Nature’s Past Episode 7: E-Waste and Obsolescence

Scroll this
NP Logo 1x1 12 July 2016

Episode 7: E-Waste and Obsolescence

Download Audio


if_Google-Play_692176    if_Google-Play_692176    if_itunes_C_104830    if_icon-social-youtube_211929     if_073_RSS_183202   if_twitter_square_black_107068if_46-facebook_104458

The problem of e-waste grows with each new mobile phone, music player, laptop computer or other type of consumer electronic device. Because many of these products are made with toxic substances, disposal is a major challenge. The environmental crisis of e-waste can be attributed to a strategy of industrial manufacturing developed over the course of the twentieth-century known as obsolescence. On this episode of the podcast, we hear from Giles Slade, author of the award-winning book Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America, on this historical trend in manufacturing.

Also, Bill Turkel from the University of Western Ontario tells us about a workshop he held called “Hacking as a Way of Knowing“.

Book cover image of award winning Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade, Cambrige, Harvard University Press, 2006


Giles Slade

Bill Turkel

Works Cited:

Slade, Giles. Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006.

Sean Kheraj, Canadian History & Environment

Music Credits:

“Running Man” by short_hopper

“Do It, Bucky” by short_hopper

“Intergalactic Journey” by spinmeister

“Hej rozmaring (Folk Flutes)” by Grizzly616

Photo Credits:

“Family Portrait” by MattsMacintosh


Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 7: E-Waste and Obsolescence.” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. 15 June 2009.

The following two tabs change content below.

Sean Kheraj

Associate Professor and Vice-Provost Academic at Toronto Metropolitan University
Sean Kheraj is a member of the executive committee of the Network in Canadian History and Environment. He's an associate professor in the Department of History and Vice-Provost Academic at Toronto Metropolitan University. His research and teaching focuses on environmental and Canadian history. He is also the host and producer of Nature's Past, NiCHE's audio podcast series and he blogs at

NiCHE encourages comments and constructive discussion of our articles. We reserve the right to delete comments that fail to meet our guidelines including comments under aliases, or that contain spam, harassment, or attacks on an individual.