Kermit was right.
I've been looking for ways to be more environment-friendly in my life and uncovered a few ways I can do better (ok, more than a few - hush!). However, it occurs to me that some "green" solutions aren't necessarily much better than the things they replace.
Take, for example, the biodegradable laptop
. (Aside: people still call them laptops these days?) While I agree that having a case that will break down is stellar, what about all the parts inside? That LCD isn't going to go away on its own. No matter how 'green' the product is, you still have to rely on the people who toss it out to be responsible and recycle the thing properly.
That particular article struck a note with me since last month we spent time at Goodwill's GreenWorks disassembling computers that people had brought in as donations. Over 85% of the things they get are not re-saleable, either due to outdated technology or condition of the parts. Some of the conditions could be down-right disgusting --- people, please PLEASE do not smoke around your electronics. If you do, open up your computer case to see the tar inside, and then realize that it is also coating your lungs. Uck. Aside from the tarry cases, there were also the insanely dusty cases - ones where we were surprised that massive dust devils didn't start whirling around the minute we opened them. Several of the group had not ever cracked their own computer cases before, but now they've all gone out and purchased compressed air to do a thorough cleaning.
At any rate, the disassembly is to remove the plastic from the metal, so that each part can be recycled separately. All the electronic boards and components containing potentially hazardous material were also removed - some for resale, some for a separate process (which I hope involves recycling and not just dumping in a hazardous waste lot). The money they make from recycling the plastics and metals separately is greater than what they could get by just selling the full computers for scrap, and they put that money back into community assistance projects.
In the long term, I guess I do care whether my electronics can be recycled, but I also know that there are people out there doing something good about it.