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Opinion: How About a Surcharge for Crummy Technology?

A fellow troublemaker recently sent me a news clip regarding a bill just introduced into the Oregon Senate on behalf of the Committee on Environment and Land Use. The bill, if passed, would require "sellers of certain electronic products to charge first in-state buyers an advance recycling fee to cover the costs of a program for collection, reuse and recycling of products."

Basically, the measure would add $10 to the price of every computer and monitor sold in the state, and more for other electronic products "not yet identified." The money would fund the Electronic Product Stewardship Account that would in turn implement the recycling program.

As I looked at the list of products to be included in the $10 surcharge program, which included "central processing units whether sold alone or with accessories, computer monitors, laptop computers, televisions with video displays having a viewable area greater than nine inches when measured diagonally, and computer printers," I found myself wondering about storage components.

Perhaps I was feeling the pain of technological bigotry, having hung out with lowly storage folk for too long and listened to their incessant complaints of being treated like second-class citizens responsible for inconsequential peripherals. Doubtless, I am sensitized to the fact that storage administrators, where such a formal designation even exists, are the poor stepchildren of IT. Although they are tasked with managing and protecting an organization's most irreplaceable non-human asset--data--these folks often labor in isolation and without formal education or training. You could argue that leaving out any mention of storage components from the Oregon bill was just another snub in a long history of snubs.

Now, this might be as good a reason as any to be put off by the wording of the Oregon bill, but that wasn't really my concern. Actually, I wondered why the environmentalists didn't include storage in their list of stuff for a completely different reason.

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