The United Nations has a very interesting program in place to tackle the global problem of electronic waste, called “StEP: Solving the E-waste Problem.” A great site, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the content and countless projects identified here.
Again, the challenge to the lighting industry is clear: The “Circular Economy” is coming to bear down on our economic systems in short order. If you are in the lighting industry and you continue to externalize the full environmental impacts and end-of-life costs of your products, you will be screwed when your customers either willingly or are legislated to demand compliance and internalization, especially of the direct reclamation costs.
Achieving lower “Total Cost of Ownership” doesn’t just mean we should stuff R+D and product dev. roadmaps with cheap crap now. Initiatives like the UN StEP program are hopefully going to force the hand of industry to embrace radical change and consider the full impact of our sourcing and production activities.
I’m honored to be speaking regarding the potential for advancing the lighting industry via sustainable initiatives as a plenary speaker at the U.S. Department of Energy’s upcoming Solid-State Lighting R+D Workshop on January 28-30, 2014, in Tampa, Florida. I will speaking along with Brian Chemel, CTO of Digital Lumens (and my former colleague from Color Kinetics) who will be addressing very advanced use cases for intelligent lighting, including both conservation and advanced monitoring. Hope to see you there…