E-waste talk at Penn today

Today I’ll be presenting about e-waste on the Penn campus for my former department.  Penn folks are invited, but I don’t think it’s open to the public just because of space considerations. As usual, I’ll be talking about how e-waste came to be such a problem and why recycling is not simply the environmentally just thing to do, but also a smart hedge against volatile commodities markets.  I’ll be making the argument that any country that wants to be a serious player in tech manufacturing ought to work on making new electronics out of old electronics.

I’ve done a little bit of reading to catch myself up on the changes in the rare earth market and e-waste landscape since I finished my capstone project.  I found that the rare earth shortage I wrote about has lead manufacturers to find ways to use less of them in the past six months, and now prices have dropped quite a bit.  They are still something like 8-12 times higher than they were a few years ago, but this new volatility has investors and mining companies on the move yet again.  This kind of instability doesn’t seem like a tenable foundation for a major industry.  We’ll see what happens next.

Here’s an announcement about the talk from the Vitale Digital Media Lab at the Penn Library.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.