I like to think of myself as pretty Zen, mellow, going with the flow. Eh hmm… my ego likes to think that about me. So I write posts about loving what is and being mindful of little things like cheese wrappers and taking time out for silence. But sometimes, a gal just wants to vent. And this is one of those times. HP sucks, ya’ll! HP can bite my ass!
The beautiful 19″ LCD monitor you see in the photo is not just a nice backdrop for this week’s plastic waste. It is this week’s plastic waste. And metal. And who knows what else. And no amount of learning to fix stuff or even learning to fix stuff will make it better. Here’s the tally:
Items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:
- 1 plastic seal from a bottle of cayenne pepper. Purchased a long time ago and never opened until this week. It does seem to still be good.
- 1 Liquid Silk lube bottle (#3 PVC plastic!) and pump. I already discussed this product in my post last week about using olive oil as personal lubricant. Normally, when I have a product in a plastic bottle, I finish up the rest of it before adding the container to the tally. This time though, after learning about the ingredients in Liquid Silk, I decided to discard the rest of the bottle using the method required by the U.S. EPA for disposing of PPCPs (pharmaceuticals and personal care products.) I mixed it up with a bunch of cat litter, poured it into an old milk carton, and put it in the trash. Flushing is NOT recommended for products that contain harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, the landfill is the best option we have for stuff like this.
- 1 HP vs19d LCD monitor.So here’s the rant. Last Saturday, I turned on my computer as usual, pressed the button on my monitor, and nothing happened. The computer came on. The monitor did not. I made sure all the cables were connected. I plugged it into different outlets. Nothing. Not even a blink. I called HP. The monitor, which is only 1-1/2 years old, is out of warranty. The 3-year warranty I purchased with the system only covers the computer, not the monitor. But they’d be happy to sell me a new one.No way. I’m the girl who fixes things instead of replacing them. So I got out my Yellow Pages (One reason to keep a Yellow Pages around… you never know when your computer will go down and you’ll need to find a computer technician without looking them up via your computer!) and found a local guy, Leon Pang at Domino Computer (he’s awesome, by the way) who said he might be able to fix the monitor. I headed straight over to his place and dropped it off.
Monday, he called me with bad news. He had opened up the monitor, tested the circuits, figured out where the problem was and what part was needed (a particular board), called HP, only to be told that HP will not sell replacement boards for these monitors. They will only sell a whole new monitor. This board is not something you can find on eBay or elsewhere. It’s specific to that monitor and if HP won’t sell it, you’re screwed.
So I bought a lightly-used monitor from a guy on Craigslist to replace that one. The “new” one is a Dell. I’m hoping to have better luck with it. In the meantime, I’m stuck with this piece of HP crap in my plastic purgatory (and I say crap because the computer I bought from HP [Pavilion d4600y, if you want to know] has been one headache after another too, although because of the warranty I’ve been able to get it fixed each time.)
I know there are places to take our old electronics to be recycled. GreenSight is a program that Costco uses that says it “conforms to a ‘Zero Landfill/No Export’ Policy by working with only ISO 14001 certified partners who recycle and refine these materials for remanufacturing into new products.” That’s fine. It’s better than sending toxic e-waste over seas. But wouldn’t it be better if equipment were manufactured so that it could be repaired when broken? Why does my LCD screen and plastic housing have to be melted down and recycled when all that’s needed is a small board inside?
Anyway, I’m stuck with the broken monitor because of my policy this year of holding onto all my plastic waste instead of sending it off god knows where to be recycled. And believe it or not, I actually estimated the weight of the plastic parts by taking a screw driver to the thing myself and separating out the metal from the plastic because that’s the sort of thing that someone like me does on a Sunday afternoon after cooking huevos rancheros completely from scratch. More on that later.
So, did I just let this issue go? Of course not. I’ve already written to the CEO of HP as well as told my story on the web site of Californians Against Waste, an organization that is working on legislation to handle toxic e-waste. Here’s the text of my message to HP via the CEO’s contact form:
Dear Mark Hurd:
Nowadays, most companies are trying to “green” their operations. I’m sure HP is looking into ways to be more environmentally friendly. With that in mind, I’d like to share a disappointing experience I had this week with an HP product:
A year and a half ago I bought an HP desktop computer and 19″ LCD monitor (vs19d) directly from HP. Since then, I’ve had many problems with the computer and even had to replace a burned-out power supply. But since I had purchased a 3-year warranty, the problems were resolved by your support staff.
Then, last week, my monitor stopped working. It wouldn’t power up. I called HP and was told the monitor was not covered by the 3-year warranty and that I’d just have to buy a new one. I asked if they could fix it, and they said it would cost more than the price of a new monitor to fix and they would not do it.
So I took the monitor to a local computer technician, who opened it up, tested the circuits, figured out where the problem was, called HP to order a replacement board, and was told that they will not sell these parts. They will only sell a whole new monitor. This technician is from China and told me that in China he would have had access to a replacement part but that they were not available in the U.S.
It is this kind of business policy that is creating so much toxic e-waste for the planet. Even if the monitor can be recycled, why should the energy and transportation be expended to recycle an old monitor and manufacture a new one when all the old monitor needs is a new board and there are computer-savvy technicians who are capable of installing such a part?
I believe that for computer companies to go green, it’s important to create modular products with parts that can easily be replaced rather than requiring the entire machine to be trashed. And I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
I have reported this story to Californians Against Waste (http://www.cawrecycles.org), an organization that is working on ways to eliminate the problem of e-waste, and I plan on writing about it on my own personal web site Fake Plastic Fish.
I would love to be able to report that HP is taking steps to correct this problem. Thanks so much for your time.
As always, I’ll let you know if I hear anything back from HP. Whew. Now I can put this puppy to rest.
And now on to this week’s new plastic waste:
- 1 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop container.
- 1 plastic cap from a glass bottle of Kahlúa. Whatever possessed me to buy a bottle of liquor with a plastic cap? It surely wasn’t a necessity. But a few months ago I wasn’t being as careful as I am this year. I have no other excuse.
Now I’m interested to hear your frustrating (or successful) electronics stories.