Close Welcome writers, influencers and dreamers, make the world a greener place
Register here
Forgot password
Forgot password
or
or

Close
Close For sustainability news hunters! The WhatsOrb newsletter!

Receive monthly the newest updates about sustainability from influencers and fellow writers. Cutting edge innovations and global environmental developments.

Close For sustainability news hunters! The WhatsOrb newsletter!

Receive monthly the newest updates about sustainability from influencers and fellow writers. Cutting edge innovations and global environmental developments.

Close Reset password
your profile is 33% complete:
33%
Update profile Close
Close WhatsOrb Global Sustainability X-Change

For writers, influencers and dreamers who want to make the world a greener place.

WhatsOrb reaches monthly about 28.000 thousand visitors who want - like you - to make the world a greener place. Share your expertise and all can benefit.

Become an influencer and write and share sustainable news and innovations globally
Are you a writer or do you have ideas about sustainability which you want to share? Register and share your green knowledge and news. WhatsOrb offers you global exposure for your article.

If your article meets certain standards, you receive promotional gains like Facebook promotions and Google Ads advertising.

Waste waste your electronic waste at a repair cafe | Newsletter Household

Waste Your Electronic Waste At A Repair Cafe

Share this post
by: Joh Harris, Ingrid Verkuil, SH
waste your electronic waste at a repair cafe | Newsletter

The outrage is real. As electronic devices are becoming like a fifth limb to our plugged-in bodies, we discard them at an increasingly worrying rate. We are eager to get our hands on the latest iPhones, Samsungs, and latest fads in tablet-land, even if it means abandoning ones that are still working just fine.

Waste Your Electronic Waste: Manufacturers Planning Obsolesce

Manufacturers know this perfectly well, and are even actively designing their electronics to work for only a limited period of time before the battery runs out or software becoming outdated and no longer supported. This concept has been known as planned obsolescence, and it is a shameless attempt to get us to buy another $1000 phone with an equally limited lifecycle.

Mobile phone in dirt

Deliberately designing and manufacturing a phone that you know fully well to have some inferior components is one thing. Using up scarce and damaging resources to do so is another.

The worst part? As long as consumers keep on falling for it, the manufacturers will continue to do so. It is all about their bottom line, and this undoubtedly benefits that little number below the line. Of course, they will never really own up to it, but most of us know it to be so. Just look at the scandalous array of recently released products that are no longer being updated. Or the ways in which a phone, tablet or laptop suddenly turns into a practically useless ‘brick’.

Recommended: Sustainable Bicycle Is Made From Recycled Plastic In Brazil

Electronic Waste Bricks: All Around The World

And what we do with those 'waste bricks'? Well, we get rid of them. Obviously. We throw them in the trash, to eventually end up in landfill. Even if we decide to take it back to a manufacturer for recycling, chances are it will still end up on that large pile of e-waste. Recent estimates have put this number at more than 50 million tonnes worldwide, with less than 20% of it being recycled. The remainder just lays around somewhere.

White, silver transistor radio

This includes large household appliances, heating and cooling devices, and a bunch of smaller electronics such as TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets. Most of those are definitely not beyond repair. A cracked screen may be annoying, but definitely not a reason to throw something perfectly good away. Right?

Waste: Legislation Must Force A Change Of Behaviour

Throughout the world, more and more institutions are recognising the problem. Apple, for instance, has paid massive fines in both the United States and France, in settlement cases that alleged that their software updates slowed down their older models significantly. Although they claimed to have done so to ‘get the rumour out of the world’ and insisted that they have never done anything wrong, it seems pretty obvious that there was some serious issue here.


                                                       Repair Cafes (UK/Europe/(Global) - BBC News

 

The European Union is now working on legislation that will force companies to produce electronics that are, quote, recyclable, repairable and designed to last longer. Vague enough to be played around with by manufacturers, yet doing a decent job at flirting with the idea of reducing electronic waste.

Recommended: Waste Canals Amsterdam Recycled Into Sustainable Furniture

Companies ought to work on creating electronics that are not designed to break down. Furthermore, transparency is key - about their firmware, spare parts, and tutorials. Although expecting any of this to change anytime soon is nothing short of an illusion. And if it does, chances are that it is a result of the Corona crisis instead of a deliberately chosen strategy.

