Conscious Consumers Repairing Broken Gadgets For A Greener Future

by Tanya April 11, 2024

Researchers blame shorter product lifespans and limited repair options for a boom in electronic wastage.

Why does this happen?

The high cost and limited availability of official manufacturer repair services means consumers end up simply chucking their old device and replacing it with a new one.

The amount of electronic waste produced each year is rapidly growing, totalling millions of tonnes of waste. Between 2014 and 2019 there had been a 21%  jump in electronic waste generated, and if we don’t do anything about it now, we may end up 74 million tonnes of electronic waste a year by 2030.

The growth model for companies is built on throwing away stuff.

The solution? A shift towards sustainable tech practices, where repairing our devices becomes the norm, not the exception.

Right to Repair scheme

The “Right to Repair” scheme refers to regulations and legislative efforts that allows consumers the ability to repair and modify their own electronic devices and equipment, such as smartphones, computers, and even vehicles, rather than being forced to use the manufacturer’s services. The initiative seeks to address several key issues:

Cost and accessibility: Manufacturer repairs can be expensive and not always readily accessible, especially in rural or under-served areas. Allowing consumers to repair their own devices or use third-party services can reduce costs and improve access to repair services. Some manufacturers restrict repairs to authorized service providers, creating a monopoly situation where the manufacturer controls the repair market. This can lead to higher repair prices and fewer options for consumers.

Environmental impact: The scheme also has a significant environmental component, as it encourages the repair and reuse of devices rather than disposal. This can reduce electronic waste and the environmental impact associated with the production of new devices. By extending the lifespan of devices, Right to Repair initiatives support sustainability goals and give consumers more control over their products, including how long they use them and who repairs them.

Influencing manufacturers to create more robust techEmbracing repairability can also influence manufacturers to build more durable and repairable products. This could lead to gadgets that are easier to fix, with available spare parts and repair manuals, marking a shift towards more responsible consumer electronics.

Various jurisdictions around the world, including parts of the United States, the European Union, and Australia, have proposed or enacted Right to Repair laws. These laws often require manufacturers to provide the necessary manuals, tools, and parts for repairs at a reasonable cost to either consumers directly or to third-party repair shops.

The specifics of Right to Repair legislation can vary significantly from one place to another, including what types of products are covered and the exact rights and resources provided to consumers and third-party repairers.

Repair services like Likewize Repair are at the heart of this movement, providing prompt and efficient local repair services for all your devices. These skilled technicians, with their screwdrivers and soldering irons, breathe new life into our phones, laptops, and other electronic devices, keeping them out of landfills and in our pockets for longer.

Supporting local repair shops not only helps reduce waste but also bolsters the local economy, creating jobs and fostering community resilience.


The environmental impact of buying new gadgets

The excitement around acquiring the latest tech gadgets is a familiar feeling for many. Yet, this thrill often overshadows a pressing issue—the significant environmental toll of our tech habits. The lifecycle of any electronic device, from smartphones to laptops, is fraught with environmental pitfalls.

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It starts with the extraction of precious metals and rare earth elements, processes that are notorious for their environmental degradation, including deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution of waterways. Then comes the energy-intensive manufacturing phase, where assembling a single device generates a substantial carbon footprint due to the energy used in factories, often powered by fossil fuels.

But the journey doesn’t end there. Once these devices become obsolete or break down, they contribute to the growing mountain of electronic waste. This e-waste is not just a space-consuming issue; it’s a toxic hazard. Many electronics contain harmful substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can leach into soil and water, posing health risks to wildlife and humans alike.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that a mere fraction of this waste is recycled properly, leading to environmental harm and lost opportunities to reclaim valuable materials.

In conclusion

The path to a greener tomorrow is paved today.

We take a significant step towards reducing our environmental impact by repairing our gadgets instead of replacing them. It’s about changing our mindset, valuing longevity over the latest trend, and recognising the power of repair to contribute to a more sustainable world.

So, next time your device glitches, take it to a local repair shop.

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The first Millennial blogger in the UK. Twitter @_luckyattitude

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