Forging the future of e-waste with Benjamin Von Wong
Resources are limited and finite, and we live in a “throwaway” society — it’s more convenient to toss and replace something old than repair it or give it a reimagined second life in another capacity. Today’s technology has reinforced this mind-set. We’ve been trained to accept planned obsolescence. That new gadget is one year old and getting buggy? Toss it and upgrade. You could build entire cities out of the electronics we haphazardly throw into landfills. Benjamin Von Wong built sci-fi portals.
In a partnership with Dell, Von Wong uses his limitless imagination and energy to illustrate how much e-waste can power the future if harnessed correctly. The trick is in getting that waste recycled in the first place. “We believe that if there was a way to showcase these old electronics’ potential, maybe people would think about giving them a second chance,” says Von Wong.
Currently, less than 15% of e-waste is recycled each year. That’s millions of dollars of hardware and production costs wasted instead of put into new electronics. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that for every one million cell phones that are recycled, Americans are throwing away more than 800 lbs of gold and silver. In the United States alone, we throw away 9.4 million tons of electronics every year.
9,400,000 tons. That equals approximately 47,000 adult blue whales. Every year.
And for every piece of electronic waste that’s recycled — and recycled correctly — there are thousands more that aren’t. Those electronics leach heavy metals and other toxic substances into the ground.
To bring more attention to this growing issue, Von Wong is using his creative powers to reimagine e-waste gathered by Dell’s recycling program. He hopes the stunning photography will help spark conversation among everyone who see it, and, ultimately, inspire those viewing the work to become more active in recycling e-waste properly.
For those who want everyday inspiration, Von Wong is giving away three metallic prints from this series. As a SmugMug Ambassador, Von Wong trusts the printing quality and practices SmugMug offers. Each print is rendered in stunning depth and detail on scratch-resistant aluminum and signed by Ben. Visit here to enter for a chance to win some gorgeous motivation to recycle e-waste.
Want to learn more about Benjamin Von Wong and his efforts to improve the world through photography? Visit his site at www.vonwong.com.
Written by Kerry Ellis
Mar 5, 2019 · 3 min read