What To Do With Our Piles of Obsolete Electronics

Brandes Superior Matched Tone Headphones circa 1919-1920
An early set used in radio; headphones = head + phones

Itching to clear out some of your electronics? Items past their useful life or simply cluttering up your already storage-challenged floating home? Grab a cardboard box or tote and start piling up any electronics you no longer use. Bring your e-waste to the pop-up collection point at the corner of the Waldo Point Harbor parking lot—where Bridgeway meets Gate 6 Road—Saturday October 22 —from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The launch of the new Apple iPhone 7 means e-waste is suddenly in the news. If you haven’t been following, Apple, in its shift towards wireless technology, has jettisoned the headphone jack, and cable-connected headphones as we know them, in favor of wireless earbuds and headphones, along with updated (lightning connector) headphones. The new technology conjures up visions of e-waste: mountains piled high as currently available headphones and earbuds—with their tangle of cable—become out-dated and tossed aside.

It’s the nature of electronic goods to evolve. Think back to the first iPods, or further to the Walkman. Going back even further, headphones have been in use for over 100 years. The phone jack dates back to the late 1800s and the name itself derives from the reason it was invented in the first place—for use in telephone exchanges. So just as manually-operated switchboards are a thing of the past, the headphones in use today will continue to evolve until they too become obsolete.

How we handle e-waste into the future will become an increasingly pressing question. In the meantime, we have it in our means to keep much of our electronic waste out of landfill and redirect the materials towards a second life—through e-waste recycling.

This e-waste collection is a joint venture between the Conservation Corps North Bay, the FHA and the FHA Environmental Committee. Click on this link to view the earlier post, or to check what is or what isn’t eligible to be recycled: Save the Date: e-Waste Collection Oct 22

Click on any of the terms used above—headphones, phone jack, telephone exchanges—to go to the corresponding Wikipedia page.