We put our electronics through a lot of abuse; think of how often you get invited to facebook groups with the title of “Dropped my phone in the toilet/sink/lake/ocean, Need NUMBERS!!!”, or how often your friends lament about dropping more than 1K on a new computer. It’s no wonder that the average shelf-life for a cell phone is a mere 18 months, and that of laptops and computers ranges from three to five years.
This culture of throw-away electronics has become standard practice in a way, as our electronics are constantly being upgraded to the point that a device can become outdated in six months; since its release in 2007 four generations of the iPhone have been released, with a new version set to premiere next month.
So the next time you’re considering upgrading your cell phone before your plan is up, or the next time you’re entertaining the notion of buying a new computer because your current one is starting to lag, think it over instead of making an impulsive decision. If you’re due for a phone upgrade in two months anyway, can you make do with what you have for 60 more days? Do you really need that new laptop, or would it be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly to buy a new stick of RAM or a new laptop battery instead (make sure you recycle the battery!)? The only way we can lessen the amount of e-waste our earth generates is through a combination of proper recycling of unusable electronic materials with reduced consumption of these products.
Check out GreenPeace USA’s (Oct. 2010) “Green Rating” of the technology industry!