Unconsumption

This page is gradually being replaced by two related projects.

Just launched in early 2009: unconsumption.tumblr.com.

And now under construction: The Unconsumption Wiki. The information below is slowly being ported over there. So visit that site and join in.

—what follows may be choppy while the porting goes on. forgive me. –

Category: Computers and gadgetry

This site, Earth 911, offers a kind of recycling-center search engine: You plug in what you’re getting of, and our location, and see if there’s a drop point near you. (I  haven’t tried it out.) The EPA lists partners in its Plug-In To eCycling program here. (Both of these resources via twigg hugger.)

A site called Computer Take Back offers information about “which computer companies will take back your old computer, what services they offer, how to uses them, and how to get free recyling.” There’s also a list of articles, with links, on the subject of “e-waste.”

Twigg hugger reports a positive experience dealing with GreenDisk, a self-described “place to responsibly and securely dispose of all your computer-related waste, spent supplies and obsolete accessories.”
The site Wireless Recycling has this page that allows you to download instructions on how to erase data from your phone before you get rid of it (which seems like a good idea), and then type in your Zip Code to find a cell phone donation location near you. (Via PC World.) PC World also has this list of cell phone recycling options.

Another cell-phone-specific initiative (of Earthworks) is called Recycle My Cell Phone.

Another site, Reycling For Charities, invites you to: “Donate your old cell phone, PDA, digital camera, iPod, ink or toner cartridge to be recycled and benefit the charity of your choice!” (Via DoTheRightThing.com.)

A UK outfit called Envirofone touts itself as “the best way to get money for your old mobiles and help the environment.” It does not appear to operate in the U.S. (Here’s a Popgadget writeup.) Another UK project is Reverse Vending Machines, “designed to automate the collection and identification of used beverage containers, issuing a refund receipt or money.” (At least it looks to be a UK thing.) Here’s a Treehugger bit on that.

Ebay has an “initiative” called Rethink that’s aimed at the e-waste issue. According to this old press release, at least, it wa launched in October 2005, to address the “understanding of electronic recycling and reuse options.” There’s a list of places to donate, and another of recycling-oriented organizations.

Category: Other

Sestinaverde found a home for “several lengths of fabric I was never going to use” at Materials For The Arts.

Bookins is “an easy to use book swap site,” Sestinaverde writes. (More about Bookins on Sestinaverde’s site, twigg hugger. A contributor to twigg hugger’s comments sections mentions another service, PaperBack Swap.)

Another book (etc.) option: Jessie of Eco Encore, responding to the original Unconsumption post, explains: “Eco Encore is a nonprofit organization that collects and resells used books, CDs, DVDs, and software. Proceeds from sales go to local environmental organizations.

PSFK had this rundown of barter-based examples (all in the UK, looks like), including Read It Swap It, which is book-focused, and Swapz, which bills itself as “the biggest, most established and original direct swap website where you can swap anything with anyone.”

Artish Projects

More broadly, but within the context of stuff that’s used up or doesn’t work anymore, a project called The Art of Recycling looks like a sort of “awareness”-focused kind of thing. Making recycling cool, maybe? Looks like there’s also a kind of store or project involving the selling of cool stuff made from recycled materials. That’s fine, but it’s not my interest here: I’m not interested in things Joe Consumer can buy (in this rare & particular instance), I’m interested in how Joe Unconsumer can get rid of stuff.

Zeke in Montreal points out the “tangentially related” The Exchange Project, explained in this interview on the Zeke’s Gallery site.

I’m not sure how to reckon with things like “make your old CDs into coasters or a disco ball,” as suggested here on Worldwise (via TreeHugger).