Letting Go and Feeling Guilty About It

Letting go can be very health. Especially when it’s letting go of clutter and junk that we all tend to accumulate around our homes. Today I did an overdue purging of electronic stuff that has built up. It felt good to get rid of stuff once and for all, and do it responsibly by taking advantage of an e-recycling drive my city was holding.

And yet I feel guilty because of the experience.

As I pulled up to the middle school where the event was going on, I saw pallets and pallets of electronic waste. Stacked 5-6 feet high and wrapped with cellophane to hold it all together. A pallet of printers, another of desktop computers, another for stereo equipment. What waste we produce… I only hope that the recycler actually does it responsibly and doesn’t just ship everything to some foreign country.

Have you ever wondered where all this electronic waste goes?  For an eye opening reality, watch the three videos from the previous link…

What made me feel most guilty was that a lot of the waste that I was dropping off, wasn’t really waste.  The 17″ Sony CRT Monitor was actually sitting on my desk, in use, just 3 days ago.  Once my new monitor arrived, I called around asking for places that I could donate the old, still working, one.  No one wanted it.  I had a still working, but low quality, HP printer that I had upgraded last year.  Still working, but of no functional value to anyone.  Same thing for the HP scanner, still in the box with manuals and software (though granted it was over 7 years old).

I actually had a sinking feeling as I watched one of the crew at the recycling event pick up the monitor that has served me well for so many years, drop it down on the stack of other monitors (screen first) and cut the monitor cable off it.  Have I gotten too nostalgic in my aging years?  Or has the current state of the world gotten me to look that much more critically at my choices?

I’m not pushing this stuff around any more which feels like a weight off my shoulders, but replaced with a weight on my heart after my e-cycling experience.

(On a happy note, at least my wife’s old Minolta Maxxum camera was saved.  Thanks to following his recent adventure with film on Twitter, I made a last minute call to Brian Auer of Epic Edits and found a new home for the camera body.  So at least I know that it will live on in the hands of another photographer!)

2 Replies to “Letting Go and Feeling Guilty About It”

  1. Absolutely understand the feeling. The feeling of adding to the throw away society is probably what most keeps me from upgrading. I know that the old stuff won’t really be going to re-use.

    On a separate note if anyone has some old laptop that still works I have a non-profit that can use it. Only requirement is that it has Wi-fi (don’t even care if the battery works).

    Its easy to recycle, hard to find a new use and purpose.


  2. I read that CBS news article also and was pretty blown away about that city in China and how much electronic waste is becoming like this epidemic to current society. The good news is that there are several sites where you can recycle used electronics. Check out Cashforlaptops.com! They will give you cash for broken laptops, blackberrys, smartphones, iphones, and ipods.


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