer base. I also believe that there is a surplus in the supply because producers are frequently slashing prices in order to cater to those who are not willing to pay a large sum of money for a product. I believe that this has resulted in the people wanting more electronics products than they actually can afford (or more than they actually need).

    This is precisely why there is a need for more public education and legislation, in order to curb the demand. We are all familiar with the 3Rs – which are supposed to guide our consumption and disposal actions to fight climate change. However, we should also Rethink. Do we really need so many electronic products? If we just take a step back and look at the macro perspective, a little difference goes a long way.

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