March 7, 2016

Dear Division 16,

Last Thursday, we took a field trip to Free Geek, an organization that ethically recycles electronic devices and embraces the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle values of the environmental movement.

Please read the articles below that talks about the effects of electronic waste and connect to the work of Free Geek

For your assignment, please answer ONE of the following questions:

  1. Describe at least one impact of electronic waste on communities.  Be specific.  Explain the reasons why the authors say e-waste is a problem, and how Free Geek is helping to solve this problem
  2. How could producers of electronics change their practices to reduce e-waste? Be specific and make reference to something you learned at Free Geek

I look forward to your responses,




  1. Amythest

    1. E- waste has a really big impact on communities because all of the chemicals and everything else could make people sick and more people who are sick means more people in hospitals and more people in the hospitals means less people doing their jobs and less people doing their jobs means less people making money and less people making money means the stores and the sick people won’t get paid so they won’t be able to buy food or pay rents and less people paying rents means more homeless people and more homeless people means more space being taken up on the streets and more space taken up on the streets means less places to plant trees and less trees means less oxygen on the world for people to breath and on and on. I think that all the stuff I just said, explained what I’m trying to say about e- waste and how bad it actually is. I think that Free Geek has definitely helped that but there isn’t Free Geek on every singe street all over the earth which leads to sickness and a lot of other things. Authors say that e- waste is bad because all the stuff I said but also because people are getting sick, being homeless, not getting paid. Also if every singe human bean was affected by e- waste then even the doctors would get sick which is bad because then there would be no one to cure the sickness.

  2. DancingPorcupine

    1. E-waste has a big impact on communities becasue it can pollute the air and the water that the community needs to keep their neighbourhood sustainable for all the people that live in it. Another problem that this could create is that the landfills or other places that products go when they are not being used anymore could be getting filled up too quickly and there isn’t enough space for it all so it could end up polluting the area. It think that Free Geek is helping these problems by reusing the materials so that they don’t have to go to lanfills and they aren’t polluting the air or water.

    • dickensdiv16

      Pollution is a serious issue, Dancing Porcupine. You’re right to identify landfills as being a problem. Landfills are also connected to the water cycle and to our air as well!

  3. Rouge

    #2 I think that to reduce e-waste the producers of the electronic could come out with a generic computer or cell phone that everyone owns and then the designers can come up with new technology or a new desktop for the computer, using one computer piece. It would be so much more efficient if we could change the way our computer looks or works by switching out one or two little pieces in the computer. If Apple were to come out with a new computer program and all we had to do was open up the computer and switch out the old piece for a the new one we would be re-using the same device for a long time, and we would be able to enjoy new device experiences without producing as much e-waste as we do currently. Another possible solution would be when you get a new phone or computer you would exchange or return your old device to the company and you would then buy your new device. The company could fix and shape up the old device and then re-sell it to other consumers. This would result in much, much less e-waste because we would be re-using all our old electronics and I think that people would buy the second hand electronics more because they are buying it from the company and not off the internet.

    • dickensdiv16

      These are both great ideas, Rouge. It’s remarkable how short a timeline our electronic devices last. It seems as though we should be able to upgrade. Think about how many things in our everyday that this could apply to!


    1. I think that one of the impacts is that the e-waste is effecting developing countries (even though it’s our mess) when we should be taking more of this e-waste because right now we probably aren’t even taking half of it. Right most of the e-waste is being sent to all of these developing countries. Even though they could already be quite polluted from other things. Another impact is that most people don’t probably know what Free Geek is or any other place like Free Geek so there just throwing there old technology out and that’s going to the landfill. Out there that’s probably where all the chemicals will then come out and then they will end up polluting the air there and also they could seeping into the ground which might be soil and then all those chemicals could go into the underground aquifers and then now no one can drink that water. In the article they said that some places ship stuff over seas and that Free Geek dose not do that they try and fix it as much as possible and then try and dispose of it properly. Not like some of the other recycling depots that are just not safe.

