Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Replace or put it in a time capsule? Should you Repair or Recycle your Electronics?

David Galica - Innovator

Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Replace or put it in a time capsule? Should you Repair or Recycle your Electronics?

We've all had issues with our electronics. They start glitching, will not start, and cause a level of frustration like the long bathroom line during the World Series. So, what is the best thing to do with your failing personal device? Your first thought shouldn’t be to recycle or replace the device, as you will probably end up spending money you don’t need to. The best option is almost always to REPAIR the computer, cell phone, stereo, or any other electronic devices you may have. While you may want the latest device, it is still typically less money to repair electronics than to get new ones.

Why fix it?

Repairing your devices frequently costs much less. On average, it ends up being around 40% of the cost of the original device. Don’t forget how much the new device costs and the time it takes to get it set back up to the way you need it. Make sure you check the warranty on the item too as well—the repair could be free!
A 0 to 2-year-old Dell Inspiron 15 5000 costs $600 new. After a few years, it will likely start to act slow. The reality of this slowdown is not that you need a new device, but that you’ve probably got software bloating issues, and the system just needs to be optimized in order to bring the speed back up. A system optimization like this normally costs about $50. If the screen on the same device ends up damaged and needs to be replaced, that repair is only $150. Repairing keeps that computer working on all of your day-to-day tasks with the settings that you are accustomed to and spent all of that time configuring. Not only is this keeping it out of the trash, it is keeping it out of recycling, and giving it new life.

Why do everything before recycling?

The reality of the situation is that all electronics produced across the globe drain resources. It takes resources to recycle the material from the electronics as well. If we can continue to repair the devices, we can also lower the production of them to reduce many the harmful byproducts of the electronic manufacturing process. For example, the lifetime of an iPhone 6 from production to being recycled generates around 95kg of CO2. This proves that every device has a footprint. But even so, if there is no option to repair, then recycle the device.

Can I fix it myself?

Sure. There are plenty of DIY videos on YouTube to educate yourself. However, some can be more complicated than others. If you do not have a good understanding of electricity, data management, and are dexterous, then it may be a better idea to hire a technician.

But I want the best stuff now!

Well, if you want to use your broken phone as the excuse to get the new one, that's fine. However, it would be considerate to get the old device fixed in order to sell it or give it to someone who needs it. Keep the electronics in working order and let others that may not be as fortunate as you have something nice. This not only furthers the life of the device, it can provide tools to people, educate others, and it will decrease your carbon footprint.

There are some great resources out there and some good philosophies: such as The Restart Code. https://therestartproject.org/code/

The Restart Code

Together, we will fix our relationship with electronics and make our devices last longer. We will take back control of the stuff we own and enjoy innovation at our own pace.

Before we buy
    • We will pick products designed to last
    • We will take seriously the act of bringing another gadget into the world
When we get a new device
    • We will enjoy it
    • We will protect it
    • We will learn the basics of maintenance
When we have a problem
    • We will not panic
    • We will not think that only “geniuses” can help
Instead
    • We will check the warranty
    • We will get help online or offline
    • We will pay a repairer after getting informed
If we solve our problem, we will share!
If we don’t

    • We will share our frustrations publicly
    • Then give the device to somebody who can reuse it
    • Or recycle it as a last resort

The best thing for yourself, your wallet, and your environment is to repair. If repair is not an option, then recycle. If recycling, make sure the device goes to a place that is working with people that are R2 or e-Stewards certified so that you know it is going to get recycled properly.

So, now that you know a little more about electronics and the option to repair them, what will you repair first?

Wednesday December 20th, 2017#ewaste #recycle #gogreen