If you haven't yet seen The Story of Electronics, you should. The Story of Electronics is part of Annie Leonard and Free Range Studio's Story of Stuff Project, a non-profit dedicated to investigating our relationship with the stuff we own and the consequences of consumer habits. The video is a great primer on e-waste issues.
Leonard argues that products are "designed for the dump"—companies expect to be able to grow profits at the same rate that processing power grows, which requires that consumers buy new products regularly rather than repairing the devices they already have. But the resulting waste is toxic.
In the video, she addresses complex issues succinctly without over-simplifying:
There are billions of people out there who want access to the incredible web of information and entertainment that electronics offer. But it's the access they want, not all the toxic garbage.
In response, she promotes manufacturer take back programs, which we will consider in more detail in another post soon.
The Story of Stuff videos make environmentally sound product design and responsible consumer behavior interesting, fun, and shareable.