Technological advancements have provided plenty of benefits and conveniences, but the byproduct of such progress sometimes crosses the line from practical to wholly unnecessary.
“Local medical center is sending video ads through the mail. It uses a cheap tablet,” they said.
The digital pamphlet contained instructions in English and Spanish on operating the device, and it even had a charging port.
The original poster blurred out the identifying information in the picture, and The Cool Down was unable to confirm the name of the medical center, but the broader point in highlighting an example like this is to critique the practice of using a disposable video brochure in the first place.
A YouTuber called Dielectric Videos analyzed a similar brochure, from companies called LoopNet and CoStar. He said he did not blame companies for using the tech, but he deconstructed one of the brochures and found a lithium battery, LCD screen, backlight, and other useful parts he decided to keep for scrap that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.
“Charging port?” one befuddled Reddit user asked. “Do they expect folks to display this in their home for years to come or something? Or could you imagine getting mail and needing to charge it before you could know what it was about?”
While the advantages of a video advertisement for a medical center sent through the mail remain unclear, the downsides are far more obvious.
The comment section noted that recipients of the tablet could repurpose the device but that they would have to take the device to an electronic waste facility if they wanted to properly dispose of it. However, several people believed that it would likely end up in a landfill instead.
According to the United Nations, the world produced 59 million tons of e-waste in 2019 but collected and recycled just over 17% of that total. With e-waste production projected to exceed 81 million tons by 2030, that makes it the “world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream,” according to the 2020 report.
Not only does electrical and electronic equipment contain hazardous materials like heavy metals and chemicals that can compromise the health of the local ecosystem and workers who handle the waste, but it can also release planet-warming carbon dioxide.
“They’d literally rather spend $$$$$ on this than pay their nurses better,” one Redditor wrote of the digital pamphlet.
“They could’ve just sent a piece of paper or an email,” another added.
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