Repair Cafe: Impossible To Get As Second-Hand Items

Isn’t it just funny how this Corona-plague seems to highlight many issues that have been plaguing our planet for years and years? People only start to notice how bad pollution and emissions have gotten when they notice the cleaner air and water around them. Similarly, companies only now start to notice how inconvenient it is when these components used in their electronics are suddenly becoming unavailable as China’s industry has ground to a halt. If this situation goes on much longer, there will not be enough components to create the latest iPhone - and the existing ones are designed to break down sooner rather than later. See what the problem is?

men, electronics, furniture

At the same time, demand has increased, with more and more people working from home and children relying on laptops or tablets for their school work. A lot of people are looking at purchasing those kind of products second-hand, only to run into problems when finding that although they now owned the hardware, it did not come with the required software or licenses, rendering the items pretty much useless. Another reason why we have always opted for new models instead of getting someone’s hand-me-downs.

Recommended: Sustainable Minimalist Lifestyle: Green, Less Money, Luck

Planned Obsolesce As A Strategy

This is not a new idea, thought up in the boardrooms of 21st century giants like Apple or Samsung. The American marketing guru Justus George Frederick already wrote about it back in the 1920s, suggesting that people would have to buy an ever-increasing variety of things, not to use them but to activate commerce and discard them again after only a short period of time. His thoughts seem to have been taught at business schools around the world, as most companies implemented a strategy based on it.

The whole thought of planned obsolesce is equally terrifying as it is fascinating. Just look at the numbers: the average person only uses a smartphone for two to three years. And, even more hauntingly, desktop printers have an average lifetime of five hours (five hours!), of which only four minutes are actually spent printing (four minutes!). The pace at which new software and new updates are released are quickly rendering relatively new products useless, leaving them with only one suitable purpose - somewhere in the back of your kitchen drawer.

Even if you consider the idea of recycling it, you would be surprised to find that it is not even that much better than rotting away somewhere. If you were to recycle one smartphone, for instance, it appears that less than 20% of materials can be re-used. The remaining 80% is useless and still considered to be waste.

Current Efforts A Drop In The Ocean

The industry giants claim to be doing ‘great’ things, including using recycled cobalt from iPhone batteries to create brand-new Apple batteries (or so Apple says), and having set up an extensive refurbishment and trade-in program designed to give electronics a valuable second life (or so Amazon says).

When factchecking those claims for accuracy and effectivity, it quickly appears that they are the figurative drop in the ocean. The real problem lies with the barricades and hurdles these companies put up when it comes to repairing and refurbishing their devices. Apple, for instance, is notorious for not allowing any refurb or repair shops to procure components or parts. And as soon as they notice any repair activity not performed in one of their approved repair facilities, all warranties are voided.

pile e-waste, roof

 That is, even if any unauthorised repair shops are willing to try their hand at fixing a smartphone, tablet or laptop from a company known to obscure their repair procedures and use obscure parts - even screws! - that are impossible to source. Most repair shops flatly refuse to repair smartphones, with very few taking on other electronics. Not worth the hassle, or so they claim.

Manufacturers Need To Change

What is needed is a new mindset, one that needs to flow down from manufacturers. They need to come out and tell us that it is OK to get yourself a second-hand iPhone and sure, they will make any spare components or parts available to those wanting to repair damaged ones. When software updates will no longer turn your smartphone into a brick and purchasing a printer does not mean that you have to get a new one a few months later, this is when real change can happen.

And it must, as the materials used in electronics are amongst the most energy-costly and resource-wasting ones out there. We can save the planet, one smartphone at a time. Electronics are not a commodity, nor are they a disposable item. Once this message gets across, perhaps we will allow our smartphones to outlive our favourite pair of jeans.

Recommended: Over 10 Of The Best Ethical Brands

Repair Cafe: Customization And Conscious Reuse In A Retro Atelier

orange chair, interior shop
Photo by: Ingrid Verkuil. Shop: Retro Atelier Gaaf Kind Uilenpad 8-10, Bilthoven, Netherlands

Why Retro?

Retro is hip again. Young people use the colors orange, brown, yellow, purple and green again in their interior. For a nice price, this new generation buys Retro stuff from us Consciously because they are tired of the throwaway company. It's so nice to see what people know about it at home! Creativity reigns supreme. Some take it very far! So cool! In this way - together with my team - I try to contribute to Conscious Reuse of Retro materials.

shop interior
Photo by: Ingrid Verkuil. Shop: Retro Atelier Gaaf Kind Uilenpad 8-10, Bilthoven, Netherlands

Gifts of the older generation

War, poverty and a recession made our older generation use and manage their things economically. Many of these items end up as gifts at Retro Atelier ‘Gaaf Kind’, in Bilthoven, the Netherlands.

