Browsing Arizona Anthropologist: Issue #16 (2005) by Authors
Computer Recycling: Networks and Possibilities for Expansion in Tucson, ArizonaPerin, Jodi; Altrichter, Mariana; Cudney-Bueno, Richard; Gulick, Jennifer; Hershdorfer, Mary; University of Arizona (University of Arizona, Department of Anthropology, 2005)Sociological and anthropological studies have shown that while most individuals express concern with the state of the natural environment, this concern translates into pro-environmental behavior only in certain social contexts (Derksen and Gartrell 1993). With this in mind, our paper considers computer recycling in Tucson, Arizona by examining people's attitudes and knowledge level of computer recycling opportunities and investigating the current local institutions and networks that exist to recycle computers. In a broader sense, this helps to place electronic refuse such as old computers in the context of wider U.S. material culture and to consider the cultural implications of these objects. As a response to various citizens' initiatives to begin and expand computer-recycling programs in Tucson, Arizona, the authors conducted a study of computer recycling in this city, which was then presented to interested parties in December of 2001. This paper is adapted from our final report. Our results suggest that the demand for used computers within Tucson currently exceeds the supply, due largely to a lack of awareness of and incentives to participate in local computer recycling programs. However, we see possibilities for solidifying computer-recycling programs if communication barriers are surpassed.