Hardly seems like a radical rethink.
Staying within the topic of green computing, what would you consider a radical rethink?
Let's try to stay away from techno-fixes (process/usage-pattern related changes only).
Hope that didn't come across as over-critical. Just meant that within the
context of SPCR, the idea of compromising on speed/etc. for other factors
is fairly standard. (Of course for those touting computers it is a different story.)
Since you asked, I have given some thought to the question. Here is a suggestion:
Mandatory 10 year warranty on consumer electronics
* Include parts and labor
* Include batteries.
* Be transferable without paperwork (i.e. follows the device/components)
* Service on-site (at users option) for items over x lbs (e.g. 30)
if within y miles of a population center.
* If service by mail, manufacturer covers postage both ways.
* Need not cover damage from mis-use or accident
* Should also require that supplies (batteries, cleaning supplies, media,
etc.) be available for at least that long.
+ Discourages disposable electronics
+ Encourages design and manufacture for longevity and repairability
+ Encourages standardization of parts (e.g. batteries)
+ Helps ensure parts availability for repair/replacement
+ Enables/encourages continued use
+ Boost market for second-hand (encourages re-use)
(Increased cost of new, can get parts, repairs, won't be stuck with
disposal costs if it can't be fixed or when no longer useful)
+ Provides employment in user nation
(i.e. not just wherever cheapest to build a factory to manufacture)
+ Allows early adopters/those who need the latest/fastest/whatever
to make that choice. (As compared to rationing.)
I was looking at televisions the other day.
90 day warranty on a $1,000 TV seems absurd.
Our 25 year old TV is starting to go on the fritz.
Are the ones nowadays built to last that long?
Our old waffle iron from '50's or '60s burned out recently.
It had a metal case, and screws so you could open it and clean it/fix it.
New ones have plastic cases with no obvious way to open them.
Similarly the typical life-span of camcorders is ridiculous.
There might be objection that a measure like this would increase the
prices - but given the bent of the country where I live (USA) towards
capitalism, economics seems an appropriate way to encourage reduction
* Getting increased quality (better design/MFG)
* Help curtail the glut of consumer electronics.
* Encourage more careful shopping/consideration of need.
* Consumer electronics is mostly luxury goods
(nobody needs a TV/stereo/ipod/toaster/...)
* Still get low cost items through second hand. (Trickle down
* Make it more economical to change the battery on a watch, rather than
buying a new one. (It can't possibly be less costly to the
environment to make and distribute a whole watch with battery than it
is to just make/distribute the battery.)
Something like this seems easier to implement than the limits on time
or repurchase suggested in the initial article.
* How would one implement limits on how often a user could buy/upgrade?
* How would would limits on use/day be implementable without
unduly affecting usability? (Who would want a computer that would shut
off and say you can't use it anymore today just as you were about to print
your taxes/finish that report/present your thesis/...)
* Also, if I can't use the computer - what will I do? Go play with an
electronic game machine, watch TV, ... Limiting the use of one device
may just mean more devices.
10 years because we have 10 digits. (i.e. slightly arbitrary, but should be a significant period.)
Cost of recycling should be paid up front (when initially purchased).
+ Encourages proper disposal - fee for disposal discourages
re-use, repair; encourages dumping, etc.
In last few years our local solid waste utility has started imposing fees for
proper disposal of CRTs, computers, microwaves and various other
electronics. This discourages people from disposing of things properly
(increases dumping), and discourages re-use/repair. (Where
one might have taken an old computer to recondition or salvage parts,
now it means you have to pay to get rid of it. So fewer people will
recondition old machines, and less market for second
hand machines. You can't hardly give them away.)
I realize suggestion goes beyond just green computing, but it is a
process/usage changer (not a techno-fix), and computing is subsumed by this proposal.
No claim to this idea being radical in the sense of new. If anything it
might be radical in sense of being old (recycled?), and therefore not in
with the cult of new.