    • dickensdiv16

      Great job connecting the ideas from the articles and your learning in the Itadakimasu project, DLTMGYD, as well as back to the hydrosphere project. It’s a really serious inequity that wealthy countries can just ship their problems away and let others suffer the consequences. I’m super glad that places like Free Geek exist that help us be more responsible global citizens.

  5. Ginger

    #2 I think that if electronics producers were to assemble and distribute better quality, longer lasting products, there would be less e-waste. If companies like Apple and Microsoft were to use better quality products that were mined or extracted from a sustainable resource, their company’s income could be higher (because they can charge more for their products), they would have better customer return and wouldn’t be creating as much e-waste for companies, such as Free Geek, to clean up. I think that if large corporations were to create recycling programs that we would return our items to after they have stopped working, they could reuse many of the parts to create new products. As an example, if there was a Microsoft computer that had one speaker that stopped working, you could take it back to Microsoft and they would use the parts that still worked, like the motherboard and router, that way they would be creating less e-waste and creating more money, because technically, they are selling one item many times.

    • dickensdiv16

      Good points, Ginger – sustainably sourced materials is key to improving the way that we use electronics. I wonder how many computers would need to be recycled for the components to meaningfully reduce the need for future resource extraction!

  6. super cheese cake

    #1 E-waste can pollute water and air if we do not take care of it. It can never be decomposed. Because of those dangerous chemical that can effect the soil plants can’t grow. I heard that one battery can make 100m2 soil unusable FOREVER!!!!!!!!???? If the animals drink the water from that piece of land and turns out we’re eating them, we could end up getting very sick and even dying. I think what free geek is trying to is to fix the broken electronics and make it reusable and trying to brake them into pieces and sell them. Or they’re probably updating windows in those old computers so that people will want to buy them.

  7. Shadow145

    #1 The impact e-waste has on the environment and us is that it contaminates the air,water and the soil it can also infect people with cancer if the e waste is not taken care of. Free Geek is helping because they re use the electronics and try fixing them or they will dispose of the item properly if they cant get it fixed.

  8. PandaTush

    2. I think a way that electronic producers could find a way to reduce e-waste is to make the products more sustainable. If this were so, I’m positive the levels of e-waste would reduce and people wouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on new phones. It would help a lot in our economy as well. I think another way to help would be to put more into a new product. Apple has new phones almost every 8 months and though they might be different in size or color, all they did was add a small modification. If companies who did this just waited a bit longer and added more by combining features into one product, it would reduce waste and I think people would enjoy it too. This is something to take into perspective.

  9. Joaquin

    2.How could producers of electronics change their practices to reduce e-waste? Be specific and make reference to something you learned at Free Geek
    #2 The city could give us bins to put are electronics and it can go to

  10. Arcticowl

    sorry about that. 1# I think that it really effects our community in many ways like if someone tried to dispose of a old tv their self
    it would end badly.But it really effects our community cause just sending it to be smashed in some place doesn’t mean its just gone in the air is a bunch a toxic chemicals that can travel back to Canada or the USA . Free geek is really helping out by taking things you thought could never be fixed and fixing them.Free geek also is helping by fixing a lot of things that we were just going to throw out to let a whole community get poisoned,Free geek knows about that and wants to help out as much they can.

  11. Joaquin

    How could producers of electronics change their practices to reduce e-waste? Be specific and make reference to something you learned at Free Geek.
    #2 The city can give us a bin so we can put our electronics in there and then they can pick it up every month; then send it to free geek. Once there they can take the electronics and separate them, they can keep what they can use then send the other stuff to where ever they send the pieces they can’t use. This will make sure that we get rid of electronics the right way and not throw them in to the garbage.


    1. Some people think “oh well the pollution may be going into the water but at least its not going to go into the air”. Well news flash to them: “ever heard of evaporation”. To them, just because 1 system is polluted they think the others are still safe, but the problem is they’re not. If water is polluted because of e-waste it will then evaporate into the air, and the fall back to the ground so really if you pollute 1 of the systems you are actually polluting all 3- the hydrosphere, lithosphere and atmosphere. So that is why organizations- for example free geek, are making it so those systems aren’t polluted.

