Electronics eventually break down. The dilemma is then repair or replace the item. If you item is under warranty, the decision is easy – get it fixed. Recycling electronics does not address the issue.
- China stopped taking our waste
- Irresponsible recyclers add to toxic waste problem
- Fix, do not replace
Remember that many credit cards will double your manufacturer’s warranty. Check your credit card’s fine print.
Repairing Computers, iPods, iPhones
Many items are difficult to repair, but some Google search may indicate how others repaired their items, often times with an inexpensive part.
ifixit sells replacement parts for many items including Computers, iPods and iPhones and has tutorials on iPod repair, iPhone repair, cell phone repair etc.
Greenerchoices has a guide to Fix it for Nix it on Electronics.
Repair Cafe has listing for fix-it events world wide.
Repair Cafe Palo Alto brings volunteers together to help folks fix items.
A recent article targeting consumer electronics dealers touts the advantages of repairing Cameras rather than New Sales.
Repairing Water Damaged Electronics
Water is the enemy of electronics. It is pretty obvious that you should not have any beverages near a computer, and should prevent any water from splashing on your phone. If for some unfortunate reason you now have a water damaged piece of electronics, try the following:
- Remove the battery
- Place the phone or gadget in a bag of dry uncooked rice for a day or two
- Other people have tried kitty litter instead of rice. You can also try a bunch of silica packets.
- Commercial products designed to dry wet electronics include: Bheestie Bags, Dry-All
Why repairing Electronics is Green
Clearly it is more green to fix what you already have. The amount of resources used to ship, fix, return an item is far less than all the carbon required to create a new, say digital camera from scratch.
Precision Camera estimates that repairing one year’s worth of digital cameras, instead of producing the same number of new digital cameras, is equivalent to removing 1000 SUV’s from the road. This claim was based on a recent “Rethink Repair” environmental study.
Repair is actually a win win situation for retailers as they can earn double the margins over a new camera purchase. Hopefully more shops will offer this alternative to just selling new items.
When repairing Electronics Does Not Make Sense
We owned a Panasonic Razor that originally cost $49.99, five years ago. It started shaving poorly and needed a new foil and blade. The replacements cost $29.99! We could fix it or just buy a new razor for $49.99. Planned obsolescence makes it hard to justify repairing items.
The downside is that their spending $240 to repair an old $600 10 Megapixel digital camera may not be a wise decision economically. Cameras have fallen in price and advanced in functionality. You would get a far more advanced camera with your new money. The trade offs in being green are always complex and littered with land mines.
Think about donating the item to a repair shop or on Craigslist so someone can use the guts for parts. Recycle electronics that cannot be repaired.
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