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  • Susanne

Got Tech Trash?

Cross Culture Concierge wants to be a global force in bridging language and culture. We want to pioneer an international platform for people to share valuable information for the betterment of life, no matter where in the world you are or what language you speak. We can all learn from each other, and even if this blog (admittedly, still in its infancy) goes unnoticed, maybe it will touch a chord with someone somewhere in cyberspace, the same way an email I go this morning has. Ok, I am not trying to be philosophical, but the email and the fact that e-waste (computers, printers, TVs, toasters, cables, cell phones, etc.) is the fastest growing municipal waste and will continue to increase rapidly as we continue to make regular technological advancements, has me typing this blog at 6 am.

Recycling in many parts of the world is virtually non-existent. With nearly 4.7 million tons of waste generated daily in the world, many countries are struggling with poor garbage disposal systems, despite regulations in place. When I lived in India, it was common to see children picking through waste at dump sites, where combustible methane gas was visible rising from the debris. The ‘Garbage City’ in Egypt is no better. It is home to 262,050 people (according to a 2006 census) and has been in the headlines so often that a documentary about it won the Al Gore Reel Award. Legislation and regulation haven’t helped and has done the opposite and actually has impeded recycling efforts.

I have lived in countries where my efforts to recycle were met with a barrage of foreign language, accompanied by wild gestures and a close inspection of my bags. Recycling was serious business in South Korea, and every week, my metal, glass and paper wastes underwent the scrutiny of the Ajumas, an all-female-over-60, garbage patrol, who blocked my direct access to the bins. In Germany I was given a manual, literally thicker than a bible, with strict guidelines addressing what could be recycled. It even detailed how to recycle every part of it, all the way down to the string, staple and tag of a tea bag. And in Michigan, your garbage is not picked up unless properly disposed of in trash bags sold by the county.

My point is that I have lugged old computers, TV sets, even my Betamax and VHS recorder, cassette player and other obsolete electronics from one continent to another because I had no idea how to recycle them. Settled in Florida now, I couldn’t be happier with the recycling programs. This morning’s 6 am email announcing the Recycling Rally had me jumping with joy at the prospect of finally emptying my garage and getting rid of countless boxes filled with e-waste. I thought, just as this simple email got me scrambling for the computer with a shout out to the world, maybe this blog will get someone to recycle their e-waste this Thursday, Feb 23. Take a minute to clean out your garage, clear off your sidewalk of 'free' debris and part with the relics of your past that date you.

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