November 10, 2011

eWaste and an Annie Leonard eNcounter

from "The Story of Electronics" by Annie Leonard and The Story of Stuff Project
But first, the encounter. I ran into Annie Leonard, creator of the Story of Stuff, at the dog park not long ago. Okay, less ran into and more sat near her. But, it was still apropos because we "dog-parkees" have spoken of her on more than one occasion. If you're not familiar with Annie, you can check her out in the NY Times, for which she has written, or in this feature in Time Magazine.

Annie first became the subject of park chatter when a couple of the dog parental-unit types were fired up over enviro/social justice issues. Chocolab Penelope's parental unit drives an electric car similar to Annie's, and since she happens to live in our neighborhood, he explained, we might notice her e-auto parked 'round the corner sometime.

Ever since, my black Jack (labra-dane prince) and I have walked the 'hood a plenty, hoping to sniff out an inkling of Annie's tiny eCar and quaint craftsman (which appeared in an SF Chronicle article in 2009). I always thought I'd have lots to bark at Annie if I spotted her. No clue about what exactly, but I thought it would be good to find out.

I got the chance to find out. I was howling away to this lab pup's owner about her friendly guy's confidence & thinking she looked so familiar (the owner, not the pup) familiar that I asked if she was a regular. Nope.

We carried on puppy talk a while when it hit me: "you're Annie," I blurted, as if we'd been introduced through friends. She looked at me, bewildered by the familiarity no doubt, and caught off-guard. "Yes - do I know you," she continued.  I explained that I meant to say "you're Annie Leonard" as a proper fan would've done. What I did not explain was that I had thought it better to act casual by purposely dropping her last name. EHHHHHHHHTT!!! Not my finest move. Nevertheless, she easily warmed and appeared to be more flattered than annoyed, so I babbled on again, trying to act casual, again. I'm still not sure how that went over.

By the end of the encounter, though, I had some encouragement and some tips on vermi-composting, which I needed--because in fact, I've given up own composting. Of late, I simply scurry off with my little food scraps pale in the dark of night to a neighbor's green bin (for city composting) . Why don't we have our own green city bin?...because we're supposed to be making our own compost, of course. But the fruit flies won the first round. Maybe, I'll give them a run for their money again in spring. Oh, and the neighbor's bin, that's V's. V knows I use her bin a bit, a bit of her bin that I've been in. But I still scurry in the night. With the recent shame of failure and all, it just feels right. (UPDATE: our home has now been successfully composting since summer 2012).

The other gift I came away with was the desire to revisit Annie's website. And I'm so glad I did. The SoS project has been producing new stories regularly.  I watched the Story of Electronics, then visited the learn more page. What useful information! Seriously, I've been saving up my eRecycling in an old trunk. But now I know more about what to do with it, and what will happen to it once I pass the eWaste on. Where we donate it matters. I didn't know that. Here are some other great, related links: e-StewardsDell Re-Connect, and last but not least, Make it Fair.

You're probably ahead of me here. But, I'll ask anyway. What's your eWaste plan? Does your home have a plan, or a little bin of batteries and an attic holding outlived equipment?