Britain's gadget overload

BRITONS are set to discard £10.5 billion worth of unwanted electronic devices this year, a survey has found. We are throwing away televisions, games consoles and mobile phones.

The point of the survey, commissioned by a recycling company, was to show that there is an alternative to sending all these gizmos and gadgets to landfill sites. But think about the implications of these findings.

If we are chucking out so much microchip driven "stuff", and hoarding these devices, as the survey also found, this raises a question: do we really need all these mobile phones, the laptops, the phone-cum-MP3-player-cum-hairdryer-cum toast maker that we have come to rely upon?

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And even if we do need them, might it not be liberating to do without them for, say, a day? We would use a phone box to call someone outside the home or the office. We might write a letter instead of e-mailing or texting. We might enjoy the warmth of a valve radio, or use a map not a device that tells us off for taking a wrong turn.

Sounds idyllic, does it not? If we did this, would we, after a short period of withdrawal symptoms, miss all these modern devices? Absolutely. Never again should we have to stand in the rain waiting to phone home, get lost visiting a friend, or wait for mail gone myseriously missing.