The way technology can make everyday tasks easier is great. The downside though, is that consumer culture is taking a huge toll on the environment in the form of electronic waste.
Millions of phones, computers, cameras, printers, routers, modems, and other pieces of electronic equipment get thrown away every year – and that spells bad news for the planet. Because when e-waste is warmed up, toxic chemicals called greenhouse gases are released into the air, damaging the atmosphere.
A greenhouse gas is one that contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation. Too much CO2 contributes to climate change, causing the planet to be warmer than it is naturally, and impacting natural systems. This damage is one of the biggest environmental impacts of e-waste.
So, how can we, as consumers, do our bit to help reduce CO2 emissions?
Purchase second-hand to save the planet
Buying a used device keeps it out of the dump (where it does its damage to the planet) for longer, and doesn’t put a new device into circulation unnecessarily. Yet few of us consider buying second-hand or refurbished electronics as our first option.
Often, a refurbished piece of technology is a cheaper and more customisable option. Hardware replacements are typically easy to come by, and older models (particularly phones and laptops) make use of the same, up-to-date software as newer models. The refurbishment also will generally come with a fresh warranty, keeping you protected for a period of time after purchase.
The best benefit of all, of course, is the reduced impact on the environment.
How Buying Refurbished Electronics Benefits the Environment
According to a U.N. backed study, there were about 45 million metric tons of electronic waste worldwide in 2016. With the constant manufacture of new devices, that figure is set to rise.