Remember your grandmother’s old tv that lasted 20 years, or, more recently, when you were able to replace your cellphone battery in the beginning of this century?
Today, if your cellphone or tablet PC battery malfunctions, you are “expected to replace the whole unit”, which is the entire tablet, as some manufacturers’ customer service representatives would say. Tablet PCs are new, so they started out like this, but cellphones were from a time when batteries were always replaceable.
The environmental and economic impact of increasingly irreparable and unreliable electronics is profound because most people use at least some of these electronics, and they replace them every two years, even large, expensive electronics such as television sets last only a few years. The cost of replacing these devices adds up.
Even one replacement will cost at least hundreds of USD, to put that into perspective.
Imagine replacing a $700 USD laptop, a $200 tablet, and an $800 tv every 6 years. Now add to that a $200 cellphone every two years. The cellphone would cost $600 in that time period, and, combined with the cost of the other electronics, these three things alone costs $2,300, and that isn’t everything. There are other devices including printers, video game consoles, headphones, earphones, docking stations, stereo systems, etc.
Whether or not you can afford to spend this much money, it is unacceptably expensive to most budgets, and it results in a massive amount of electronic waste, which can affect everyone. Electronic waste generally does not decompose in an acceptable manner, they leech toxic materials, including heavy metals, as well as plastics into the soil, and sometimes into aquifers (underground rivers).
By the way, underground rivers are part of the same network of rivers that you get drinking water from.
Buy spongy cases for your cellphones, and ensure that they fit comfortably before you buy them. I see what happens when people buy cases and end up not using them, but they don’t want to waste money buying additional ones. My cellphones all lasted several years, and they still work. They have cases, and they are on for most of the day, every day (which increases wear on them due to heat degradation).
Energy Efficiency Improvements
The efficiency of appliances and electronics has been improving. However, if your old appliances are in good working condition, it is best to keep them for now. The longer you keep them, the more efficient your next upgrade will be, and the greater your next upgrade will be overall, so you will feel good about spending the money to buy a new washer or refrigerator, because it will actually be a big step up.
Also, please try to buy the most reliable brands and product classes you can find. E-mail manufacturers and demand that they scale back “planned obsolescence”, and build more reliable products as well. They do focus on consumer’s priorities when they are taken seriously.