By Kim Fuller Published in the Vail Daily
The last time you got a phone upgrade, did you properly recycle your old device? Imagine that old phone, broken up into pieces and contributing to the electronic waste piling up beneath the footsteps of a child in a Chinese village. Just like trash, what we dispose of doesn’t simply disappear — it may go away from your life, but as the film “Death by Design” points out, your “away” is someone else’s “here.” In this 73-minute documentary, filmmaker Sue Williams explores the cost of digital dependency on lives and the environment.
Loaded Joe’s hosted a screening of the film on Tuesday as a part of the Sustainable Film Series put on by Walking Mountain Science Center. A discussion following the film proved what seemed to be a shared feeling throughout the audience on Tuesday evening in Avon: Our devices change our lives and our planet in more ways than we can see. Reassuringly, however, Walking Mountains and sustainability programs director Melissa Kirr offered members of the audience resources for ways individuals can do their part to minimize the impact of e-waste on this world.The film disclosed disturbing details about the heavy metals and microchips encased in electronics — materials that can affect our health, the health of the environment around us and those that can leach out toxic chemicals if not disposed of or recycled correctly. Even if we do the best job we can at recycling our devices (this is actually required by Colorado law), we rarely consider the people who helped produce them or the parts of our planet from which those heavy metals were extracted.
In “Death by Design,” Williams sheds some light on these topics by revealing the hidden production cycle of electronics. “I always look at longevity when buying things,” shared Edwards resident Loren Dumont after the film. “This makes me want to be even more vigilant about recycling everything.”
Walking Mountains Science Center works closely with other local organizations to encourage proper disposal of electronic waste in Eagle County. Eagle County residents and businesses may recycle their old electronics at the Eagle County Hazardous Waste Facility, located at the landfill (815 Ute Creek Road, Wolcott). The cost to recycle e-waste is 20 cents per pound. Eagle County Waste Wizard is a resource that can be used to find out where to recycle electronics. Download the app on your phone and punch in any material and it will tell you how to properly recycle it and where. “Death by Design” will be featured again at The Dusty Boot in Eagle on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. as a part of the Sustainable Film Series. The Sustainable Film Series is an annual project of Walking Mountains Science Center intended to raise awareness and encourage community conversation about pressing issues impacting our world.