I have a box tucked away in the corner of my office. It’s my “one day I’ll get around to it box.” You likely have such a box too, although it could be a bag, or a drawer, or a shed. Wires spew out from it and inside there are old phones, laptops, routers, USB sticks, and various other electronic waste. Some of items work, others do not. And still others have been cannibalised to make my current set up work.
E-waste. I don’t really want to through it into the bin as the devices tend to have batteries which are a bit hazardous. And then there is that niggle about how do I truly delete the data and information I created while using it, off of it. No, I’m not that interesting nor do I really have anything to hide. However, I bank details, details about my children, and friends have been captured, so what do I do?
At the moment, I don’t know so the box remains in the corner of the office. One day I’ll get to it.
For now, it makes me wonder about the electronic waste we create in our aid work. Digital transformation is often wonderful, but it does create a lot of waste too. Ewaste has at least two sides to it – the physical product and then the information that is on the products. Both can be hazardous. And I am not aware of an electronics company taking the cradle to cradle approach. E-waste appears to be an accepted externality or someone else’s problem.
Perhaps it’s our sector’s ‘one day box’.
Perhaps one day, needs to be today?