E-Wasted is a documentary that illuminates a profound transformation
taking place in the global flow of used electronics.
As millions celebrate the information age, this film uncovers its dark side.
There are few industries less understood, less monitored and less controlled than the global electronic waste industry. It is a vast cauldron of entrepreneurs, black markets, mining interests and impassioned visionaries drawing opportunity out of crisis – with virtually no authority, restriction or control. Yet, in the last few years, a series of forces have collided to generate a tipping point in the value of our used phones and computers, and suddenly far more people - corporations and governments included - want control over the electronics we discard.
We’re setting out to do something a little different with this documentary. We are taking our audience around the world on a journey to find out what really happens to global e-waste, but along route they will be thrown into an experience of interactivity with the film and the people in it. Transcending time and space, they will use their phones to communicate with the people in the film, to get clues to what happens next and to learn what lies inside the electronic components.
With few talking heads, this is an action-based film. The journey unfolds as filmmaker Danielle Lanyard, a New Yorker who has become fascinated by the electronic waste issue, sets off to track the whereabouts of every computer that has ever been built. Along route, she meets the child-recyclers in Ghana, she finds China constructing a global recycling monopoly, and she discovers an environmental time bomb that is pitifully misunderstood. Periodically, we are plucked out of these local scenes and taken, as if suspended above the earth, to witness the movement of e-waste and its connection to mining on a global scale. And to each and every one of us in this digital age.