Unlike good whiskey or a nice leather belt, technology doesn’t get better with age. For most places, the market for decade old devices simply isn’t there and in a world where people camp overnight for the newest version of electronics, we must consider: what happens to our old technologies once we don’t want them anymore?
For many, that answer is stored away in a drawer full of miscellaneous objects that you open every few months when you’ve misplaced something and you swore you put it in there. The collection of flip phones, Discmans and old chargers slowly grows with each passing product release.
You could also be someone who sells your old technology to someone who perhaps can’t afford or isn’t interested in the latest version. This is a great way to reuse and the Internet has made it easy to match yourself up with a buyer.
Or for others, the electronics just get simply thrown out. You don’t need them anymore, and you doubt that someone wants a VHS player these days, so where better should it go than with today’s garbage pick up? Sadly, the problem with throwing out old electronics is that it is not the same as typical municipal waste. Many electronics are full of valuable materials, but they also contain elements that are toxic to humans. Even more concerning, many underdeveloped poor countries become e-waste dumping grounds and residents are subjected to these hazardous materials through things like immediate contact or groundwater pollution, for example.
Less than ten years ago, Greenpeace ranked tech giant Apple as one of the worst companies for “green electronics”. With a company that powerful, they should have been one of the leaders in green electronic practices.
Apple heard that message loud and clear, and has made a significant effort to clean up their practices according to a recent article. This includes using clean energies, and very importantly announcing a new scheme to allow all apple products to be returned to the company and recycled.
This is a huge step for a company that has so many customers. With this idea you can sometimes also receive a gift card for the value of your device to be used towards future apple products.
Of course, Apple still has a long way to go and their continued efforts towards more green practices can only help to improve their company quality and reputation. When you purchase a new technology, it is important to consider factors like this. The potential to responsibly recycle means that you are not only doing something good for the environment, but potentially also lowering the e-waste load dumped on those less fortunate.
One reason that you may not choose to purchase with Apple, however, is the price of the products. Their products tend to be more expensive than many comparable ones from other companies. There are some good tricks to try to get deals on your next Apple purchase though! For example, check out mac rumors for up to date advice on current products and when to purchase. Or, you can also search for technology vouchers on via this site.
So whatever brand you prefer, whichever electronic you purchase, you can throw it in the drawer, sell it to the highest bidder or recycle it responsibly, but please think twice before you throw it in the trash.