Everyday Enviro with Elise: Extending the life of electronics - RNY News

Everyday Enviro with Elise: Extending the life of electronics

June 24, 2022

Elise Catterall

We all depend on electronic devices, but there are still ways to reduce the environmental impact of our gadgets. Elise analyses the benefits of shopping refurbished.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t rely on one or more electronic devices. Personally, I’m in a co-dependent relationship with several – a laptop, phone, and a tablet. Manufacturers understand this dependence and cleverly capitalise on it by releasing newer and “better” models every year with advertising campaigns extolling all the reasons why you really must have it.

We know that consumerism generally is a big environmental issue, and this is especially so when it comes to electronics. Just in case you need a reminder of their impact, the manufacture of one tonne of computer equipment (e.g., laptops) emits up to ten tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The industry driven desire for the newest and latest leads to increased turnover of electronics at both the personal level and the corporate level with businesses upgrading their electronics every few years. This means fossil fuels and precious resources being consumed and, due to low rates of electronic recycling, excessive and unnecessary e-waste being generated. According to Clean Up Australia, e-waste increased by over 20% between 2014-2019 and is expected to keep rising.

However, while we have seen increases in the consumption of electronics, we are now seeing an increase in businesses that are saving electronics from landfill and saving customers money at the same time. Green Gadgets is Australia’s leading supplier in the refurbished electronic device market, refurbishing and on-selling computers, phones, smartwatches, tablets and accessories like headphones.

Most of the devices they refurbish are only a few years old, so have plenty of life left in them. By the time they are available for sale, they have been checked and tested rigorously, repaired and updated with new parts if needed, reset and unlocked. They are graded from ‘good’ to ‘as new’ according to their cosmetic condition, so you know what to expect. They also come with a warranty of 12 months in most cases.

And along with this comes with a huge financial saving. Based on all these benefits, it's unsurprising that Melbourne-based refurbished equipment specialists, Reboot IT, report that most people who purchase a refurbished computer say they won’t buy new again.

There are a couple of pointers to note when buying refurbished devices and the first is that you buy from a reputable refurbisher and seller - one who offers a decent warranty for peace of mind and for quality assurance, like Green Gadgets. Some manufacturers sell their own refurbished items, like Apple and Samsung and, as a benefit, you can usually trade in your old products for credit. The second pointer is to make sure that it comes with all the necessary accessories otherwise you’ll have an additional outlay for the device to be usable.

Like all things in the circular economy, the longer an item can be used, the more sustainable it becomes as the need for new items is reduced. And by buying refurbished, instead of just used, you are increasing the functional lifetime of an item even further.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

Elise Catterall

Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.