A UN report in 2014 says that we threw away more than 41 million tons of electronics waste – in the form of notebooks, monitors, phones – with the USA and China accounting for 32% of that total. Some of that waste contains toxic chemicals such as cadmium, mercury, lead, flame retardants, and chlorofluorocarbons, whose overall impact on the environment is not fully known. There are limited regulations around the disposal of these items. If they seep from landfills, they can poison the environment and also potentially get into the water supply and harm us directly.
The lack of effective recycling means that over 52 billion dollars in resources were not recycled, including copper and gold. This adds another form of environmental damage as we have to mine these materials. Better recycling can help, but it is not possible to recycle 100% of the materials.
If we want to do our bit to save the planet, we need to reduce consumption of electronic devices. We can’t expect everyone to suddenly switch off all their devices, but we can hope they start to use them more efficiently and create greener gadgets.
Reducing consumption will not only limit environmental impact but can also:
Save you money
In 2011 Americans spent on average 998 USD on electronic gadgets http://www.statista.com/statistics/250031/consumer-spending-on-consumer-electronics-by-country/ ). This does not include services spending like on services like Internet. You may want to take a vacation instead.
Too many devices can mean old electronics sitting in boxes in the attic or the ugly sight of devices charging, strewn on the floor or the dinner table. You probably go to an older relatives house and mock them a little for the lack of electronic devices, but secretly admire how neat and clutter free it is. Device clutter is actually a major source of arguments and ultimately costs you money. It is such a problem lots of people have managed to create a little industry around it with organization tips and advice. For example:
Tips to Reduce Electronics Device Consumption
Electronic devices have made our lives safer and more convenient in many, many ways. Also enabled us to get knowledge and communicate with the world in ways thought impossible twenty years ago. In fact, electronic devices will become an even more important part of our lives as IoT and robotics, among others, enhance our day-to-day living. The way forward to make greener devices is to try and use them more efficiently to help lessen environmental impact, reduce clutter and save money.
Upgrade or try to fix
The issue may be software related and easily solved by upgrading or reinstalling the operating system. Even if it is a hardware problem there are many parts that you can replace for small amounts of money and have a perfectly good working device for another few years. You can go to Wikipedia or Ifixit (https://www.ifixit.com/) and probably find for free detailed explanations on how to solve your problem.
Sell or donate
There is actually a robust market around 2nd hand electronics. In the same way that not everyone wants to buy the flagship model of any device, many people understand that a 2nd hand device will work just fine as the first device for their forgetful teenager. You can list on Ebay or Itsy and many other places. If you don’t want to spend the time to sell then ask around in your family, school or neighborhood. You may have a niece or nephew who needs a notebook; equally, a nearby school may be short of devices for their pupils.
Look to buy a device that can replace several devices. This has a triple benefit: it reduces clutter as less devices and cables; it means less raw materials used; and it usually works out cheaper. We live in a world with increasingly less space and more items to put in that space; therefore, combining them is an important greener gadgets design consideration moving forward. This is as true for electronics and all sectors. For example, there is the amazing video of a guy using multi-purpose design to turn his one-room apartment in Hong Kong into an incredible space with: kitchen, movie room and guest room (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gDjPTLvSa4 ). American homes obviously have much more space, but still can benefit significantly from ergonomic and multi-purpose design.
Inevitably you have to get rid of some devices. There is probably nothing legally stopping you from dumping it in your trash can, but don’t. Google your local area for the nearest recycling station. At the same time quiz your local stores on their recycling strategy, and buy from the one who appears to have the best plan.
Have a central charging station for all your devices. This not only looks better, it keeps you aware of the amount of devices you have in your house. This keen awareness will help put the brake on impulse purchases.
As little as ten years ago the average household may have just had one notebook or PC, compared to now with 10 + devices. Our usage of electronics will only increase going forward as we add smart home devices and health and security services. We can help make greener gadgets, reduce the environmental impact of all these devices – and also reduce clutter – if we look to be more efficient with their use. That includes: upgrading, recycling and opting for multi-purpose devices.
You can get more tips and information from the links below. Or contact our helpdesk for more information.
Securifi is the maker of the Almond router and smart hub delivering long range Wi-Fi, sophisticated control over the devices on your Wi-Fi network, and enabling you to automate, secure and protect your home. It’s dual functionality, a router and smart home, means: a smaller environmental impact, energy saving, less clutter and fewer cables.
Interested in knowing more about partnering with Securifi click here.