Windows 7's trail of e-trash

How much perfectly good peripheral equipment will be relegated to the e-waste heap this year simply because it's not compatible with Microsoft Windows 7?

The PC industry will ship 366 million PCs by the end of 2010, according to Gartner. Most of those will run Windows 7. For many of those users, older peripheral devices won't work - and vendors don't like to spend money updating device drivers on models they're no longer selling.

Printers are a prime example of this unnecessary three-year cycle of forced obsolescence. Next to televisions they're the biggest boat anchors in the e-waste scrap pile.

The irony is that a good laser printer can last 10 years or more. But for want of a device driver, tons of equipment like that gets needlessly junked every year. It's scandalous.

Consumers who go home with a new printer may feel good about messages on the box promoting how "green" the new printer is. You can feel good about its energy efficiency and eco-friendly packaging. But there's nothing eco-friendly about tossing existing products into the waste stream before they're worn out. And consider the carbon impact of manufacturing, packaging and delivering new equipment that you really shouldn't have had to buy.

Not so green, bad for business

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