字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 My recent move unearthed a lot of old electronics that I forgot that I had; an old iPad that won't update anymore, an LG G4 with a removable battery, a tablet from a Verizon promotional deal – this was free – and an iPhone 8 with a very cracked screen. I put a lot of things on OfferUp to give them a second life. I also took some stuff to Best Buy for e-waste recycling. I just couldn't believe how much tech trash I really had, especially things like phones and tablets. It seems like every tech company is trying to sell their product as environmentally responsible. That's why Apple claims its latest iPhone 12 lineup comes without a charging block in the box. Taken all together, the changes we've made for iPhone 12 cut over two million metric tons of carbon emissions annually. But that doesn't stop these companies from coming out with a host of new phones every year, and the old ones end up in the drawer or a closet or a box or worse end up in landfills. In 2019, nearly 153 million smartphones were sold in North America, and in 2018, users were keeping their phones for about two years, but that time period is likely to drop as folks upgrade to 5G-capable phones. We don't have the technology to take a truck full of old iPhones, melt them down, grind them up and make new iPhones out of them. It is flat out physically impossible. No one can do it. Apple can't do it. Samsung can't do it. No one can do it. Many of them are no longer made with screws. They're made with glue. Glue makes things very hard to take apart and recover materials from because it degrades the value of the commodity product itself. So smartphones and tablets are challenging. About 6.9 million metric tons of waste was produced in the U.S. alone in 2019. That's about the same weight as nineteen Empire State Buildings. Of that, only about 15 percent was collected for recycling. And some of those minerals and metals being thrown away with our waste aren't just valuable, they're toxic. All of the arsenic, cadmium, lead, beryllium and other hazardous materials that are contained in electronic waste should be kept out of landfills, should be kept out of rivers and lakes, and also should be kept from being dumped into emerging economies such as China, India or Africa. Creating a phone that stayed relevant for four to five years instead of one to two years could make a huge difference. I'm frustrated with the world of technology journalism. Every review of every product with an integrated battery should say this product will stop working in eighteen months. Until phones are made to last much longer, how can companies like Apple, Google and Samsung fix the e-waste problem, and what can we as consumers do to help? We've created a pretty big mess for ourselves when it comes to e-waste. The world created 53.6 million metric tons of waste in 2019, an average of about 16 pounds per person. That number is estimated to increase almost 40 percent by 2030. And this is waste like old smartphone's has gold, iron, lead, copper and other rare and potentially hazardous materials. In fact, the raw materials in the waste thrown away in 2019 comes to about 57 billion dollars. Less than 18 percent of that, about 10 billion dollars was recycled properly. Many, but not all landfills leach into the ground when they're rained upon. It's that leaching process that eventually degrades our environment, ecosystem, vegetation, animals and gets back into our human population. Just to make one device takes a huge amount of raw materials, and that mining process can be harmful to the environment. It takes over two hundred pounds of raw material to make a phone like this. These are one of the most environmentally destructive things that we make because of all the materials that go into it. Mining often uses large quantities of water, acids, other toxic or costly reagents, and all of that presents an environmental challenge to be able to mine responsibly. Some of those mines can even dig up radioactive waste during the mining process. This is the Mountain Pass Rare Earth mine outside of Las Vegas, and it got shut down in the 1990s because they spilled radioactive waste all over the valley floor outside of Las Vegas. Over 100 companies, including Samsung and Apple, have signed on to the Responsible Business Alliance Code of Conduct, which is a set of social, environmental and ethical industry standards. The problem is these companies keep making devices and we keep buying them. In 2020, Apple released five new iPhones and Samsung released 15 new phones. Apple reportedly sold about 196.2 million iPhones, and Samsung sold about 296 million phones in 2019. All told, an estimated 1.48 billion smartphones were sold worldwide in 2019. What do we do with these devices that whether they're new every two or even obsolete every five, they do seem to become obsolete in a relatively short timeframe. In order to have a sustainable relationship with our technology, we have to find a way to make only the products that we absolutely need and know more. So once you've decided to part ways with your device, you could throw it in a box like I used to do. I don't recommend that. But what if it's just a cracked screen or the battery runs out faster than it used to? It should be easier to fix our phones. That's where the Right to Repair movement comes in. Right to Repair says, hey, if you're going to make a complex product, you need to make parts, tools and information available to consumers. Right? Farmers should have the right to fix their own tractors. Consumers should have the right to fix their own iPhones. Kyle Wiens started the popular repair site iFixit as a way to democratize the process. Well, I was trying to fix my laptop and I couldn't find information anywhere. I had dropped it on the power plug and it was a little bit loose. And I learned that the repair manual had been online. But Apple's lawyers had demanded that it be taken off the internet. And that made me really mad. Like, they have this information that could have made my life simpler and they went out of their way to stop me from knowing how to work on my own machine. Planned Obsolescence is the idea that a company strategically slows down or otherwise makes it harder to use older devices. Apple was just accused of this earlier in 2020. Batteries are a consumable, they're a ware item and every manufacturer that sells a product with a ware item should make replacements available. You would not buy a car if the tires were welded to the car and there was no way to change them. Apple has made some changes over the years to make its phones more repairable, like making some parts modular or using pull tabs instead of glues for easy battery remove. Unfortunately, Apple designs it for themselves to repair and not for consumers to repair. So they'll do things like put a proprietary screw on the bottom of the phone that limits your access to it. Luckily, companies like iFixit offer tools, guides and replacement parts for phones, although Apple is not a huge