We have more electronic devices in our homes than ever before. Our smart TVs, smartphones, gaming consoles, computers, tablets, smart home devices, and more have become integral to our daily lives.
While our love of gadgets has brought increased ease and connection to our lives, it has also created a big e-waste problem.
The UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020 notes that 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste were generated worldwide in 2019, up 21 percent over the previous five years. And as the world’s fastest-growing waste stream, the problem of e-waste is only expected to get worse if we don’t make some changes.
The good news is there are a few things you can do to keep your devices from choking the planet while still enjoying the technology you’ve come to rely on.
1.) Wait To Replace Your Devices…and Make Longevity a Priority When You Do
Hold off on buying new devices as long as possible. Consider repairing your existing devices or installing upgrades to get a little more life from them before replacing them.
For example, if you are no longer getting the battery life you want from your smartphone, see if you can have the battery replaced before replacing the entire phone. Even if you only get another year from your older devices, it can make a difference for the planet, as the manufacturing process makes up the majority of a device’s carbon footprint.
It isn’t always possible to have devices repaired (more on that in the “right to repair” section below), but in some cases it is and can save you money while benefiting the Earth.
When you do buy a new device, make longevity a priority.
Before you buy, do some research and look for devices that are easy to upgrade or repair. Tip: if a device is put together using glue, it will be more difficult to repair than one whose components are connected by screws or clips.
2.) Skip That Black Friday TV Deal
Sure, you can get a great deal on a flat screen TV during sales like Black Friday…but did you know that, in some cases, manufacturers reduce the quality of the components in order to make those big price cuts? Those cheaply made TVs are not built to last.
If you do shop the Black Friday sales for a TV, check the model number, and do a search to see if it’s one that’s sold all year long. If it’s not, there’s a good chance it’s a cheaply made TV that won’t last and won’t be easy to fix.
3.) Dispose of Old Devices Right Away…and Properly
A lot of us have a box full of old cables we no longer have use for or a closet full of old computers, printers, cell phones, and chargers. But did you know that if you recycle your old devices sooner, rather than later, they may still have some life left in them?
When it’s time to replace your devices, don’t toss the old ones in the basement to collect dust. Give your old electronics a second life by bringing them to a recycling or refurbishment center, like Repowered, right away.
Recent models can often be refurbished, but the older electronics get, the harder it is to refurbish them. If you bring in your used devices as soon as you no longer need them, they may be able to be refurbished.
At Repowered, we help keep your devices from choking the planet by promoting reuse before recycling. We refurbish and sell high quality used devices in our retail locations and online store. Devices that can’t be refurbished are properly recycled.
And our recent partnership with Ramsey County allows Ramsey Country residents to recycle their unwanted electronics for free*!
*Ramsey County residents only. E-waste from businesses are not accepted through this partnership.
4.) Advocate for Right To Repair Legislation
One of the roadblocks to making our devices last longer is how difficult many of them are to repair. But there’s a growing national movement to allow consumers to more easily repair their own electronic devices and other consumer goods.
Right to repair legislation would require manufacturers to make their parts, tools, and information available to individual consumers and repair shops. This would allow them to repair their devices without violating copyright laws, EULAs (End-User License Agreements), or similar rules.
States haven’t coded the right to repair into law yet, but there is strong bipartisan support for it in many states. If successful, this legislation will result in longer-lasting devices and less waste.
To learn more and stay up to date on this topic, check out repair.org.
5.) Buy Refurbished Devices From Repowered
There’s a myth out there that second-hand devices don’t perform as well as new ones—and that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Reputable refurbishers like Repowered rigorously test refurbished items before selling them to ensure they are in prime working condition. Many also offer warranties comparable to those that come with new equipment (you can view Repowered’s warranty policy here).
When you buy refurbished, you not only help reduce e-waste, you get a quality device that’s as good as new.
The next time you’re looking to replace your computer, smartphone, gaming console, or other electronic device, consider buying refurbished from Repowered. Browse our online store here, or come see the friendly staff at one of our retail locations. We look forward to helping you keep your tech updated in a way that’s also kind to the planet!