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In this Post

      • Website Update
      • The Reasons Why
      • How Does a Photographer Work Towards a More Sustainable Practice?
      • Recycling of Digital Cameras?
      • Camera Manufactures with a Take Back Scheme
      • Reduce
      • Reuse / Upcycle
      • Recycle
      • Coming up
Website Update 

The website has had a minor early Spring Clean. Generally, this means posting new dates for my one-day and residential workshop. Also, the way in which I build a webpage has changed and this has had some unexpected consequences. Hopefully, I have found all the bits that should not have been there.

Here is a link to What’s On When

The Reasons Why

If you have been avidly following my blog recently you will have read the series of posts called “You Can Have Whatever You Want…“. The race to Net-Zero Carbon emissions by 2050 requires a radical change in thinking and doing by every single person on the planet to a greater or lesser degree.


How Does a Photographer Work Towards a More Sustainable Practice?


Reduce Reuse Recycle

To bring this huge subject down to a more personal and manageable level. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle thinking has been around for at least fifteen years in the background.  This type of practical thinking needs to come to the fore and remain there. In a world where global consumerism is the key driver, how can we rethink our society to become based on the well-being for all? In this case, all means the planet as a whole. This is a big ask.


Finite Resources

One of the biggest issues for photographers is the non-renewable earth’s resources such as precious metals used in the manufacture of digital cameras. The reason why Touch Screen’s work in mobile phones and cameras is a rare precious metal called Indium. Indium, for example, is used in the manufacture of Liquid-Crystal Displays used in digital smartphones, cameras, watches, clocks and televisions sets. The ceaseless churn of new cameras and phones requires a never-ending need for the earth’s limited resources to build and sell more tech. Globally, there are around 50 parts per billion of Indium on the planet. We have to come up with new ways of reusing resources to ensure they do not end up in a landfill.

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Recycling of Digital Cameras?


Electrical and electronic goods are the biggest growing sectors for waste in the UK.


The Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came in to force in 2013. The aim is to reduce the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) incinerated or sent to landfill. The reduction is achieved through various measures which encourage the recovery, reuse and recycling of products and components.


In the UK and EU, there are laws to require manufactures to take back products to recycle materials. This does not only apply to Kitchen White Goods but all types of electrical and electronic goods.



Camera Manufactures with a Take Back Scheme

All digital camera manufactures have sustainability fine words and promises on their websites if you search hard enough for them. I have yet to find one manufacture fully complying with UK and European WEEE Regulations.


Canon To Canon’s credit, they do try to be socially responsible. They have a website at least that might be of some use to someone trying to recycle a Canon product. I have an old Canon 20D which the Canon recycling website completely ignored. https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/recycling


Samsung – operate the Valpak Scheme.  The Distributor Take Back Scheme (DTS) is operated by Valpak Retail WEEE Services and allows members an exemption from the in-store take-back requirement of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) when a new equivalent piece of EEE is purchased.


I did not find any evidence of a working take back scheme for Sony, Nikon or Fujifilm digital cameras.




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Photography Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Ideas

What follows are a few ideas that may or may not be relevant to you.



> Fights – where possible use the train as it produces up to 19 times less Co2 per mile than flying.


> Car travel – Transport contributes around 15% of all Co2. Where appropriate try public transport, (electric) bike or walking. Get your weekly shopping delivered if you can find a slot.


> Gear Acquisition Syndrome – Before rushing out to buy the latest camera body or lens, think about, what is the new thing going to enable you to do that the old one would not and why is this essential to you? Is the new a version a game-changer for your photography? What would be the effect of waiting until the next iteration is brought out?


> Computer time – use the Screen off and Sleep settings to save electricity. Start > Settings > Power & Sleep. Drag the Settings Tab to the Taskbar so it’s easy to change the screen turn-off time.


> Print fewer prints – save paper, ink, wastage and electricity.


> Buy one item, sell 2 pieces of equipment – recently I have been trading-in two items for every one new thing I have bought.


> Equipment Hire – when is it appropriate to hire a piece of equipment rather than buy it new and rarely use it? The renting of many consumer goods will become mainstream in the future.

Reuse / Upcycle

Convert an old camera body to Infrared (IR) this a great way to reuse a camera body and inject creativity into your practice.


Pictures & Mountboard – Donate offcuts to The Scrape Store for reuse.


Multi-purpose travel – try to combine essential travel with photography.


Multi-purpose lenses – I have a Laowa 15mm Macro lens. A hybrid lens is a wide-angle and macro.


Borrow equipment – In one of my camera club talks, I used to mention borrowing equipment when you are out with friends with the same camera system.


Maybe make a Charity Shop donation for unwanted equipment?  – here is a list of what they do and don’t accept. https://www.you.co.uk/what-you-can-donate-to-charity-shops/


Why not donate your old equipment to The Disabled Photographers Society? they are also on the lookout for books and software.


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Trade-in Gear – I have found mpb.com to be a good company to deal with when trading-in for cash. The photo gear trade-in company has been planting a tree for every buy or sell deal they do. See https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/blog/article/12584/.

Wex will also trade-in for credit to be added to your account for up to 30 days after a purchase.


Buy second hand – when the price is right, come on down.


Return cameras to the manufacturer for recycling of components if you can find one that complies with UK and EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) law.


The Royal Photographic Society – At the 2019 AGM, a Climate Change Working Group was established to make recommendations to reduce the Societies carbon footprint. The Royal is also looking at adding a page to its website to look at the carbon credentials of major equipment suppliers. Furthermore, there is the possibility of reviewing travel carbon offsetting opportunities available.


Coming up

Coming up in the next post will “You Can Have Whatever You Want… Part 2 – Follow the Money.

Mirador de los Molinos de Viento – Lanjaron Wind Farm – Andalucía


The UK’s record number of days in 2020 without coal use, the longest period since the industrial revolution.


The record-breaking portion of UK energy that came from renewables, during the first quarter of 2020.