fan of that. There are certain battery and screen functions that only work if you get your battery and screen replaced with Apple products by Apple certified repair people. Many companies claim they want to repair products in-house to maintain quality, and even Apple says it actually loses money in repairs. Well, some of the things that Apple does is really compelling. They're pushing their suppliers to use renewable energy is hugely important. Most of the energy that goes into making this is fossil fuels in China. It's mostly coal power making our phone. But there are a lot of other things that Apple says, like they'll brag about how much recycled material that they collect, that really is a red herring. Apple has expanded its independent repair provider program to 140 businesses and 700 new locations, but it still believes that Apple training is required for safe repairs. As for Samsung, the world's second largest smartphone manufacturer, after Huawei, its phones get even lower repairability scores than Apple from iFixit's analysis. We need to trust individuals to have some agency and not infantilize them and say, oh, you could never turn a screwdriver. I think that's just insulting. And it might take federal regulation to truly force all involved to help fix the problem. Starting in January, you're going to see state legislatures across the country from Massachusetts to California evaluating this issue. And so if you're if you're interested, if you're passionate about it, reach out to your legislator and tell them you support Right to Repair and you'd like them to co-sponsor the bill. If you can't fix your phone or donate it to someone who needs it, recycling is a great option. There were recyclers across the globe that process e-waste; GEEP in Canada, Umicore in Belgium, and ERI, which processes an estimated five percent of all e-waste recycled in the United States. We got in it before there was an iPhone, before there was an iPad, before Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize or an Academy Award for Inconvenient Truth. In a nutshell, ERI receives electronic devices primarily from consumers, businesses and original electronic manufacturers, or OEMs. Consumers drop off their electronics at participating retail stores like Best Buy and Staples, nonprofits like Salvation Army or at their local solid waste authority. Once the devices received, all of the data is destroyed, items are tested for functionality, repaired, refurbished or processed into commodities like steel, plastic, aluminum, copper, gold, silver, palladium and lead. All of these materials that come out of ERI's facilities go to beneficial reuse, like being made into new products and none go into landfills. And Shegerian says they make a good business from this process. We were profitable from the day we started. 17 years later we're still profitable. And there's a lot of room for growth. North America created 7.7 million metric tons of waste in 2019, and only 15 percent of that waste was documented to be collected and properly recycled. All the materials that come out of it, the steel, the plastic, the aluminum, the copper, the gold, the silver, the palladium, the lead is all recyclable stuff, including the glass. I mean, it all can go back for beneficial reuse. None of this stuff ever had to go to landfill. But this type of recycling isn't an option for every component in our phones. Lithium ion batteries have to go through a special recycling process and can be a fire hazard for recyclers. Rare earth elements and magnets like the neodymium in our phone speakers are harder to recycle, too, and many processes require toxic chemicals and acids to separate materials. If you are going to make one of rare earth elements, you should be ready to produce almost 1.6 million gallons of waste gas that contains hydrochloric acid. And then you also think about the portion of that acid that goes into the river and the sewage system, which was estimated to be near 53,000 gallons for only one metric ton. One option is to dismantle. So which means you take this cellphone or the tablet and dismantle it and then bring out the magnets. But we all can agree that that's not efficient. Ikenna Nlebedim's team has been working on a process to separate rare earth materials from e-waste, like hard disk drives, electric motors and old cell phones without the use of mineral acids or other environmentally destructive chemicals that are used in other separation methods. The process basically dissolves the rare earth containing materials in the e-waste and leaves the rest to be collected and further recycled. The recovered materials are more than 99 percent pure, and this process can even recover cobalt when present, which isn't in demand element that has been criticized for the way it's mined and sold. The Ames Lab, where this process was developed, says it's ready to put it into action and it has the support of the U.S. Department of Energy to do so. One thing about the process is that it works. So if you give me a haptics drive today, I can give you the rare earth content tomorrow or next or maybe in a week. So what steps are being taken to minimize all of this e-waste? When we got in the business approximately 17 or so years ago, there wasn't a great call from the OEMs back then that we were involved with for our plastics and metals to go back to them. But now in 2020, the demand is huge. Apple has dropped some recyclers who have unsustainable practices and created robots to help disassemble and recycle about 1.2 million old iPhones a year. For context, Apple reported 900 million active iPhones worldwide at the end of 2018. The iPhone 12 lineup uses 100 percent recycled rare earth materials and its magnets, and the company's ultimate goal is to create a 100 percent recycled iPhone. They come in, they bring their engineers, they see our difficulties. We're very unvarnished with them in terms of giving them feedback because they want it. And the engineers that are developing new products that are three to five years out are assessing what's problematic now, and they're trying to work around that. Recyclers and repairers say we can keep our phones out of landfills by reducing our consumption, using recyclers like ERI and making sure new processes like those from the Ames Lab get into the pipeline. Even those flammable lithium ion batteries can find a new life with the proper procedures. Across the board, we need to see a commitment from these companies to support their customers. The customer centric thing to do is to support the product through its entire lifecycle, not just during the warranty period. And both Apple and Samsung are falling short on that. I believe we're getting there. I see the evolution moving there. We're not there yet. I haven't seen yet myself a hundred percent cellphone made out of recycled material. Same with a tablet or even a printer yet. But I think they're moving there. Recycling is a great option, but there's so much more that needs to be done by the manufacturers to stop the e-waste problem.