Now comes the hard part

In the world of processing e-waste, there are some parts that are easier than others.

Joyfully taking out your frustrations on the glass of a broken monitor to reduce it to dust could be construed as an easy job. Provided you wear protective clothing and duck should shards head your way.

Taking apart a beautiful old machine or expensive server is heartbreaking.

Working through 30 identical screens in a row is exhausting.

And now and then one aspect ends up downright shocking.

My partner usually deals with the metal disposal aspect of this endeavour on my behalf - sometimes a male presence in a male-dominated world is a lot more effective. But I recently joined him on a trip to the scrapyard to take steel for recycling.

Perhaps I'm too soft-hearted - maybe I simply "humanize" the machines that cross my workbench each day. What I do know is that I treat those I dismantle with respect and a healthy dose of reverence. I don't break it if I don't have to - bar those stress-relieving screens of course... :-)

But the trip to the metal guys shook me. There it's all just scrap, discards, junk, things to throw on a pile of other things. The carefully packed goods we bring are dumped unceremoniously into a corner or out on the ground. I know it's destined for a smelter eventually, that it will be ground up and re-used for other items, but sometimes it's hard to see just how casually this beautifully crafted technology at end-of-life is treated.

I guess that's the emotionally-draining flip side of "doing good deeds" and saving it from a landfill.

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