By the time you finish reading this, both of these consumer products will have been recycled at a local e-waste facility.

By the time you finish reading this, both of these consumer products will have been recycled at a local e-waste facility.

Both the iPhone and the analog Canon served useful lives and have been replaced with their newest counterparts. The iPhone is being retired after 3 years because its touchscreen has stopped working. In contrast, the point-and-shoot camera works like new after 7 full years, but is being retired because it’s not digital. It’s funny how sometimes a low-tech product can outlive a high-tech one because there are fewer components to fail. So here we have two well-worn objects in product purgatory.  Before they are sent away to be dismantled and melted away, I’d like to take a moment to examine their materiality and how it has aged with time. At a glance both products are a satin-finish silver color, but upon closer investigation their battle scars reveal the stuff they’re actually made of.

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