Apple's rollout of the new iPad comes with the usual fanfare, but Bryan Walsh at Time raises a related problem that gets only a fraction of the same attention: our rising piles of electronic garbage and their very real environmental risks. These days, tablets and smartphones aren't meant to be used for the long term, he writes, and those old ones have to go somewhere. Too often, it's the local landfill or a slum in a third-world nation.
Walsh is an iPhone 4S owner, not a Luddite, so "this is just a reminder that our acceleration addiction to consumer electronics does have a cost—albeit one we can mitigate with the right steps," he writes. A good first one: Educating people that they shouldn't just dump their old phones in the trash. Others: Better recycling programs from tech companies, free pickups for old devices, and improved recycling facilities for poor countries to which we ship this stuff. "E-waste isn't going away," writes Walsh, but we can blunt "the worst of it, if we care."