What if people were given the gear and facilities to safely repurpose e-waste? Exploration is key. If we can gain a better understanding of hazardous materials rampant in e-waste, like mercury, we could maybe rebalance earth's contaminated water.
We can manage e-waste!
1) Public receptacles for e-waste. (Everywhere in the world.)
2) Give people access to safety gear and facilities. (Especially the people that are already doing this work without safety gear.)
3) Reverse engineer e-waste and repurpose both chemicals and materials.
4) Create spaces for innovation so that normal people can make new discoveries and do so safely.
I am reminded of the history of penicillin. Through observation of some microscopic goo, Fleming
"observed that a plate culture of Staphylococcus had been contaminated by a blue-green mold and that colonies of bacteria adjacent to the mold were being dissolved. Curious, Alexander Fleming grew the mold in a pure culture and found that it produced a substance that killed a number of disease-causing bacteria." Fleming was curious and had the resources to write down a life-saving observation that has changed the history of human health. 1928 was not so long ago. The discovery stewed for 30 years until penicillin hit them market in 1948. The point is that biological discoveries are important and require a safe place to observe, explore and write down experiments.
In the facilities that reverse engineer e-waste and repurpose both chemicals and materials, what if someone were to make a discovery in regard to mercury? (Mercury is in batteries and other e-waste stuff.) People are curious!
If we can create a space to study and explore hazardous materials is it possible to innovate a solution for our contaminated waters?
(In the future...robots and robot dogs will do dangerous things like sorting e-waste and intergalactic space explorations.)