Customization

people, table, shelve

People who need custom work, work in the Atelier. They refurbish old furniture, lamps and accessories and/or learn to do business in practice. This way nobody is left out and they contribute to a better world.

My hope is for more companies to follow.

Ingrid Verkuil
Shop: Retro Atelier Gaaf Kind
Uilenpad 8-10, Bilthoven
The Netherlands
[email protected]

Coverphoto by: Ingrid Verkuil

Before you go!

Recommended: Waste Recycling Refined: Waste Into High-Quality Products

Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
We try to respond the same day.

Like to write your own article about sustainable packaging?
Click on 'Register' or push the button 'Write An Article' on the 'HomePage'

Messange
You
Share this post
profilepic

Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

profileimage

Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

Waste Your Electronic Waste At A Repair Cafe

The outrage is real. As electronic devices are becoming like a fifth limb to our plugged-in bodies, we discard them at an increasingly worrying rate. We are eager to get our hands on the latest iPhones, Samsungs, and latest fads in tablet-land, even if it means abandoning ones that are still working just fine. Waste Your Electronic Waste: Manufacturers Planning Obsolesce Manufacturers know this perfectly well, and are even actively designing their electronics to work for only a limited period of time before the battery runs out or software becoming outdated and no longer supported. This concept has been known as planned obsolescence, and it is a shameless attempt to get us to buy another $1000 phone with an equally limited lifecycle. Deliberately designing and manufacturing a phone that you know fully well to have some inferior components is one thing. Using up scarce and damaging resources to do so is another. The worst part? As long as consumers keep on falling for it, the manufacturers will continue to do so. It is all about their bottom line, and this undoubtedly benefits that little number below the line. Of course, they will never really own up to it, but most of us know it to be so. Just look at the scandalous array of recently released products that are no longer being updated. Or the ways in which a phone, tablet or laptop suddenly turns into a practically useless ‘brick’. Recommended:  Sustainable Bicycle Is Made From Recycled Plastic In Brazil Electronic Waste Bricks: All Around The World And what we do with those 'waste bricks'? Well, we get rid of them. Obviously. We throw them in the trash, to eventually end up in landfill. Even if we decide to take it back to a manufacturer for recycling, chances are it will still end up on that large pile of e-waste. Recent estimates have put this number at more than 50 million tonnes worldwide, with less than 20% of it being recycled. The remainder just lays around somewhere. This includes large household appliances, heating and cooling devices, and a bunch of smaller electronics such as TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets. Most of those are definitely not beyond repair. A cracked screen may be annoying, but definitely not a reason to throw something perfectly good away. Right? Waste: Legislation Must Force A Change Of Behaviour Throughout the world, more and more institutions are recognising the problem. Apple, for instance, has paid massive fines in both the United States and France, in settlement cases that alleged that their software updates slowed down their older models significantly. Although they claimed to have done so to ‘get the rumour out of the world’ and insisted that they have never done anything wrong, it seems pretty obvious that there was some serious issue here. {youtube}                                                        Repair Cafes (UK/Europe/(Global) - BBC News   The European Union is now working on legislation that will force companies to produce electronics that are, quote, recyclable, repairable and designed to last longer. Vague enough to be played around with by manufacturers, yet doing a decent job at flirting with the idea of reducing electronic waste. Recommended:  Waste Canals Amsterdam Recycled Into Sustainable Furniture Companies ought to work on creating electronics that are not designed to break down. Furthermore, transparency is key - about their firmware, spare parts, and tutorials. Although expecting any of this to change anytime soon is nothing short of an illusion. And if it does, chances are that it is a result of the Corona crisis instead of a deliberately chosen strategy. Repair Cafe: Impossible To Get As Second-Hand Items Isn’t it just funny how this Corona-plague seems to highlight many issues that have been plaguing our planet for years and years? People only start to notice how bad pollution and emissions have gotten when they notice the cleaner air and water around them. Similarly, companies only now start to notice how inconvenient it is when these components used in their electronics are suddenly becoming unavailable as China’s industry has ground to a halt. If this situation goes on much longer, there will not be enough components to create the latest iPhone - and the existing ones are designed to break down sooner rather than later. See what the problem is? At the same time, demand has increased, with more and more people working from home and children relying on laptops or tablets for their school work. A lot of people are looking at purchasing those kind of products