Berkeley writer and activist Annie Leonard yesterday released the latest film in her seminal Story of Stuff project. The new film, The Story of Electronics: Why Designed for the Dump is Toxic for People and the Planet, focuses on e-waste.

As Leonard told Berkeleyside in September, electronics have become such a premier status symbol that people buy them as almost a fashion accessory. And most electronic items contain heavy metals, toxic chemicals and flame retardants. “Our e-waste is going to Africa, Asia. I’d say there’s room for vast improvements in the toxicity, and the out-of-control frenzy of our electronics,” she said.

Produced by Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the eight-minute film explains ‘planned obsolescence’ — products designed to be replaced as quickly as possible — and its often hidden consequences for tech workers, the environment and us. The film concludes with an opportunity for viewers to send a message to electronics companies demanding that they “make ‘em safe, make ‘em last, and take ‘em back.”

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...