That’s a pretty attractive computer you have there. I bet a lot of work went in to manufacturing it. Actually, I can guarantee it. Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that in order to make just one computer and monitor it takes over 500 lbs of fossil fuels, almost 50 lbs of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water. Just for one computer, like yours. This is a huge amount of Earth’s resources just for a family, or even one person to have ease of access right in their own home. And what if it just suddenly… stops working? Do you have it repaired? Or throw it away and opt for the latest technology?
Unfortunately, the latter option is most interesting to consumers. Of course, we all want the latest technology, but having it comes at a major price not only to us, the consumer, but also to this rotating rock that we all live on. In 2014, the world’s e-waste (electrical waste) reached 41.8 million tonnes, and the StEP initiative (Solving the World’s E-Waste) expects this number to reach 65.4 million tons by this year!
All the electronics we use on a daily basis contain gold, silver, copper, aluminum, plastics, as well as many other harmful chemicals such as arsenic (which is used to make high-speed computer chips). When things break, or are just tossed aside due to boredom, they most of the time end up in the trash. All your trash then ends up in landfills, which seeps in to the Earths soil and eventually ends up in our drinking water. This is one of the reasons why we were always told to recycle batteries and not just throw them away. Which reminds me: Recycle your batteries and don’t just throw them away! 🙂
When I was a child we were all told of “the three R’s”: “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.” Millions and millions of this e-waste could have been recycled and reused, but it wasn’t. Let’s go back to the attractive computer you own. Instead of just throwing away this computer if it’s broken– repair it! Take it to a computer repair shop and see what can be done! What if you are bored with it? Upgrade it! Don’t know how? Again, take it to a repair shop that offers upgrades.
Now, upgrading does only go so far because some older computers just can’t be upgraded anymore with their current motherboard. And the motherboard ultimately determines the future of your computer. That’s why when building or buying a new computer you want to make sure that the motherboard can accept future technology so you are able to get the most out of it for longer periods of time. This is more specifically called “future proofing” your computer. But…
“What if my motherboard is not upgradable? Is my computer therefore trash?”
The answer is simple: Absolutely not! Depending on the computer case you have, it will work with many types of motherboards, and the parts you already own (power supply, memory sticks, graphics card, cables, monitor) may also work with the new motherboard. If you’re not sure then take it to a professional to discover your options. This will not only be less expensive than buying a brand new computer, it will benefit the Earth because you are reusing a product instead of throwing it away, therefore not contributing to the already millions of tons of electrical waste.
So instead of jumping first and buying a new computer, or a new mobile phone, or any new electronic, think about your options first. Can it be repaired? Can it be upgraded? Can this be reused? And of course, can this be recycled? And if you’re still unsure, check out Zero Waste for some assistance. Every little bit you reuse, reduce, and recycle is helping!