second-hand, only to run into problems when finding that although they now owned the hardware, it did not come with the required software or licenses, rendering the items pretty much useless. Another reason why we have always opted for new models instead of getting someone’s hand-me-downs. Recommended:  Sustainable Minimalist Lifestyle: Green, Less Money, Luck Planned Obsolesce As A Strategy This is not a new idea, thought up in the boardrooms of 21st century giants like Apple or Samsung. The American marketing guru Justus George Frederick already wrote about it back in the 1920s, suggesting that people would have to buy an ever-increasing variety of things, not to use them but to activate commerce and discard them again after only a short period of time. His thoughts seem to have been taught at business schools around the world, as most companies implemented a strategy based on it. The whole thought of planned obsolesce is equally terrifying as it is fascinating. Just look at the numbers: the average person only uses a smartphone for two to three years. And, even more hauntingly, desktop printers have an average lifetime of five hours (five hours!), of which only four minutes are actually spent printing (four minutes!). The pace at which new software and new updates are released are quickly rendering relatively new products useless, leaving them with only one suitable purpose - somewhere in the back of your kitchen drawer. Even if you consider the idea of recycling it, you would be surprised to find that it is not even that much better than rotting away somewhere. If you were to recycle one smartphone, for instance, it appears that less than 20% of materials can be re-used. The remaining 80% is useless and still considered to be waste. Current Efforts A Drop In The Ocean The industry giants claim to be doing ‘great’ things, including using recycled cobalt from iPhone batteries to create brand-new Apple batteries (or so Apple says), and having set up an extensive refurbishment and trade-in program designed to give electronics a valuable second life (or so Amazon says). When factchecking those claims for accuracy and effectivity, it quickly appears that they are the figurative drop in the ocean. The real problem lies with the barricades and hurdles these companies put up when it comes to repairing and refurbishing their devices. Apple, for instance, is notorious for not allowing any refurb or repair shops to procure components or parts. And as soon as they notice any repair activity not performed in one of their approved repair facilities, all warranties are voided.   That is, even if any unauthorised repair shops are willing to try their hand at fixing a smartphone, tablet or laptop from a company known to obscure their repair procedures and use obscure parts - even screws! - that are impossible to source. Most repair shops flatly refuse to repair smartphones, with very few taking on other electronics. Not worth the hassle, or so they claim. Manufacturers Need To Change What is needed is a new mindset, one that needs to flow down from manufacturers. They need to come out and tell us that it is OK to get yourself a second-hand iPhone and sure, they will make any spare components or parts available to those wanting to repair damaged ones. When software updates will no longer turn your smartphone into a brick and purchasing a printer does not mean that you have to get a new one a few months later, this is when real change can happen. And it must, as the materials used in electronics are amongst the most energy-costly and resource-wasting ones out there. We can save the planet, one smartphone at a time. Electronics are not a commodity, nor are they a disposable item. Once this message gets across, perhaps we will allow our smartphones to outlive our favourite pair of jeans. Recommended:  Over 10 Of The Best Ethical Brands Repair Cafe: Customization And Conscious Reuse In A Retro Atelier Photo by: Ingrid Verkuil. Shop:  Retro Atelier Gaaf Kind  Uilenpad 8-10, Bilthoven, Netherlands Why Retro? Retro is hip again. Young people use the colors orange, brown, yellow, purple and green again in their interior. For a nice price, this new generation buys Retro stuff from us Consciously because they are tired of the throwaway company. It's so nice to see what people know about it at home! Creativity reigns supreme. Some take it very far! So cool! In this way - together with my team - I try to contribute to Conscious Reuse of Retro materials. Photo by: Ingrid Verkuil. Shop:  Retro Atelier Gaaf Kind  Uilenpad 8-10, Bilthoven, Netherlands Gifts of the older generation War, poverty and a recession made our older generation use and manage their things economically. Many of these items end up as gifts at Retro Atelier ‘Gaaf Kind’, in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. Customization People who need custom work, work in the Atelier. They refurbish old furniture, lamps and accessories and/or learn to do business in practice. This way nobody is left out and they contribute to a better world. My hope is for more companies to follow. Ingrid Verkuil Shop: Retro Atelier Gaaf Kind Uilenpad 8-10, Bilthoven The Netherlands [email protected] Coverphoto by: Ingrid Verkuil Before you go! Recommended:  Waste Recycling Refined: Waste Into High-Quality Products Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainable packaging? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Get updates on environmental sustainability in your mailbox every month.