More Second Lives....and extending some others.
Today I found out about Gazelle a site that simplifies recycling of electronic goods while giving you a little change to boot. It seems to streamline the process asking a few simple questions, and if you accept the price, they send you a box. Though like many services there is a price for simplicity. The prices aren't great, but it's better than landfill.
With the economy struggling, there will be a rise of the secondary market for goods. I know that I spend a lot of time at used books stores, part of it is to save money, the other part is to save resources, another part is that used stores tend to be locally owned and keeps the cash in the community extending the notion of being a localvore, it also mitigates the risk since I don't pay as much I can take chances on authors that are unknown to me, or indulge in a classic that I normally would not.
Of course, while books may be timeless, there are still great books from the past that are as relevant now as they were back then. Electronics at some point lose any meaningful value. In telecommunications we talk about the last mile problem to get bandwidth to the home, there to is a last step problem for our electronics. A fairly pronounced one will be the ending of Analog Signal television in February 2009. The natural impulse is to upgrade to check out that spanking clear picture, but what can you do about the old TV. Here are some suggestions:
1. TV Converter Box Program is sponsored by the FCC to provide rebates on the purchase of an external Television tuner to receive over the air digital program. This extends the meaningful life of your TV, but it also means that at some point the converter box needs to be thrown away as well.
2. Get Cable Television - most cable systems will provide analog signals for sometime to come meaning your old TV will still work. This too has the warning if your cable company requires you to get a cable box, there is more ewaste. If you are able to get regular television connection without the extra box, this is probably the best way to give your TV new life.
3. Get satellite, same issue as cable tv in that you need a box, but it's possible to buy them second hand. Getting a new system is more ewaste, so I'd pass unless you can find a hand me down.
4. If you are forced to upgrade, or want to upgrade. Be sure to dispose of your old TV environmentally, Yahoo! Green has some tips and links on how to dispose of your TV in the right way. (Standard disclosure, I'm employed by Yahoo!, but this came up as number 3 on a Google search (shhhh... don't tell anyone I did that))
E-waste and space waste is here to stay for a long time, so figuring out ways to reduce it makes sense.