  13. the Dude

    A huge problem with the age that we are in with technology is that companies like Apple and Microsoft are constantly making new products which means we are constantly throwing away our old ones. This is all part of what we studied, the “design for the dump”. The impact of this in third world countries is an insane amount of pollution. Most workers don’t even have protection and kids walk around wearing breathing masks. There are problems for people’s health and homes. The impact in Canada is that people are finally realizing that this problem exists. A while ago some people started “free geeks”, a program which reduces, re-uses, and recycles old electronics. As a result, less pollution is released into our air and water.

  14. Crazychicken lover

    I think that 2 important things ways that electronics can effect people or a community is economically and physically. Physically is when a worker is handling a dangerous chemical and they are not wearing any protection. So then the dangerous chemicals get into the workers lungs or nose and so can cause further problems in the future for him or her like deformed child at birth, lung problems, brain problems and other stuff that i wouldnt know because i am not a doctor. Economically is when the designers make the products designed for the dump as we already know and so they make the consumers buy more therefore making more money and money flows into the government and our economy boosts a lot.

  15. cooperraine

    i think one of the ways that e waste effects communities is that it really divides the communities into parts because some people want to help recycle and some just throw there garbage out and say its the city fault and that can divide communities into groups witch is never good

  16. baconguy

    #2. To help stop e-waste, producers could try to stop putting in as many valuable metals so people in the other countries like China and India would not be so interested in smashing up computers. One of the things that we learned at Free Geek is that the people who actually work there only earn money from some metals.

  17. Smallbrowndog

    1 E waste can pollute smaller communities in China and Nigeria as they will break open computers, old TVs and handheld devices. The people of the communities will do this because they can extract valuable materials using no protective gear. They will then burn the toxic materials inside the leftovers of the old technology creating toxic

  18. The Baconator

    E waste has an effect on communities because some places in the world need money so they will take our garbage and take out the valuables. Seems perfectly safe. It isn’t, by destroying the electronics they release all the toxic chemicals that have been inside the electronic.
    The authors writing these articles are saying exactly what I just said. They are trying to get the word out that electronics are poisoning countries and that electronic makers need to change their products.
    Free Geek is helping this issue because they are a place that believes in the exact same thing as the authors that wrote these articles and that Free Geek has helped them learn more.

  19. Soccerboy123ABC

    2 I think that if Canada makes a take back law so that you can get it fixed by the companies then they will not make the products as bad for the environment .i also think that if the people who own the co panties go to Guiyang to see how bad the condisions are and they have to stay there for a week or so so that they realise how bad it is there and then they might realize that our world might become what Guiyu is right know. If Free Geek made a place there to take in the electronics we ship over there and they would make more money and fix some of the toxins going in to the atmosphere .If Thierry were more Free Geeks then there would be more education about the place and then the companies could make devices so that there is one part that will dream more than the others and places like Free Geek could get stocked up on those pieces and repair them for people so they could be used more .

  20. Purple Pickle

    #1 in certain places in china people are very sick and unhealthy due to e-waste dumping and burning, one reason the authors say dumping e-waste is a problem is because as I said it’s making people sick and polluting the environment, Free Geek is helping solve this problem because there recycling and reusing old electronics, there also recycling electronics in a safe and pollution free way.

  21. crazymemeslol123

    1.The reason why E-waste is such a bad thing is because they have a an ore inside them call lead I when the the phone or anything old is thrown in the trash it will be going to the dump which will pollute the soil.The reason why the Arthurs say e-waste is a problem is because of the pollution it has made over the years and almost every contrived throw away old phones and stuff away in rivers or any water sores it will pollute it too.

  22. GamingPickle84

    1.E -waste is a bad thing because it has tons of toxic chemicals inside it that poisons people and
    makes dirt very toxic and that kills plants wich makes animals die and plants are sometimes located by rivers so they will get poisoned and killed.
    free geek is taken in computers and disposing them in a non-toxic way

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