How can e-waste and discarded electronics be managed?

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Mint for e-waste management - What's my electronic footprint?

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 25 Aug, 2018

What if there were a Mint.com style dashboard where users have a view to their entire electronic inventory, what that inventory means in terms of sustainability (each smartphone has an LCD, lithium-ion battery, circuit board), and multiple options for managing/discarding their old electronics.

This is a bit of a spinoff from "Gaming for E-Waste Behaviour Change", based on the premise that giving users information about their actions and the effect of their actions can help them change their behaviour.

Example User Scenario

Roberta has a collection of old laptops and phones that she would love to get rid of, but she's hesitating because she's heard that some parts of the laptop can be harmful.  She's not sure, but she has a discomforting feeling that simply tossing them out would be wasteful and perhaps irresponsible.

She's heard from a friend that there exists a website that can help her find disposal options quickly and easily. 

Roberta finds the website, registers, and finds that she first needs to add her electronics information to the site.  To her delight, she sees that she can simply take a picture of her electronics pile, and the site will automatically identify and catalog the items for her.

The site takes a moment to compile the information, then shows her a listing of all her devices.  She's also intrigued by a "sustainability score".  As she clicks for more detail, she gets an overview of the e-waste components in her inventory, their impact on the environment, how she compares to the average person in her area.

Roberta also sees that she can actually add all of her current electronics and when she does this, she is taken aback by the sheer volume of electronic components owned by her and her family, and the potentially harmful impact it can create.  

What she really likes about the site however, is that for each device she is able to retrieve multiple options for getting rid of them.  When she looks at the details for her old laptop, she sees the resale value, tax break for donation, or a micro-donation site where she can choose the recipient of her laptop - a village school seeking wireless computers for their remote classroom.

Each of these options raises her sustainability score, provides a responsible way to recycle her device, and provides some monetary value.  As she is about to logout, the site also offers to post her sustainability score online, and an option to encourage her friends to join the site, find out their sustainability scores, and how to maximise the disposal of their old electronics.

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